The best tech startups are those that pinpoint real, human problems and offer a solution. These are companies making products that are more than just novelties and potentially have serious staying power. And Mirrorly could be one of them.
Cloud Cliques is home to Mirrorly, which hopes to reinvent how the shopping experience with a device that allows consumers to virtually try on clothes. CEO and founder of Cloud Cliques Waylon Peele tells me that he started working on the idea after he experienced the same e-shopping frustrations many of us do with clothing: just before hitting “buy,” you get trigger-shy because you don’t know if your purchases will fit.
Peele couldn’t commit to a pair of jeans he found online, but the in-person experience wasn’t much better. “When I went to the mall to buy the jeans, I had to go through the disorganization of the department store to find them, look through the brands, try them on… the process took forever, and it’s super inefficient.”
Enter, Mirrorly. The device uses the Kinect as well as a custom-made scanning solution built by the team to create a virtual clone of the consumer. This is displayed on a vertical, 75-inch display, where you can model clothing without the obnoxious process we’re all currently subject to.
There have been a few lukewarm attempts to offer this sort of service via smartphone, tablet, and PC: cameras combined with e-shopping databases turn you into a digital paper doll, and the effect is interesting but many of the examples I’ve seen fall flat (pun intended). These apps are eye-catching, but without a high level of accuracy, they won’t solve the problem. Fortunately, Peele says it still finds Mirrorly’s results “amazing” and says it is actually like looking in a mirror; as you move, the clothing moves and adapts with your shape. “When people use it for the first time, you can tell it’s fun for them, it’s sort of like magic,” he tells me.
When asked why early iterations of this type of technology haven’t really measured up, Peele says it’s an issue of trying to solve an inherently complicated problem too quickly. “The available technology to build this has been available for about four years now, and people haven’t solved the problem correctly,” he says. “We’re putting the pieces of the puzzle together and solving it the right way.”
Mirrorly is currently in beta testing and hasn’t evolved into its finished form (Peele says it will be launched as an integrated system in the bezel of a large display). While the team refines the product, they’re working on partnerships with retailers and raising capital. It may or may not surprise you to hear that the fashion world sees a higher value in what Mirrorly’s creating than the tech world, but after all it is their customers who are looking for an evolved shopping experience.