ONLINE: wireframes, mockups, ui, ia, style guides, technical spec sheets
OFFLINE: print design, event production, video production
Position: CEO, founder
Squiiid was a fashion tech platform that turned any photo into a storefront. Brands could embed shopping cart links + product info inside photos, enabling products to be sold anywhere a photo is shared.
As founder and CEO, I owned interaction design, negotiated partnerships with the sales arm of major LA streetwear brands, bloggers and photographers, managed a team of front end and back end engineers, and personally designed all visual assets for the platform: wireframes, typography, UI and full web layouts.
1. Initial interviews
Building a product that strategically fit the needs of three different user profiles required coffee, beer, and cookies. Before pen ever hit paper, I sat down with bloggers, photographers, store managers and brand owners across LA and Canada.
Informal conversations led to deep dives into the current state of fashion ecommerce, retail POS, blog revenue, social media workflows, and issues surrounding the provision of creative credit for designers and photographers. Napkins and sketchbooks filled with notes.
In order to achieve social commerce on blogging platforms like Wordpress and Tumblr, you needed a simplified, unified means of connecting bloggers, photographers, and brands.
- Bloggers want a simpler means of collecting referral revenue from any product they showcase.
- Photographers want to share their work without losing creative attribution.
- Brands want to sell on social platforms without losing sync with their inventory management systems.
Get names, products and payments as close to the consumer's moment of discovery as possible. More specifically
Enable brands to sell their products beyond their online storefronts
Permanently attach creative attribution to each photo, allowing photographers and designers to share their work without losing credit
Make clothing searchable by actual color profile, allowing shoppers to "match" clothes online
Simplify and automate wholesale ordering systems for small to medium sized brands
2. Wireframes + mockups
User profiles created during the interview process informed user journeys and wireframes that mapped the site. After wireframes, hi-fi mockups were chosen in lieu of lo-fi, clickable prototypes. These hi-fi presentation-style mockups, when saved as PDFs, allowed stakeholders to page through pieces of the flow, with various slide changes mimicking user interactions and subsequent screen changes. Some even doubled as portions of pitch decks.
Creating presentation collateral and hi-fi dev specs simultaneously kept our dev timeline lean. Freelance developers were being interviewed and vetted at this stage. As this would not be their sole project, I needed a way to condense my design process to make the most of our meetings together. By providing hi-fi dev specs, developers could more clearly and quickly understand + critique the work for feature creep and timeline adherence.
Early Hi-fi Mockups (uploader, macro, dash):
3. Technical interviews + iterate
Developers were chosen. Hi-fi mockups were presented. And new designs were continually shown to potential customers. Simplicity and minimalism arose not just as facets of the design, but as key differentiators from our competitors. Smaller brands wanted something more lightweight and seamless, because their workflows were, as well. As the key customer needs were more clearly identified, our core feature set was distilled from our first-round mocks. The final MVP took shape as certain features + designs were scrapped to accommodate launch timelines and customer interest. The platform was optimized for use on laptops and desktops as these arose as the publishing hardware of choice for bloggers and photographers. In hindsight, I really wish technical stakeholders had been present earlier in the process.
Final Hi-fi Mockups (uploader, macro, dash):
After the final designs passed our technical review and a second round of customer interviews, information architecture diagrams + style guides detailed brand guidelines:
- user interactions
Hi-fi spec sheets with design and technical requirements for each screen were also provided to the developers.
5. Crafting the Offline Launch Experience
With the technical development of the project underway, I transitioned to crafting the offline experience for our launch. With the intention of targeting small to medium sized brands, especially those in the streetwear category, we teamed up with a well-connected LA magazine to introduce Squiiid at their issue release party. The first night gathered influencers from the LA Fairfax streetwear ecosystem, while the second night was largely reserved for friends and family.
- Print invitation design
- Screen print and sticker design
- A live event experience that onboarded attendees onto the Squiiid platform and pre-populated their account with their tagged photography
- Print magazine feature
- Contribution to the event's social media campaign
- Launch video creative direction
Squiiid was a labor of love. Never before have I met so many diverse groups of people, many of whom I still call my friends. There's something funny about the streetwear scene: at any pop-up shop you can find kids from the highest hill, and people from the most humble means. But almost everybody is high fiving.
As Squiiid got older, it began shifting from B2C to B2B sales, planning to power the wholesale marketplace for small to medium sized brands - an industry that even today is largely done with pad and paper. After almost 2 years, 5 developers, all of the money in my savings account, a launch with a well-known LA boutique, 25 team shirts and 4000 mi driven - still it wasn't where I wanted to be. My cofounder had left, investors weren't interested, and I was out in the cold. So I threw one more hail mary – I drove to Long Beach, snuck into the Agenda trade show and sold to every person on the floor.
Two weeks later, the west coast sales team for 40s & Shorties, Visual by Van Styles, Kennedy Denim, and Diamond Supply wanted to partner with Squiiid. Everything was looking up…until my freelance software developers fell off the map. I tried to keep it together. But in good faith, I knew I couldn't continue because I didn't have the tools necessary to do so. So I spun Squiiid down, and went back to school to learn how to code.
I could never choose whether I wanted to spend more time with fashion designers or engineers - so I hung out with both. I still want to build the next layer of commerce - and Squiiid was just the start.