TI&SHRT: Giovanni Basile-Garcia

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Names: Giovanni Basile-Garcia, Lukas Ondrej, Pietro Calzini
Company name: TI&SHRT
Location: Greater London UK
Date launched: 15/10/2018
Age: 25
Number of employees: 5
Website: tishrt.com
Which university did you attend? King’s College London

Students turned aspiring stylists tell us how they’re creating an interesting array of apparel with Instagram. Spinning social media into shirts, this startup’s making a unique splash in the fashion industry. Here’s how they’re doing it:

Tell us what your business does:

TI&SHRT (read t and shirt) is a fashion marketplace that enables everyone to shop for premium garments designed with their Instagram pictures. We’re on a mission to make the fashion experience an authentic reflection of your digital self.

Where did the idea for your business come from?

The idea came to us at one of the King’s Entrepreneurship workshops, where I met with Lukas Ondrej and Pietro Calzini, two talented tech entrepreneurs and bright innovative personalities. We saw people very dedicated to spending time on their Instagram and we wanted to help fellow students benefit from keeping a sleek account. We also wanted to bring Instagram to the offline world, reconnecting people and apparel using technology to brand everyone with their own digital self.

How did you know there was a market for it?

We asked friends and other students.

We knew there was a market when even non Instagrammers wanted to buy the t-shirts. We then tested and researched the market to understand if we were really unique.

People loved the idea and the unique, exclusive “real people” content. The monetisation also was a big factor for people that used Instagram to showcase their curated pictures, like artists or influencers.

What were you doing before starting up?

I was just starting my second semester for my Neuroscience MSc at King’s. Also working for another startup as a data scientist and learning about entrepreneurship at the King’s Entrepreneurship Institute.

Have you always wanted to run your own business?

I enjoy challenges and creating opportunities that inspire others. This is why we have decided to start TI&SHRT. I personally enjoy the process of strategising, analysing and delivering solutions. Running a business encapsulates all of these, and it is a great learning experience.

How did you raise the money?

We have bootstrapped until now but are currently in conversation with potential investors to raise our first round of 150k to grow our operations globally.

Describe your business model and how you make money:

Currently, TTI&SHRT enables shoppers to buy T-shirts made with Instagram pictures. Our revenue comes from the sales of the t-shirts.

In the next quarter TI&SHRT users will have different way to receive our services, and this will generate an extra revenue stream in a freemium model.

What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?

Initially, our university exams and other commitments where a major setback and delayed our development. We have since implemented a very efficient way to manage work and this has boosted our efficiency.Also, getting in touch with Instagram to receive their approval, was difficult.

What was your first big breakthrough?

We have been shortlisted at different UK competitions (EY and The Tab best founders 2017, Enterprise Nation and Microsoft’s Best UK Student Entrepreneurs) and presented as an ALPHA startup at the Websummit in Lisbon 2018.

The first emotional breakthrough was when we got notified of the first organic sale.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

My only recommendation is to be humble and create a strong team you can trust.

Where do you want to be in five years’ time?

In five years, our ambition is to be global leaders in the fashion retail industry.

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