Tell us a bit about where you grew up:
I am from two completely different worlds. I was born in Malawi, Africa and spent the first eight years of my childhood there, living modestly in the countryside. Then we moved to Sussex, England in the 1980’s. The change was eye opening, to say the least. I had never seen an elevator before in my life and all of the sudden I found myself immersed in a metropolitan city, full of noise and metal machines. It fascinated me.
What made you interested in technology?
I think that my humble beginnings really made me appreciate any kind of gadget. After spending some time in my new home in England, I got the biggest shock of my life. No, literally, the biggest shock. I wanted to know where all the pictures from the television were coming from so I unscrewed it while it was still plugged in. Well, that shock threw me across the room and covered me with soot. The funny thing about going all “mad scientist” was that it didn’t dim my sense of curiosity about technology, but rather amplified it. I couldn’t get enough.
We’ve seen that you’re no stranger to entrepreneurship, would you tell us a little bit about that?
Sure. I think that entrepreneurship has always been a part of me. When I was 18 years old, I started my very first company designing screensavers for PC’s. Do you remember those? There were always so many to choose from…
From there, I started creating PCB boards and learned computer aided design (CAD) and Auto CAD software that I used to develop 3D models. In between all of that, I had my fair share of odd jobs–from being an ice cream truck driver, to working at McDonald’s, to signing on Ellie Lawson to Atlantic Records.
Your past experience is definitely more on the technical side, so how did you get into the fashion industry?
It all happened by chance really. I had a side job fixing computers when I got a call from KCD, a fashion public relations firm. They found one of the flyers that I had put up offering my computer repair services and told me they had a computer for me to fix. The rest is history. In 2001, I developed a legacy computer system to help manage the inventory for their firm.
And how did all of that lead to founding Fashion GPS in 2006?
Well, after I had gotten my foot in the door, I started to see ways that I could make the fashion industry more efficient. It’s really the way most people start a business. I saw a problem in the fashion market and knew that technology could solve it.
I have to confess that I really didn’t know anything about fashion in the beginning. I didn’t even know what a show was, but the more I learned about the industry, the more I loved it. Shortly after, I had developed a web enabled sample inventory business using cloud computing software. I called my new business Fashion GPS. From there, the products just kept evolving from GPS Samples, then later GPS Events, GPS Radar, and GPS Styles.
This past January, Fashion GPS and Augure announced they had merged to form a new company called Launchmetrics, can you tell us about this new entity?
Certainly. I am personally very excited about Launchmetrics. I’m going to try not to get too deep into the “technological” part as to spare everyone from those tedious details. To put it simply, Launchmetrics is a combination of two extremely compatible and powerful technologies that will create the ultimate launch-to-market platform for brands and agencies.
Is there anything in particular that you really like about Launchmetrics?
There are so many things, but if I have to name just one, it would be how Launchemetrics is able to unite both online and offline processes. Normally, companies organize online and offline separately, but with the Launchmetrics platform they can coordinate their strategies together. It’s like the saying goes “hitting two birds with one stone” — online and offline in the same place.
Any word of advice for young entrepreneurs out there looking to start a business like you?
My advice would be to stay focused and become specialized in whatever it is that you want to do. I moved around a lot between interests, but it wasn’t until I really made the decision to go “all in” with Fashion GPS that I really got somewhere. Find something you love, stick with it, and become an expert.
Do you have any pet animals?
I had a pet monkey named Ginger once. Really, I was like Ross on the show “Friends” when he had that monkey named Marcel. That monkey made a fantastic addition to my family!
What is your ultimate vacation spot?
Thailand, on a small island called Koh Chang. But it’s not just about flying to paradise beach, you have to work to get to there. You have to take two flights and then a ferry ride for two hours. Then you’re in paradise. It’s definitely worth it.
Pizza or burgers?
None. I’m cutting out carbs, so grilled fish.
Thank you Eddie!
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