Ever wake up wondering what to wear today? Many of us can relate, including Gergana Krusteva (Geri) – a Campus X member and inspiring female leader. To solve this problem, she and her co-founder launched La Koketa – a digital wardrobe and a personal style advisor.
We meet Geri to learn more about her journey as a female entrepreneur and La Koketa’s mission and future plans. Let’s dive right in.
How and why did you launch La Koketa?
The “what to wear?” question and the need to create outfits is a daily problem for almost any woman out there. The real solutions, however, are scarce so we saw a white space in the intersection of technology and fashion.
There are many tools that simplify your life, but the wardrobe, the place we spend so much money on is basically untapped.
We started La Koketa to help women solve that problem with a few easy clicks on their iPhones.
According to research, the average female spends 287 days of her life deciding how to pull the best look for any given occasion, be it a business meeting or a dinner party.
This is a shocking piece of statistics and my co-founder and I could relate to it to an extreme extent. We’d basically fall asleep thinking about “what to wear” and hoping to have the answer when we wake up the next morning. That’s how we came up with the idea of La Koketa app – a personal style advisor on your iPhone!
As you know, clothes are confidence and the question “what to wear?” is very emotional for us women because it has to do with recognition and self-expression.
In many cases, the right outfit could put you in the right frame of mind to approach and handle people and situations confidently and efficiently.
Many of us spend so much time stressing out about what to wear for a job interview, how to wear our stuff, what to pack for an upcoming trip, what to purchase, etc.
We wanted to make that easier and fun, so we created a smart tool that manages your wardrobe, builds personalized outfits with your own clothes, and helps you shop consciously thanks to its unique back-end algorithm.
How awesome to pick a dress and then have an app style it for you (with your stuff) in seconds. We want the entire life cycle of every piece of clothing or accessory our customers own to live on our platform—planning, styling, packing, and purchasing.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your role at the company. What do you love the most about your job?
We are a very small team with a clear agenda whose pieces are eventually falling into place, but the challenge of developing and marketing a consumer-focused product on a limited budget is immense.
In this context, my role essentially covers all aspects of the value chain with a varying degree of involvement in the execution stage.
Naturally, I try to stay on top of strategy, funding, and product roadmap but that’s not possible in most cases, so I take an active part in almost everything.
The part that I love most about my job and keeps me going is discovering small tweaks that solve big problems, which is mostly about human design, unsolicited needs, and compelling consumer insights.
It’s truly fascinating if you could relate these truths to tangible features that can solve real problems and then build our brand appeal and acquisition strategy on top of them.
It’s the creative bits and pieces that make the whole journey rewarding and helps us evolve as a team and make bold steps towards having a successful business.
On a personal note, I’m a mom, a style devotee, an extreme sports lover, a photography enthusiast, a wine aficionado, an avid traveler, and a foodie.
What challenges do you solve for your clients?
La Koketa app solves the problem of getting dressed but let me illustrate this with a story!
You wake up in the morning with an overwhelming agenda and the nagging question of how to pull an all-purpose look that encompasses business meetings, a parent-teacher conference, and a dinner party at night. You feel stressed out, you are out of time and out of ideas.
You have to reconcile the objective of feeling comfy and chic at the office, presentable at school, and glam at night.
What do you do? The answer is simple and the solution a few taps away. Just grab your iPhone and input your preferences in La Koketa app and voila!
You end up with a range of amazing outfit ideas with your own clothes to choose from.
So instead of stressing out trying on different outfits and wasting precious time, you can peacefully enjoy your latte while the “what to wear?’ algorithm does the job for you. Now you are ready to seize the day and sustain your focus confident and stylish!
Many have tried to tackle the “what to wear?” problem from different perspectives so the solutions in our competitive space could range from generic outfit inspirations to fashion retail lookbooks to influencers’ style ideas and shop finds.
If narrowly defined, however, most of our competitors focus on the digital closet functionalities, and their outfit building capabilities are basic or developing. In this context, our ambition is to help fashion-conscious women feel confident on any occasion by giving them a smart tool for personalized outfits with their own clothes.
Basically, the main question is how to build a sustainable wardrobe that helps you increase the utilization rate of the clothes that you already own. Here comes the underlying magic of the La Koketa app! Styling, planning, packing, and shopping facilitated a seamless app experience, which is technically impossible without a smart digital closet. The intuitive back-end algorithm helps you make the most of your closet, keeps your investment in clothes to a minimum, and interestingly enough makes packing efficient.
The main point is that outfits are a daily habit so the need to decide what to wear will not change and the need to buy new clothes won’t disappear, so we are committed to making this experience effortless and fun!
If you could share with us one leadership lesson that you’ve learned over the years, what’d it be?
It would be a cliché to say that leadership is a lifelong learning process, but it is. The lessons are abundant, and the learning never reaches a saturation point!
I’ve had the opportunity to experience leadership roles in corporations and in a start-up and there’s basically no basis for comparison because the dynamics of the interactions and the rhythm of the processes are diametrically opposed. In the former, the balancing act is of utmost importance, while in the latter the shared inspiration about future achievements (that usually come in small steps) are what drive results and keep spirits high.
So, my most important lesson from being a CEO at a large organization is that achieving a company’s goals is all about communication, persuasion, and leveraging among diverse stakeholders’ interests to eventually reach an agreement and start execution.
Now all these challenges are gone, and I feel more like a team player than a leader when it comes to taking important decisions and steering the company to the next level.
I heavily rely on the exchange of ideas to reach the right course of action and the “we” is bigger than the “I”. Here, my start-up lesson on leadership would be to listen, learn and grow together as a team.
No matter big or small the organization, the ultimate reward is when you manage to stir motivation and instigate sparks of inspiration somewhere along the communication chain (among peers, superiors, and subordinates).
Why did you join the Campus X ecosystem?
Choosing the Campus X ecosystem was like a homecoming for me because the state-of-the-art facilities accommodate a vibrant community of passionate entrepreneurs and inspiring mentors who are my best friends, colleagues, and fellow students. The environment is meticulously designed to nurture impressive talent, propel breakthrough ideas, and turn innovative solutions into successful businesses.
Campus X is not just providing world-class amenities and services but is actually cultivating an amazing space where you can evolve personally and professionally among driven individuals on a path to worldwide achievements.
So, the alignment of values is the main reason for choosing the Campus X ecosystem because it’s simply inspiring to interact every day with bright people and an exceptional team who would go out their way to assist you and help you sustain your focus on what’s ahead of you.
I couldn’t also overemphasize the importance of the easy access to the upskill courses and talent from Telerik Academy, the leadership events, and the funding opportunities, all of which make the whole experience extremely valuable and literally end-to-end.
The fact that I can reach out at any time to fellow entrepreneurs and mentors for advice, relevant connections, and best practices based on their profound experience makes you feel supported and encouraged on your journey. It’s a mindful and enriching way to go forward!
Are there any collaborative projects within the Campus you’ve been working on recently?
We always consider the Campus X companies when in need of specific expertise at certain stages of our business development. It’s not only the proximity that’s a decisive factor, but also the fact that all companies are ultimate professionals in their specific fields. Essentially, you could never go wrong!
When planning our social media campaign, we’ve received enormous support in the preparation stage from Verto Digital whose team was invaluable in consulting us on all parameters of setting up and running an efficient digital marketing campaign.
Also, we employed a fellow Campus X company for the production of our video tutorials designed to educate our audience about the most differentiating features of La Koketa app.
I cannot elaborate enough on all the valuable connections and advice coming our way from many Campus X members, but that’s the power of the tightly knit community after all!
What’s next for La Koketa?
The road ahead of us is abundant with hard work and many challenges, but we are firm believers that the future of wardrobe management and outfit building is digital. The benefits of achieving perfect closet organization, effortless outfit planning, and conscious shopping cannot be overstated!
In this sense, we are working diligently and relentlessly in evolving our product, building our brand, and reaching more fashion-conscious women who care about how they look, but more importantly how they feel and what their style communicates about them.
The ultimate goal is not only saving them time (a year of their life!) and hassle deciding “what to wear?”, but also making them feel confident and stylish on any occasion. La Koketa app is about enabling women to live effortlessly and shop consciously, but even more so about experimenting with their looks and having fun while doing it.
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