The Future of Fashion: Q&A With FashWire CEO Kimberly Carney
Few executives understand the future of fashion quite like FashWire CEO Kimberly Carney. With an extensive career rooted in the corporate technology space, Kimberly knows firsthand how crucial new technologies can be in driving industries forward. So, why should fashion be an exception?
Since launching FashWire, a revolutionary app that uses the intuitive nature of a social media feed to connect consumers with designers who match their style, Kimberly has made it her mission to reimagine the way we shop for products and interact with brands in the digital space, from accessories to beauty products and every must-have in between. Not only have her innovations changed the way consumers shop for new styles, but they have also paved the path for the next wave of entrepreneurs to merge fashion and technology in bold new ways.
Recently, we sat down with her to take a deep dive into her vision, inspirations, and plans for the future. Here’s what she had to say:
You’ve been called a leader in fashion technology. Where was your inspiration for FashWire born?
After several years of owning a multi-brand contemporary fashion boutique, I saw digital adoption becoming a key factor in driving buying decisions in fashion and that retail would not survive without adapting to tech. With a passion for tech and fashion, connecting the two worlds was the catalyst for the FashWire platform.
Based on the success with FashWire, we then expanded to the multi-billion-dollar beauty industry in 2021 with our sister platform GlossWire. My personal vision is core to what drives us forward as we have successfully leveraged technology to be the go-to platform in the fashion and beauty industries for an engaged, sustainable, and inclusive shopping experience between brands and consumers.
How does FashWire’s design help consumers find their next must-have fashion piece?
The beauty of FashWire is that rather than assuming or jumping on trends, we let our consumers find their own personal style by taking inspiration from our worldwide 450+ partnering brands. Further, our consumer feedback data can then be leveraged by the brands on our platform to target further and improve their products. So, it is really a virtuous cycle of co-creation of fashion.
We are constantly reassessing our approach to innovation to stay ahead of the curve and maintain a competitive edge. I have learned the value of collaboration alongside my powerful team. The input and feedback (good or bad) give them autonomy and empowerment to come up with innovative solutions.
I have also surrounded myself with a network of industry professionals that I turn to for various challenges, who continue to advise, support, and provide insight that influences my everyday decision-making to drive the company forward. I am extremely grateful (and lucky!) to have a toolkit of some pretty incredible people in my back pocket, which is the foundation for successful innovation.
How did winning the Cultured Focus Magazine 2023 Innovation in Fashion Award impact your vision for FashWire?
I launched FashWire in 2018 with a vision of being a disruptive force in the retail tech industry by changing the manner in which consumers, designers, and retailers interact through a unique value proposition for every segment of the retail chain. Receiving this award not only gives our technology validation, but shows that we have made an impact in this rapidly changing retail world, and that means the world to me.
We will continue to innovate by enhancing our algorithms to get the best-personalized recommendations for each individual. Our focus on consumer data and intelligence for the fashion and beauty industries will also open up new innovation opportunities via AI/machine learning, allowing us to turn data into actionable insights.
Every startup faces its share of challenges. What are some of the hurdles that you faced with FashWire, and, more importantly, how did you conquer them?
When I came up with the FashWire concept, there weren't a lot of people interested in getting involved with a woman-led, tech-driven business. Walking into male-dominated meetings to sell the platform wasn't easy. I could instantly see snap judgments being made.
In the beginning, I had to figure out how to do things with little or no money, and most of the time, that meant doing things myself. I started reaching out to industry execs for advice and then they would connect me to people within their network. That strategy led to helpful feedback and, often, an investment. I also learned to capitalize on my own expertise while building up a talented team.
Following the success of FashWire, what are some trends you hope to see gain momentum in the fashion space?
I see a future where personalization will continue to be increasingly important for brands to differentiate. The digital landscape will continue to evolve, and brands need to adapt to stand out from the crowd. I believe the future of shopping will see brands empower their teams with compelling insights to help support their decision-making from customer opinions and data.
AI and machine learning will complement current business intelligence tools for improved decision-making. Data is key, and FashWire will continue to expand its global brand base and leverage data insights from our high-growth consumer base. Trends will remain an important channel of expressing one’s own personality – inspiration, discovering new products, and personalization are customer requirements that we will continue to focus on going forward, and with FashWire, they have a platform they can rely on by keeping customers at the heart of decisions.
Your work has been a huge inspiration to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. What is one piece of advice you would give them right now?
Choose the path that inspires you and surround yourself with people smarter than you. This advice helped me to bring together an Advisory Board to include executive-level leaders with expertise in fields I didn’t have experience. This diverse group of esteemed industry leaders continues to help drive the company forward by bringing new perspectives to the forefront that drive innovation.
What’s Next for Kimberly Carney?
After being awarded our Innovation in Fashion Award for 2023, Kimberly made it clear that she intends to use the same game-changing model of FashWire to connect consumers with other buying trends in both the home decor and beauty spaces. Currently, FashWire’s sister app, GlossWire, is available to download for both iOS and Android devices. GlossWire leverages the same data-driven insights and personalization-focused insights that have fueled FashWire’s success in connecting users with beauty products and brands that align with their tastes.
That’s not all.
Kimberly’s next application, PawWire, is in development, with an official launch date coming in 2024. PawWire will follow along in FashWire and GlossWire's footsteps, but this time will connect users in the pet market. One thing is for certain: Kimberly Carney’s innovations are here to change the way we browse, shop, and discover new trends for good.
To learn more about FashWire and all of Kimberly’s future endeavors, visit www.fashwire.com.