Amanda Latifi is a #GIRLBOSS after my own heart. She is the chic, smart, tech savvy and especially the stylish co-founder of the ultimate shopping app that every Fashionista has to have on her phone: Hafta Have. She, along with co-founder Valeriia Tyshhenko and designer Kristen Hodge created the perfect app for Summer shopping and saving.
Lauren Jeworski: How did you come up with Hafta Have?
Amanda Latifi: I decided to leave the last start up that I was at, Fahlo. There was a change of management and they decided to change the direction of the product. My dad is self-employed and told me I needed to do something I’m very passionate about. I started thinking about what some of the pain points in my life are and what something I would love a solution for. I used to blog which lead to me shopping all the time. It was hard for me to keep up with when clothes, accessories etc. that I liked were going on sale. I usually take 10 things into the dressing room and buy one. I used to take photos of the tag or item to remember to check online or comeback for the other things I wanted but would never actually do it.
I had a friend that was a developer and I said I wish I could go into a store, scan a tag, keep a list of it and just get an email when it would go on sale. My friend told me that there is no way, this doesn’t exist but the scanning technology has come so far along now that it does. My friend still told me it wasn’t going to work out and I felt totally defeated. I went back to my former co-worker, Kristin, who was also leaving the startup. She loved the idea. We reapproached it and figured out the flow for the app in May/ June of last year and have gone from there.
LJ: We love everything about this app. Why should the LAPALME girl have this on her phone?
AL: This is meant for someone who is more refined. It is not about shopping cheap it is about shopping smarter and being able to control more of it. We are not looking for discount brands. We are looking to partner with more companies like Rag & Bone and Club Monaco. We still stuff on there for median every day shoppers because we are looking for stores that also have high foot traffic. For instance, there is usually an Anthropolgie and express in every mall. We are adding in the high and the low because that is how everyone shops. I shop at Rag & Bone and Madewell all the time. It is not about stand alone apps. It is about having a shopping experience that represents where you shop and what you do.
Whenever people ask me who I am making the app for, I am making it for me since we are girls [that founded Hafta Have]. We are making it for 18-35 year olds who are professional or getting into professional environment but care about fashion and branding. These are the women who spend a little bit more on clothing but it is not just something that they wear. It is a part of who they are.
LJ: What is next for you and the company?
AL: We are in the midst of starting to raise money. We were able to take private investments to get us to the point where we could develop the full product and have it fully functioning and up. We need to start raising money to scale. We are parternign with more of the affiliate programs and expanding our store options. The next product that we are releasing is going to have a faster scanner and we are also implementing a filter system for the browse stores. We are adding social sharing so you can share directly with someone else so they can add it to their Hafta have’s. We are going to be moving a lot more info refining the product. We are going for quality over quantity and have a waitlist for stores. There is a lot we want to make sure the product is doing right before we keep adding more stores.
LJ: Do you think that your experience in tech startups along with advertising in the past have made this a little bit smoother, in terms of trial and error?
AL: Before I did tech I was in advertising and branding. I did brand strategy and positioning. I worked on lifestyle clothing brands a little bit before. That has helped me understand the tone of our product: knowing what stores we want on the app and what stores we don’t. We are staying focused on what we want to be which came from my advertising experience. We can be apart of conversations, in terms of a social perspective like how to work with bloggers. I couldn’t have done this without my past experiences in startups. I would not have known how to do this. I have the skill set to build a good brand but there is a lot more to it than that. You need to be able to work with the designer, be able to keep up with copy, issuing bugs and more. You have to go through a start up to know how to do this or have someone advising you and holding your hand.
I think this process is a lot different in the sense that this is my baby and I am constantly anxious because I’ve never wanted to work more before than this. My dream one day is to be walking past a girl in a store and she is scanning a tag and we can talk about Hafta Have. I’m dm’ing people to see if they have tried it. I’ve never really reached out to people before but now everywhere I go I try to find a blogger to meet with when I am traveling. I’ve also learned that I cannot be defense with feedback because I want to know how people feel about it and how they are interpreting it. I want to understand and have a conversation.
Hafta Have is available for download for iPhone and Androids.