RIYADH: After one year of bootstrapping and product development, entrepreneur and co-founder of Taffi, Shahad Geoffrey, says that they’ve been operating on a testing basis and that the Saudi fashion platform will be launched soon.
Taffi is an artificial intelligence, or AI-empowered fashion marketplace that allows stylists to manage their clients online and acquire new ones.
“It’s been a year since we’ve entered the market. Since we launched, we’ve been seeing the demand for it, the market is actually ready for this kind of consumer product,” Geoffrey said in an exclusive interview with Arab News.
“Post Covid, everyone is shifting to shopping online, and this change made it easier for us to introduce new products and the adaptability rate is much higher,” Geoffrey added.
She took the natural entrepreneurial journey to launching and operating her venture, it started when she found a gap in the market that she experienced herself. “I was looking for a styling or personal shopping service, and I didn’t find one,” she said.
It started back in 2020, when Geoffrey was working in the Bay area, in a venture capital firm, and was about to go on a trip to Hawaii with her family.
“I found at that time companies, like (online styling service) Stitch Fix and (clothing subscription service) Trunk Club, which are very successful companies. But they didn’t solve my problems, so I was very inspired,” Geoffrey added, “asking why don’t we have anything similar? Then I decided to build this product because I was looking for it. And I believe there are a lot of other consumers who are looking for this product.”
“When it comes to fashion, it’s my passion, I’ve been doing styling, but I never imagined myself finding a solution in the fashion industry,” she stated.
With just enough to start, Geoffrey bootstrapped her way to building the product, boosted after winning a US pitch competition prize of SR10,000 ($2,667).
Goeffrey added: “At a pitch competition in Beverly Hills, I just pitched my idea Taffi.”
The business model evolved after the pitch however. Geoffrey explained that it was the same concept, but she “iterated a lot” after launch.
After working on B2B services to raise cash, and bootstrapping for an entire year, Taffi managed to secure its first seed funding of $2 million.
“That was the first raise. And then we basically entered the KAUST accelerator program, which also offered us grant funding. And then B2B sales were another source of funding for us,” Geoffrey added.
Taffi has managed to secure over $80,000 in revenue, with over 80 stylists using the platform since the launch of its testing phase.
“So, we are basically just testing and building the product. We haven’t really launched in the market, I mean like officially launched, we did only like a soft launch,” Geoffrey told Arab News.