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Account managers of fashion company work with student app

During the Spring 2015 bootcamp, our student Emre Delibasi from Istanbul created a graduation app for the VeldhovenGroup. This company with an office in Amsterdam, creates and produces fashion (Sandwich, Turnover, DEPT and Olsen) and wanted a digital catalog for its pre-ordering process. Emre Delibasi delivered the 1.0 version of the app and after continued development it is now distributed to over fifteen countries with sixty account managers working with it. We talked about the Lookbook app with the supervisor ict, Cees van der Ven.
Why did you consider The App Academy and one of their students for the app?
"Actually that happened in a roundabout way. As a volunteer I'm involved in Ride for the Roses, a bicycle ride to collect money for the fight against cancer. I thought with an app we could reach more people for our bike run. Someone in our team knew Martijn Wuite from The App Academy and put us into contact. While chatting we talked about creating a b2b app for the VeldhovenGroup by one of the iOS bootcamp students. It would be a graduation project producing the first version of the app, which would then be further developed by us."
What kind of app did you develop?
"We are an international fashion company with four fashion brands, selling their collection to department stores, chains and fashion boutiques in sixty countries. We do a pre-ordening process: Our account managers have a Lookbook per brand and season which showcases the new collection. It is a book with our collection: Each page shows a photo of a model with 3 to 4 items. The account managers show the Lookbook to the clients and we produce the clothing depending on the amount of orders we receive. The paper version of the Lookbook was always a very stressful production. First we had to wait for the clothing samples, then arrange photo models and photographers, and then design the books and print them. Most of the time we only had two weeks to create those books and we did that four times a year. We already had ideas to create digital Lookbooks using pdfs, but after our conversation with The App Academy a new idea emerged to develop it for the iPhone and iPad. The two ideas nicely coincided. Production should become cheaper and faster, so we quickly received the go-ahead from our head office in Switzerland to implement this in our company. We now have Lookbook apps for our brands Sandwich and DEPT."
Were you happy with the 1.0 version of the app? After all it is a student who has to develop and deliver a working app in a short period of time.
"The end result was an unknown. We would receive the working version which student Emre presented during the Demo Day of The App Academy. He got quite far and we were rather content with the first version he had made in such a short period. There were some technical issues on the backend, so continued development was necessary before we could start using the app. But that is quite common in this process. We have later adapted the design a little bit, so if you put the first and latter versions together, it will look different. In the end the concept was built by a student of The App Academy."
How did your account managers react to the Lookbook app?
"We first used the app for the spring and summer collections of 2015. Response was very postive and with the comments of the users and our marketing department we have further improved the app. This was possible because the app was built in a flexible way. If necessary I wanted to be able to apply instant changes and improvements.
What proved to be very useful is the fact that you can now change the collection during the season. For example, if there are items which are not in demand, we don't have to produce them. When we reach that conclusion, we can take that part of the collection out of the Lookbook. With a printed version we have to inform sixty people and hope that everyone reads the email. Now changes are immediately processed in the app. We can also supply additional information. Next to the collection we supply pdfs with for example marketing, presentation and sales information. So our account managers have all the information they need in the app, which saves a lot of paper."
Were there any complaints?
There are still people who would rather have the paper version. They were used to making annotations in it, but all in all the account managers are happy with the app.
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