App games are becoming increasingly commonplace and cover a wide range of themes and topics. Some games are fantastical while others are rooted in reality yet there are few apps that directly target adult women –the innovative company Crowdstar aims to change that.
Crowdstar is a mobile entertainment company that recently released an app called “Covet Fashion” which uses real life fashion items to entice women into building their own outfits and sharing their ideas with other players. Even if you can’t actually afford to dress in name brand clothes, this app game makes it possible to imagine how you could style yourself if you had an unlimited budget.
Recently Blair Ethington, the SVP GM of Covet Fashion, answered a few questions about the game, the company, and hopes for the future:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): What inspired you to create Crowdstar and why did you choose that name?
Blair Ethington (B.E.): Our roots are in User Generated Content and we’ve always been focused on that, hence the Crowd part. Going beyond that we wanted to enable users to stand out. We saw the impending explosion of social games and founded the company in 2008, focusing on designing inventive games for women. We wanted to bring a crowd of people together and enable each one to shine in its own way, so that’s how we ended up as Crowdstar.
M..M: How exactly does your app game, Covet Fashion, work?
B.E.: Covet Fashion is essentially a personal styling experience with gaming mechanics. We digitize the latest collections of over 175 top contemporary brands and put them right at the fingertips of our over 2.5 million monthly active users. The interactive structure with a competitive element keeps over 600,000 users coming back to engage for 30-60 minutes every single day, all in effort to claim they have the best style! Our consumers download the app and receive an allowance of virtual currency that allows them to virtually shop and style with the real collections of some of today’s top contemporary brands. They then build up their virtual closet and compete in style challenges (we launch 5-6 new challenges daily) that include themes such as “Styling for a First Date” or “Create a look for the CFDA Fashion Awards Red Carpet”. Once looks are submitted, users within the app cast their votes to see who has best style and the looks that are well received earn more virtual goods. What’s amazing about the app is that it’s very consumer-driven and users get to provide each other feedback via chat within the app (called Fashion Houses) and voting allows them to set the trends and determine what looks are working and which aren’t. When users fall in love with an item within the app, they have the option to click through to the brand’s e-commerce page to purchase that item in real life, driving high awareness, traffic and engagement for our brand partners.
M.M.: Covet Fashion includes images of clothes and accessories from higher-end contemporary brands like Zimmermann, Rebecca Taylor and BCBG Max Azria. What was it like working with these brands and are you planning to add more in the future?
B.E.: The brands have been incredible and are at the heart of what makes Covet so unique and amazing. Our consumers are allowed to experiment with their style on the virtual platform and because everything they see within the app is available in real life, they are able to translate that to their everyday style. It makes us an amazing marketing tool for brands, because we’ve basically taken what is typically considered advertising and flipped it on its head, such that their product is the reason our users are engaging within the app for 30-60 minutes every day to begin with. We allow brands to authentically engage with consumers in an impactful way. The way consumers are able to layer on our virtual model allows them to get a clear picture of how this jacket goes with that dress and these shoes look with those pants. Their head to toe look really comes to life and it’s extremely validating for us to hear feedback from our users on how they are now more confident in experimenting with their own looks and being more bold with their style because they were able to try it out first in Covet. We are constantly growing our roster of brands to continue to bring more value to our consumers and keep them in the know about the latest trends. Stay tuned for some great new additions in our fall season!
M.M.: Aside from Covet Fashion, do you have any other games in production?
B.E.: We have nothing to announce yet, but our goal is to constantly create innovative and inventive experiences targeting women.
M.M.: How does Crowdstar come up with the ideas for its games?
B.E.: With Covet in particular we saw a huge gap in the market place. Over 50% of adults in the US are playing games, and of that 50% over half of them are women, yet there aren’t many games that directly address women’s needs. While some games out there might be a nice way to pass the time while you’re waiting in line for coffee, we wanted to go beyond that and create something that would actually have a meaningful impact on women’s lives. That’s why we chose to incorporate real brands. It validates the experience and instead of just being a way to pass time, we’ve created this community that is able to connect over their love of fashion, share style tips and feel more confident in how they dress for everyday life.
M..M: Do you ever work with independent inventors? If so, what is that process like?
B.E.: We have an incredible internal team and an open work environment so all of our concepts are honed and expanded upon internally.
M.M.: Where do you hope Crowdstar will be ten years from now?
B.E.: What we do at Crowdstar is very unique and that’s what is so exciting about this company. The possibilities are truly endless and we are excited to continue to grow as a mobile entertainment company that takes the latest content from fashion and lifestyle and makes it interactive and meaningful to women in a way that impacts their everyday lives.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to enter the game design industry?
B.E.: Everyone always tells you to stick with what you know, but we found that it was less about what we knew and more about what the market needed. Identify a massive market opportunity first and then bring in people that can help educate you on that market and capitalize on the opportunity
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To learn more about Covet Fashion visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.