Style Scoop

style+tech: the art of failing

April 14, 2014

Today we are introducing on Stylescoop a brand new regular feature from Stylecab Founder, Charlotte Felix O’Conor, 'style+tech'.  Whilst journeys to style remain at the core of what we do and who we are at Stylecab, Charlotte has been navigating a different kind of journey for last the 8 months, whilst she and the team have been developing, building and soon launching Capsule, a members-only online style platform. 
 
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We’ve posted a few insights along the way, including visits to Techcrunch Disrupt in San Francisco and Shanghai, but not only will our 'Start Up Talk' continue, there will be new features such as 'Style Influencers' on successful influencers in their chosen field who cross the fashion-and-tech space.
 
We'll also be sharing a heads up on developments in tech that are interesting for retail, as we review features to integrate into Capsule; such as virtual fitting rooms or, as its correctly known, 'avatar technology' which allows you to try clothes on virtually, enhancing the experience for the consumer of choosing pieces online.  
 
Take, for example, sass + bide’s new interactive 360-degree 'Freetown' advert which allows the consumer to track the fashion scene using navigational keys, as if you’re scrolling on Google Maps, and select the pieces you like and buy directly.  
 
Without sounding like a complete geek, we’ll keep you informed of the lastest developments as the retail revolution picks up speed, so stay tuned!
 
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And now it's time for our first style+tech feature!  A couple of months ago, Charlotte presented to the students of the Entrepreneur Program at HK PolyU a talk on The Art of Failing. Here’s a condensed view of what she told them.  
 
Firstly successful entrepreneurs usually embody four traits: they have a vision, they are passionate, they are flexible and they are risk-takers.  The pathway to entrepreneurship and building a business from scratch involves many steps, but should always start with focusing on an area of business about which you are passionate.  If you are passionate about something, you will be persistent about getting it to work.  
 
It also involves a lot of 'road-testing' and, hence a lot of failure.  Be prepared for a lot of failure.  And then more.  You will, as it were, master the 'art' of failing.  But through these failures, you will learn.  You will learn more and more about the market in which you are operating until you literally know it inside-out.  
 
You will meet all sorts of people and expand your network exponentially.  You will become a 'connector' for talent and expertise as you gather a team of people together to work with you.  And all this time, you will continue to encounter failures over and over again.
 
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But this is the beauty of entrepreneurship.  It is the challenge that motivates us to want to create something innovative and new; it is our passion that drives us forward.  
 
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that's changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” - Mark Zuckerberg
 
This brings us to our final word of wisdom about the art of failure, and that is knowing when to 'pivot'.  What does this mean?  It all comes back to that original entrepreneurial trait: the ability to be flexible.  If you've tried something time and time again and failed each time, perhaps you're looking at the situation wrong or the market simply isn't capable of handling something like you have in mind just yet.  That's when you have to be prepared to pivot your idea and come up with an alternative solution.  
 
After all, the saying goes, "Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors."  You don't become a skilled entrepreneur by taking the easy way out; you learn by doing (and failing), you grow and, yes, ultimately, you will succeed.

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