Jamie & I combines technology with fashion and is home to Jamie – the virtual fashion assistant. Jamie uses artificial intelligence to learn about your personal style and regularly sends you a curated selection of outfit recommendations tailored to your taste. Imagine a Spotify or Netflix recommendation engine for fashion.
Name: Jamie & I
Product / Service Offering: Virtual Fashion Assistant / Virtual Stylist
Co-founder Interviewed: Antonia Bolla – Co-founder & CEO
Other Key Management Team Members: Lidia Bolla (Antonia’s sister) – Co-founder & CTO
This article is part of our Women Entrepreneurs Spotlight series featuring female entrepreneurs and their companies. We hope these founders’ interviews will inspire and motivate you as you undertake your own entrepreneurial journey.
Tell us a little about yourself with a focus on what motivates you.
My name is Antonia, I grew up in Switzerland and moved to Sydney, Australia a few years ago where I studied for my Master of Commerce (specializing in Strategy, Innovation & Entrepreneurship) at the University of Sydney. Coming from an entrepreneurial family, it has always been mine and my sister’s life dream to one day start our own business and to do so together.
I find it fascinating how new technologies offer endless opportunities for new innovations in a constantly changing world.
When did you establish your company and where did the idea originate?
The idea for Jamie & I came to me one day when I was getting ready for a social event. Standing in front of my closet, I realized, “I have nothing to wear!” Obviously my closet was filled with clothes (ladies you feel me!). So I just put something on, ran out the door. I was sitting on the ferry riding into the city, listening to my Spotify “Discover Weekly Playlist” (the one that creates a personalized playlist for you based on what you’ve listened to), and in that moment I thought to myself: “I need that for fashion”.
It all started at the end of 2016 when the idea won first prize and $10,000 in the University of Sydney business plan competition. So at the beginning of 2017, my sister moved to Sydney, and together we started Jamie & I.
What need or needs does your company seek to fill for its customers?
The modern woman and man likes to look sharp, but
- is time-poor and thus, does not have time to shop
- and there is a huge content overload in today’s world of online shopping. The customer is expected to invest hours into searching through the endless options available on the web. This process is overwhelming, uninspiring and far from customer-centric.
We want the build the future of online shopping, which we think will be convenient, inspirational and personalized.
What is the one thing that sets your company apart from its competitors?
We are creating a service that gives you the feeling like your best friend’s (the one who really knows what you like wearing) full-time job is now to go out and search the web for you all day long, just to at the end of the day come back with the perfect outfit for you. Now, you can focus on what’s really important in life – and look great while doing so.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while getting your company up and running, and how did you overcome it?
The constant time and resource constraint. Focus!
Are there resources you have utilized that other founders might find compelling or useful?
- The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
- The Startup Manual by Steve Blank
- The business model canvas (business model generation by Alexander Osterwalder)
What steps have you taken to secure funding for your company and what, if anything, would you do differently if you had to start over?
So far we are completely bootstrapped – which I think really teaches you to spend the money you have very carefully. We want to run bootstrapped until we have really proven product-market fit, then raise money in order to scale the business. So the day we will start raising funds will come, by the looks of it probably sooner than later.
Have there been any questions you have had as an entrepreneur of a fledgling startup that you had a particularly hard time finding the answers to?
Millions of questions, haha! Jamie & I is currently part of the Kickstart Accelerator in Zurich, Switzerland. We find taking part in incubator and accelerator programs is of huge value for young startups, especially if you are a first-time founder. It really teaches you the skills you need and gives you access to amazing mentoring and experts in the field, and being around so many brilliant minds paired with such an enthusiasm to help, really accelerates your learning and your business.
What challenges, if any, are you grappling with?
Growing a two-sided marketplace on a global level, and the challenges that come with it.
What is the most helpful tip or “hack” you’ve ever learned, stumbled across, or been given?
If you wait until it’s perfect, it’s too late.
Is there anything else you would like to share about your company?
We would love to create the future of online shopping, but we are still learning every day. So every input, every comment, every criticism is always highly appreciated. So please never hesitate to reach out to us!
Advice to women entrepreneurs…
I believe that there has never been a better time for female entrepreneurs, as we are extremely fortunate with all the support we are currently receiving that is focused on the endeavor of increasing the number of women entrepreneurs.
Are you familiar with other Women-led startups? If so, we would like to hear from you. Tell us about them in the comments below!