How We Built AI Solutions
For Fashion E-commerce Businesses
Hi! Who are you and what business did you start?
Hi! My name is Kiryl Sidarchuk and I am a CEO and co-founder at Oyper Inc. We build computer vision and artificial intelligence solutions for fashion e-commerce businesses to make any video content shoppable. Our latest solution recently launched on Product Hunt is a Chrome extension that makes YouTube shoppable.
What is your personal story and how did you come up with the idea?
To start with I must admit that I have always been an entrepreneur in one way or another. I got involved in my family’s business when I was 8 years old. Since I was a child I knew I would be an entrepreneur. Being enthusiastic and courageous I ran several successful businesses in different spheres from retail to outdoor sports activities before starting Oyper.
The idea of starting a tech business came up to me right after I got my Master’s degree in Economics. It was a very inspirational period. I just came from my trip to New York, where I had got an insight of what e-commerce required: fast and easy solution to make purchases of what you see on the screen. The increasing rhythm of life left little time for shopping.
I decided to provide consumers with an ability to buy what they see on their cell-phones’ screens, laptops, even on their friends, using AI-based technologies. Instead of scrolling numerous online-shopping web-sites, Oyper offered a solution to buy clothes similar or exact the same you download to the app, to build your virtual closet and to generate outfits for different occasions. Back to that period, Oyper’s tool was really up-to-date and demanded.
Obviously, much time has passed. Technologies, markets and consumers’ needs have expanded. Continuously growing, developing and improving, Oyper turned into the world’s first company to make YouTube shoppable.
What challenges did you face when creating your product/service?
To tell the truth, running your own business is very challenging and competitive. Every day you make decisions that can either lead your company to success or let your business down.
Before starting your product you are to research whether your idea is worth it or not. You are to have a deep understanding of what you are doing, of the market you are about to enter, of your future clients and etc. After you are sure that your idea is absolutely great, you start forming a team. It is quite tough, because all the members of your start-up are to be as inspired by it, as you are.
At this point many companies start having serious financial difficulties. Any step from legal issues to tech-development requires money. So if you want to run a start-up, make sure you have some savings. You never know when you get investments (and “if” you get them, too). You need some Plan Bs to cover your bills.
Moreover, you need to respect other members of the market – your competitors. Start-ups are very flexible, active and adapting- keep an eye on your rivals.
Every single day you get over yourself. You do things you have never done before, you talk to hundreds of people. telling them about your product, you try again and again to break down the walls, you do your best to reach success. And it is absolutely fascinating, trust me!
Who is your target market?
Oyper is oriented on different types of clients – quite wide-ranging given how much we have to offer! Our solutions make shoppable video content that can be used in various spheres and is incredibly flexible.We work with video-content providers as we can offer viewers buying clothes and other items right from the video.
We work with fashion retailers helping them to increase sales using our technology. We collaborate with bloggers and influencers who can create interactive content with promo-offerings using Oyper.
How do you market your business and which approaches have been the most successful?
Honestly, Oyper’s new solution making YouTube shoppable is very easy-to-use to our customers. You just get the free plugin and enjoy the game-changing way of shopping. But technically our solution is not that easy.
So eventually there is no need to use any SMM-advertising. For example, as our ultimate clients are streaming services and video-content providers, they require some methods of finding partners.
What do we do to make people know Oyper and use it? We are constantly improving our technology, providing our clients with high-quality services.We have participated in numerous meetings, conferences and challenges all over the globe, pitching about Oyper. We have great results in it. Oyper was named Europe’s best startup in 2019 at R&B Next! Awards.
The constant evolution of Oyper made social media talk about our business as well. We are well-known in Belarus, but the world is so wide that we keep doing our best to let more and more individuals know about Oyper.
Since you launched, what has worked in not only attracting but retaining customers?
Communicating with partners and clients requires a very serious and specific approach. Though our product is unique we try to keep tweaking to provide our clients with best services. We are available 24/7 to support and maintain if necessary.
Before signing a contract both sides try to find out as much common ground as possible. We build personal connections, not only business ones. It is very important to do more than formal texting. Formal polite texting is a must, there is no doubt, but the more you know about your clients the more you can offer to them.
The uniqueness of our product is an important factor while communicating with clients. Oyper is unique due to a special way of collecting data. The way you collect data is very significant in data-science. Oyper is the only business to offer shoppable YouTube. Our solution is as accurate as present technologies allow.
What kind of culture exists in your company, and how did you establish it?
Oyper is a startup and it has it’s personal atmosphere. All the co-founders of Oyper are enthusiasts connected and inspired by the idea of changing the world. We have an agile flexible in-house development team with strict lines of authority. As we do our best to build on Oyper we have a deep understanding of each step.
Being a team of entrepreneurs, developers and financiers we have a wide view on promoting our product. It doesn’t mean that we never have disagreements, it means that we manage to find ways out of any situation.
We use personal meetings, technical tools to stay in touch 24/7. We have a scheduled list of calls and inboard meetings that we try to follow.
What software, services or tools do you use within your business?
Being a Master in Economics and an entrepreneur I have a background in financing and accounting. We monitor our finances online having constant access to our account. As we are registered in the USA, accounting and legal fees are done automatically.
What are the most important lessons have you learned on your business journey?
Starting my first product I was absolutely confident in it’s uniqueness and necessity. I was encouraged by the idea of creating new outstanding tool. I had enough business experience in some spheres, so I had a sharp vision of what the product should be like. Nevertheless, every entrepreneur knows that you can’t predict everything.
Luckily, I haven’t made any crucial mistakes while starting Oyper. However, some tips to pay attention to:
- Even though you can have your own personal understanding of your product, working in a team of co-founders makes you listen and accept your colleagues’ views. Pick your team-members carefully, considering both their professional skills and personal characteristics.
- You have to get over yourself everyday reaching to different people, promoting your idea with no shame and no rest. You can feel extremely exhausted, empty, you can lose yourself sometimes, sleep on it and start a new day with enthusiasm and faith in your forces.
I wouldn’t have changed anything, as I have tremendous experience of my own now. And I’m proud of it and of Oyper.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is a lifestyle to me: it is who I am. Having my own business makes me never stop, never ever at all. I’m involved in all the processes 24/7 and it is permanent. It may sound strange, but it gives me freedom, independence and happiness. I know what I’m working on, I know steps to make to achieve my goals and I achieve them sooner or later.
Being an entrepreneur means relying on myself. I struggle every day with lots of circumstances, but this struggle toughens me and makes me one step closer to my dream.
What is your LEAST favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
Being an entrepreneur is a pleasure to me, though it is really hard to stay optimistic no matter what and to rely on yourself. Every person has limited resources and running a business can devastate you sometimes. So you need to find your own way of standing on your two feet.
Lack of personal time is harsh too. You have to sacrifice this or that from time to time, so finding a balance between your business and personal issues is quite challenging. But honestly, all of these things can be solved. Understand what you want and to make priorities correctly.
What books, podcasts or other resources have inspired and influenced your business journey?
A starting point of Oyper was my trip to New York. So I can say that I’m inspired by travelling, meeting new people, getting to know them, changing locations and investigating new cultures and traditions. Every journey provides me with strength and inspiration, it gives me food food for thought and it always leads to new stops.
Where do you see your business 2-3 years from now?
A very nice question indeed. It is very easy and extremely hard to respond!
Being a start-up founder and an entrepreneur I see my business financially successful, useful to society, evolutionary, fast-growing and marketable.
All of these features are very important as I do not just run a business. I am an enthusiast who is ready to work tirelessly to provide people with a unique product that can change their habits and make their lives more comfortable and entertaining.