How often are you watching a video online and you can’t help but wonder what brand a certain item is, or even how much it costs? If you are someone who loves exploring new brands and accessories, you need to check out To the Tens. The digital shoppable magazine allows you to purchase directly from the video and connects you with the video in a whole new way. Launching their new app, To the Tens is bridging the much-needed gap between content and ecommerce, changing the way you buy online.
LA TechWatch chatted with CEO Paul Ahn about the company and how it plans to expand.
Tell us about the product or service.
We are a shoppable social magazine where fashion meets people.
How is it different?
This is the first platform that enables users to shop directly from user-generated content (videos and photos), lets users earn tangible rewards for their posts – not just “likes” and allows brands to organically reach more of their target audience, without paid advertising.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
We are initially focusing on Beauty and Fashion. The US Beauty Market: $70 Billion; the US Apparel Market: $300 Billion; the Global Beauty Market: $433 Billion; the Global Apparel Market: $3 Trillion. It is big, and continuously growing.
Then, we will move into all other consumer verticals that lend themselves to the functionality of items in photo and video being shopped, right on the spot.
What is the business model?
Unlike any other social media, our business model is not based upon paid advertisement. We strongly believe that shopping directly from photos and videos – straightaway – will make so many new things possible. Thus, there is no upfront cost for brands and merchants to be on our platform. We only take a percentage of sales when products are purchased.
What do you see as the future of influencer marketing?
Currently, the sales conversion rate of paid/sponsored ads on social media (such as Facebook) is very low and costly. Meanwhile, people who we as users like and follow, and people in the network around us, have much more influence on our lifestyle.
We see a future in which everyone around us can be an influencer, given the right platform that connects people based upon commonly shared interests.
Also, influencers will not have to wait until a brand reaches out to them for collaborations. Influencer marketing will evolve to become more authentic: we see influencers sharing the products they genuinely enjoy using throughout their day, while making money from sharing what they truly love.
Tell us a little about your background and what inspired the business?
Prior to ‘To the Tens’, I successfully launched a shoe brand call Rhea through Kickstarter. But after a successful launch, marketing the brand through social media was costly and not efficient, yet, there were a lot of customers’ photos of our shoes being shared, and there wasn’t the right tool to utilize these assets. So our team decided to create an ecosystem that gives back to customers who shared photos and videos with our product, while enabling us to make sales from that content.
Tell us what building your company in LA has been like?
LA is a special city where tech and the real market meet. LA has an advantage over any other city – including the Bay Area – when it comes down to building a technology company for a real market. The hard part is that our city is so spread out that it can be challenging to meet right people. But when you do, it could really mean something.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We have just launched our platform after beta testing. We want to connect people who would enjoy and benefit from our platform with the brands that they love, by growing our users and brands. We will be raising Series A later this year.
If you could be put in touch with one investor in the community who would it be and why?
LVMH: the organization has lot of influence in this industry. Kobe Bryant: the biggest star that LA’s ever had, and I am a big fan!
What does being “Made in LA” mean to you and your company?
It means different people from different backgrounds, gathered to achieve a common goal with tremendous creativity.
What else can be done to promote early stage entrepreneurship in Los Angeles?
Connecting right people to each other, not just in the tech sectors. Tech is here to enhance all other industries, just as we are doing for beauty and fashion right now.
Where is the best place in LA to watch the sunset?
We usually don’t get to see the sunset, since our office doesn’t have a window at the moment, but personally I would definitely say Santa Monica.