Five years ago, when she was working for Goldman-Sachs in New York, Olga Vidisheva was on a business trip to Paris when she discovered an amazing pair of shoes in a little boutique there that cost only 50 Euros.
When she got back home, she realized there was no way for her friends to buy those shoes or anything else from the Paris shop, because it had no online shopping presence.
As part of the process of forming her company, and while getting a degree from Harvard Business School, Vidisheva interviewed some 800 boutique owners all over the country to gain a better understanding of what was preventing them from bringing their inventory online, which would vastly expand their potential sales.
“They didn’t know how to build a platform for online selling, that’s one thing,” she says. "They also don’t generally know how to best photograph their clothing on models to show it off in the best light. They are amazing at putting clothing together; they’re artisans really. But they need help to come into the 21st Century online.”
A former model herself (that’s how she put herself through college), the Russian-born Vidisheva knows photographers in all of the major US cities, so one of the key services she provides boutiques is sending professionals in to take photos of each store’s unique clothing on models.
“Now with Shoptiques, if you are a consumer in Kansas City, you can travel virtually to New York or San Francisco or Beverly Hills and visit these amazing boutiques without having to buy a place ticket,” she says.
The site is launching with 50 boutiques in New York, LA, San Francisco, Miami and Chicago, but has a “huge wait list,” and so will be adding more stores soon. Vidisheva also wants to expand internationally, initially to include Paris and Bali, and then to Tokyo, London, and Berlin as well.
The company closed a round of financing while at YC, and added experienced San Francisco entrepreneurs Jeff and Dan Morin to its executive team.