Share Your Start-Up Story – AtHashtags

AtHashtags is a shopping search engine making the art of buying ‘on-the-go’ fashionable items, online and via popup shops, more user-friendly.

Beta launched by Bernard Omolafe, 30, and his co-founder Henrike Grund in 2015, this upcoming Ecommerce startup helps small retail vendors expand and reach more consumers both online and on the High street. 

AtHashtags – How Does It Work?

AtHashtags works by combining the power of intuitive personalised recommendations of products, from small and large retail vendors with our innovative Tradepods and MarketSquares.

Tradepods provides a click and collect solution for small vendors, while also allowing them to sell their products physically in more than one location.

MarketSquares enables shoppers to be able to find and get to vendors in physical locations through exciting technologies such as Augmented and Virtual reality, Ride hailing, product based map directions, interactive mannequins, posters and many more.

How Can Consumers Benefit From This ‘Fashion Search Engine‘?

Consumers find exciting products from new, up and coming retailers they were unaware of. The platform takes away some of the friction they experience while shopping with these retailers such as trust for payments, returns, refunds, complaints or queries.

They can also purchase products from these small retailers online and pick up in store so that they get to touch and feel these items, especially with trying out apparels in changing rooms, therefore reducing the cost of returns and refunds.

Consumers are also more likely to buy products if it is cross or up sold from what they are currently in the process of purchasing, which is what AtHashtags does by – crossing and up­selling complementing products of small and large retailers.

The larger vendors increase their sales and foot traffic, smaller vendors also increase their sales on the short term and build long lasting relationships with the consumer through the power of AtHashtags sharing economy.

AtHashtags founders (left image) – Bernard Omolafe and Henrike Grund.

The Inspiration Behind Your Startup?

While working with several small businesses, through a government initiative called Growth Vouchers, we discovered some of the problems that they encountered in regards to showcasing their products and engaging with shoppers.

This led us to build the AtHashtags platform that would make it easier for these small retail vendors to be discovered, alongside the larger ones that shoppers are used to, in order to engage and retain these shoppers.

Why The Interest In Fashion And Supporting Small Businesses?

Fashion is where we began from with our other startup Forevervogue. We have built strong relationships with market leaders, we understand the industry, consumers and their needs so it made sense to start AtHashtags with fashion, and expand out into other verticals as we go on.

We are passionate about small businesses because we are in every sense of the word startups ourselves, with the mindset, the agility and approach.

Shopping happy.

We’ve had the opportunity to work with startups in a limited capacity through the government ‘Growth Vouchers‘ initiative, which enabled us to better understand the needs of these businesses and the fact that we are well positioned to help them meet that need.

What Kind Of Support Have You Received For The Business?

We’ve had tremendous support and mentoring for the business. Our data driven approach has helped us to receive help from the likes of Microsoft, Google, Facebook, IBM, Rackspace, Paypal, the government via the growth voucher and R&D tax credit grants.

This has enabled us to further raise money from family, friends and seed investors.

Who Are Your Biggest Competitors and How Are You Handling Them? 

Our biggest allies are also our biggest threats. Amazon have a tremendous search engine that allows shoppers to find Amazon and smaller retailer products but we, instead, can combine Amazon, large brands and retailers with the smaller ones along with their location.

Google is a paid search that enables both large and small retailers to feature their items on the top of search results on the largest search engine in the world. We are different because we do not operate on a cost per click basis.

With Tradepods, we have popup shop providers that can provide locations for the small vendors to feature in. However, they do not have the network effect and product search engine that bridges the online and offline aspect of shopping.

Why The Entrepreneurship Path?

I have always wanted to create a product that would drive human evolution forward, products that would improve lives through convenience, increase value by helping businesses to expand faster, shoppers to save time, money and bad experiences.

I have also been fortunate to find like-minded people who share the same desires as me, therefore providing great reasons to run our business.

What Does The Future Hold For AtHashtags?

We want our Tradepods to appear all over the UK, Europe, the US and all over the world. We want to bring the power of shopping convenience to consumers, consolidating the shopping experience so that the smaller retailers can keep in touch with shoppers while the larger ones expand their reach.

With the internet of things fast approaching, AtHashtags wants to be one of the tech platforms in the forefront to enable convenience for consumers with exciting products that take out the friction.