Well, thanks to YouCeleb, an e-commerce site launching today, now you can look — and feel — like a celebrity. (A sober one, of course.) The startup offers daily deals and discounts on designer fashion that celebrities wear after the cameras stop rolling.
Here’s how it works: The YouCeleb team identifies paparazzi photos of a celebrity, determines what they’re wearing, and then works with the relevant celebrity and brand to provide you with deals on those particular clothes and accessories. Operating under a group buy model similar to Groupon’s, YouCeleb offers a daily deal on a certain item and then sets a minimum number of items that must be sold. If you’re interested in the item, you fill out your payment information, but you don’t pay anything until that minimum is met.
Now, before you scoff at this as a way for celebrities to further line their pockets, you should know that YouCeleb donates the proceeds that the celebrity would receive to the charity of their choice.
Typically, brands are known to seed celebrities with their clothes in the hopes that they will wear them and in turn expose the products to their fans. While this is a popular method across the board, it doesn’t allow brands to measure actual sales and how much publicity their product is actually receiving.
YouCeleb addresses this issue by not only allowing brands to measure the actual number of sales generated by the deal but also shortens how long it takes the consumer to find out that a certain celebrity wears a certain brand. YouCeleb’s group buy model allows brands to sell enough of a particular product that the discounted price is fiscally viable and, as users share the deal over social networks, publicity ensues.
Among the brands YouCeleb has already recruited include, Heyday shoes, Prince Peter Collection, Blume clothing, Knockout Athletics, and Coogi. YouCeleb Founder and CEO Amit Dharmani told me that another 100 brand deals are currently in the works.
While some might find it uncool to emulate celebrity trends, more of us than we’d like to admit have seen some cool item on TV or in a magazine that we liked but couldn’t identify. Says Dharmani:
“Often times I noticed myself looking at an image of a celebrity on ESPN, or TMZ or some other website and wondering what type of sunglasses, or shoes, or jacket that person was wearing. It would take me quite a while to find the answer, and half the time I would go buy the cheaper version of the product instead of the actual one.”
YouCeleb hopes to amend this problem for the customer (and brand) by highlighting one image and one deal per day, allowing the customer to buy the actual item at a discounted rate rather than a cheap knock-off.
While celebrity endorsement and collective buying aren’t new trends, YouCeleb is hoping that combining the two in an e-commerce space will be. Sites like Gilt, RueLaLa, iDeeli and Hautelook all focus on fashion clothing at a discounted price, and present adequate competition, but YouCeleb hopes to distinguish their model by focusing on celebrities and by offering brands and consumers to target one particular item.
The startup is a product of Incubate Miami, a science and technology business incubator located in downtown Miami that offers strategic resources for young companies and entrepreneurs. YouCeleb graduated from the incubator in December 2010 and was founded by Amit Dharmani, CTO John Cattaneo, and VP of Business Development Darin Schmidt.
Though Dharmani said he wasn’t able to share which celebrities have already agreed to partner with YouCeleb, he said that he and his team have previous experience both the music industry and with celebrity management, so a wide range of actors, musicians, and athletes are already on board. And this profile on picortwo.com might give a small hint as to one possible partnership. Stay tuned for more.