Paul Mouginot, DACO Co-founder
Even though he studied engineering at CentraleSupélec in Paris while simultaneously acquiring a Masters in Management from the ESCP Europe business school, the young Savoyard was always passionate about fashion. In 2010 that passion motivated him to found a photo agency that worked with designers and magazines such as Purple, L’Officiel, and Vogue. As a young graduate in 2014, Paul Mouginot began work as a business management consultant for Advancy, a specialist in a range of fields including fashion retail and beauty. This professional experience gave him a solid background for creating DACO in September 2016. The company was one of the very first start-ups with a concrete artificial intelligence application for the fashion industry that gave businesses the latest in monitoring tools.
Tell us about DAVO. How does it work?
One of the issues in helping brands always get noticed more is, first of all, to help them understand what the competition is doing. And that is, quite simply, the service we provide: price strategies, special sales promotions, product typologies, and more. By using robots that explore the web, we give clients an information technology tool for accessing and juggling all kinds of collected data. We segment and file millions of pieces of information so that products which are comparable, but from different brands or presented differently according to the site, are analysed within the same category. For example, we know how to identify comparable “short dresses with long sleeves” from several brands. Artificial intelligence lets us evaluate all these images and it’s essentially this image recognition that gives us such analytical precision and an approach to fashion that perfectly meets brands’ needs.
Who are your clients? Why are they using your services today?
Our clients are chains and fashion brands, marketplaces, and consulting agencies. Today competition between brands in the same price range is so fierce that it’s down to the euro. For brands not to lose market shares, it’s critical to be extremely accurate about prices at the beginning of each season and afterwards for the sales.
Since our September 2016 beginnings, our company has been 100 percent financed by our growth. We haven’t yet needed to raise funds. Clients work with us for a single mission or through a subscription. We make the data available on a platform with unlimited access. The information can be adjusted according to client needs and updated at regular intervals, even in real time if necessary.
How do you see the fashion industry? What’s its future?
Consumers are increasingly expert. They’re very well informed about all the brand universes, they know fabrics, and they’re more interested in quality and manufacturing methods. They pay attention to a label’s background and ethical commitments. People are becoming better educated – so what if it’s only through Internet? Consequently, their expertise forces brands to create products that are always more cutting edge.
Fashion is becoming a two-tiered situation. On one side, there’s the quick part that pushes people to spend and is fed by an accelerating number of collections. The result is that as soon as the slightest urge is experienced, it must be satisfied immediately. On the other side, I sense the development of a much more intellectual dimension in many young designers. This has certainly existed for the past few years, but was slightly suppressed. Some refuse to give in to the “see now buy now” paradigm (and choose to work at their own pace), while others put energy into creating timeless collections and concentrating on quality or environmental concerns. I’m really optimistic about the sector’s future.
Every year in France, numerous measures are taken to boost innovation. I’ve got a first row seat for observing the international expansion of French fashion tech, which has grown steadily over the past several years. Young fashion designers now integrate new technologies into their work, and their collections are increasingly sophisticated in a very natural way. I say “in a very natural way” because we don’t always see the technology. And it’s exactly this low key integration that is the signature of French excellence.