If you’ve ever shopped online at Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Sephora, or Stitch Fix, you’ve got Julie Bornstein to thank for helping to make a lot of that possible. In fact, her resume makes you wonder if there’s any major e-commerce retailer she hasn’t changed for the better. So when she decided to take all her experience and build an AI-powered shopping app, we knew it meant big things for the future of online shopping.
After working with her and her team on the design of The Yes, we can confirm that this is definitely one you'll want to download ASAP. We got the chance to ask Julie about her vision, the things she’s learned the hard way, and why she hopes brick-and-mortar retailers never truly die.
It was sort of a combination of both. I’ve been thinking about the idea ever since Amazon.com started selling books in 1996. To me, e-commerce was the perfect combination of my life-long love of shopping and obsession with efficiency.
In my experience working at Nordstom.com, Sephora, and Stitch Fix, I got a much clearer understanding of the challenges e-commerce faces: the overwhelm of choice, the one-size-fits-all nature, the inefficiencies of re-shooting every article of clothing, and the costs and limitations of owning inventory. Now that the tech is finally advanced enough to solve these problems, it felt like the right time to give it a shot!
Media services like Spotify, Pandora, Apple News, and YouTube have trained us to understand the huge benefit of services that work smarter, ranking and editing content on our behalf. It's time to apply this to the shopping experience.
Trust will be the hardest. Our goal is for The Yes to become the “go-to” destination for all your fashion needs, which requires people to trust that we have the best selection, the best prices, and the best service. Trust takes time to build, but given our deep dedication to our customers and brands, I’m certain we can earn it. I also think the new paradigm of choosing “Yes” or “No” as a means of sharing preferences will be an addictive behavior, even though they’ve never done it for fashion before.
Two things I’ve always practiced: eat your own dog food and be solutions-oriented. My teams have always joked that I’m the best QA (quality assurance) person because I’m the one who uses our products and services the most. I’m always hunting for bugs and opportunities for improvement.
I love thinking about how things can be done better.