Kevin Warnock

Entrepreneurship, ideas and more

Launch party for Apple iPad fashion magazine and shopping app Monogram, at La Boutique l’art et la mode in San Francisco, California

without comments

Leo Chen and Justin Kan at Monogram app launch party, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California USA, November 27, 2012.

Leo Chen and Justin Kan at Monogram app launch party, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California USA, November 27, 2012.

On Tuesday evening, November 27, 2012, I attended the launch party for a company run by Leo Chen.

Chen runs Fara, Inc., which recently released its first product, an app for the Apple iPad tablet computer.

The application is named Monogram, and that’s how I’ll refer to the company and product for the rest of this post, as the company doesn’t seem to promote the Fara name.

Leo Chen (center) talking with two guests at his launch party for his company's Apple iPad app 'Monogram', November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California USA

Leo Chen (center) talking with two guests at his launch party for his company's Apple iPad app 'Monogram', November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California USA

I met Chen July 18, 2012 at the Demo Day for the 500 Startups Accelerator program. Monogram was one of the presenting companies. I attended the Demo Day as a blogger so I got to meet all the graduating companies. Thank you to Dave McClure for getting me an invite to Demo Day. McClure is the founding partner of 500 Startups.

Leo Chen (left), CEO of Fara, Inc., talks with two guests at launch party for Monogram iPad app, November 27, 2012

Leo Chen (left), CEO of Fara, Inc., talks with two guests at launch party for Monogram iPad app, November 27, 2012

Chen stood out because he was the most stylishly dressed. See my picture of him I took at Demo Day at the bottom of this post to see his pure white sports coat paired with jeans, a hip wristwatch and a pink shirt. Not many guys can pull off this eclectic look. That Chen can suggests he will have the fashion sense to make the right calls at Monogram, which, when you really study it, is a company that requires good taste to have a chance to thrive.

His app, which he demonstrated to me personally, was sumptuous, glorious and stunning — and it was still unreleased code.

Leo Chen on left talks with guest at Monogram iPad app launch party, November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California USA

Leo Chen on left talks with guest at Monogram iPad app launch party, November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California USA

I don’t have an Apple iPad, so I have not seen the released version of Monogram. Chen wasn’t showing off the app on his iPad at the party either, so I simply can’t write a review here of the app — sorry!

Fergus Hurley (right) at Monogram fashion magazine and shopping iPad app launch party at La Boutique l'Art et la Mode, November 27, 2012, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California USA

Fergus Hurley (right) at Monogram fashion magazine and shopping iPad app launch party at La Boutique l'Art et la Mode, November 27, 2012, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California USA

The famous TechCrunch technology blog covered Monogram on November 1st, 2012 in an article entitled 500 Startups Alum Monogram Raises $400K More, Launches iPad App To Aggregate All Your Favorite Fashion Brands.

Kristen Slowe, Chief Creative Officer of Fara, Inc., the maker of the Monogram Apple iPad app, and her husband Chris Slowe, Chief Scientist at Hipmunk.

Kristen Slowe, Chief Creative Officer of Fara, Inc., the maker of the Monogram Apple iPad app, and her husband Chris Slowe, Chief Scientist at Hipmunk.

Since I can’t write a review about the Monogram app sight unseen, I’ll give you just the basics. You download the free app from the Apple App Store. You browse through pages of the app as if you’re looking at a fashion magazine. If you see something you want to buy, you can tap on it and get transported to an online retailer that sells that item. You’re presumably transported to precisely that item, not the front page of the retailer’s site. If you buy, Monogram collects an affiliate payment from the retailer, and that’s how Monogram makes money.

Fara, Inc. launch party for Monogram Apple iPad app at La Boutique l'Art et la Mode, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California, November 27 2012

Fara, Inc. launch party for Monogram Apple iPad app at La Boutique l'Art et la Mode, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California, November 27 2012

I met many of the attendees at the Monogram launch party, and I can say that Chen and his team have smart and impressive friends. The venue for the party, La Boutique – L’Art et la Mode, was perfect. Carole Harari, the owner of the boutique, has created a 2,500 square foot oasis that is part women’s clothing boutique, part art gallery, part furniture store and part event space. The women’s fashions for sale are eclectic and desirable.

Fara, Inc. launch party for Monogram iPad app at La Boutique l'Art et la Mode, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California USA, November 27, 2012.

Fara, Inc. launch party for Monogram iPad app at La Boutique l'Art et la Mode, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California USA, November 27, 2012.

The pop up furniture store on the second level was so photogenic I took an architecture style picture while I was up there to get a shot of the crowd below. La Boutique is so photogenic that I asked Harari for permission to photograph models there.

Upper level at La Boutique L'Art et la Mode, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California, USA November 27, 2012.

Upper level at La Boutique L'Art et la Mode, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California, USA November 27, 2012.

I met Justin Kan for the second time. I met Kan for the first time — you probably have heard of his as Justin of Justin.tv fame — at a Stirr mixer in Palo Alto, California in about 2008. I spoke with him back then for perhaps 10 minutes, and they were a stressful set of minutes because he had a video camera strapped near his head and wore a backpack with four 3G wireless cards whose bandwidth was combined through software so the laptop in the backpack could broadcast Kan’s every move live to the Internet. This can be done with a smart phone today, but back then live streaming was rare, and my talk with Kan then was the first time I had been live streamed before a meaningful audience.

Justin Kan's Nixon brand watch on his arm, November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California, at Monogram launch party.

Justin Kan's Nixon brand watch on his arm, November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California, at Monogram launch party.

On Tuesday, Kan was wearing one of the largest watches I have ever seen, and it was so eye catching I asked to photograph it. I already had my macro lens on my camera, so it only took seconds to capture this shot you see here of Kan’s Nixon brand watch on his arm.

Leo Chen went to high school with Kan.

Kristen Slowe, Leo Chen and Kristen Philipkoski at Fara, Inc. launch party for Apple iPad app named Monogram. At La Boutique L'art et la mode, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California USA, November 27, 2012.

Kristen Slowe, Leo Chen and Kristen Philipkoski at Fara, Inc. launch party for Apple iPad app named Monogram. At La Boutique L'art et la mode, 414 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California USA, November 27, 2012.

Kan told me about his latest project, named Exec. Exec is an Apple iOS app that lets users hire an assistant for short term projects for a fixed rate currently of USD $25.00 per hour. An Exec assistant was stationed by the front door to La Boutique to make sure only guests on the list were admitted. I spoke with her for several minutes, and was impressed. I would use Exec if I needed an assistant for a project that Exec was suited for. One suggestion: When funds permit, buy the domain exec.com. The current url, iamexec.com, on quick viewing of the web browser address bar, reads as ‘lame exec’ because I saw the lower case i as an l. I had a good laugh about this, but I still recommend paying out the dollars to get the shorter url once it’s easily afforded. The url exec.com is currently up for sale, and has no developed site associated with it. Don’t wait too long, or the price will keep going up.

Fergus Hurley, Leo Chen and Cheryl Yeoh, November 27, 2012, at Monogram launch party.

Fergus Hurley, Leo Chen and Cheryl Yeoh, November 27, 2012, at Monogram launch party.

I also had a nice talk with the husband of Monogram co-founder Kristen Slowe. Kristen is Chief Creative Officer of Monogram. Her husband Christopher Slowe, is Chief Scientist at Hipmunk, which, according to their introductory video, ‘takes the agony out of travel search.’

Christopher and my father studied the same subject at the same university.

Kristen Slowe and Erin Flynn Hakansson at Monogram launch party, November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California USA

Kristen Slowe and Erin Flynn Hakansson at Monogram launch party, November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California USA

I got to talk with Jim England, a co-founder at Publik Demand. I met England at the same 500 Startups Demo Day where I met Chen. I absolutely love Publik Demand, a website that gives  representation and power to consumers, so that they can insist that wrongs done by a company are addressed.

Lisa Garcia, Kristen Slowe and Sarah Choi from Monogram team at the Monogram launch party, November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California

Lisa Garcia, Kristen Slowe and Sarah Choi from Monogram team at the Monogram launch party, November 27, 2012, San Francisco, California

I also got to talk with Cheryl Yeoh, co-founder and CEO of Reclip It, a website that brings together more than 200,000 online coupons & deals from many other coupon websites, for one stop access to money saving offers. I met Yeoh the same day I met England and Chen

Jim England, co-founder of Publik Demand, and Cheryl Yeoh, CEO of ReclipIt, at Monogram app launch party, November 27, 2012.

Jim England, co-founder of Publik Demand, and Cheryl Yeoh, CEO of ReclipIt, at Monogram app launch party, November 27, 2012.

I conclude with a photograph I love of Monogram co-founders Chen and Slowe that I took July 18, 2012 at the 500 Startups Demo Day, held at the headquarters of the publicly traded game company Zynga, at 699 8th Street, San Francisco, California USA.

I love Monogram, and that’s why I attended their launch party. I wish them the best of success. This is one of the few companies that truly counts on beautiful photographs for its success. Since I am an avid photographer, I connect with this company more than many.

Leo Chen and Kristen Slowe of Fara, Inc., July 18, 2012 at the 500 Startups Demo Day at Zynga in San Francisco. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Leo Chen and Kristen Slowe of Fara, Inc., July 18, 2012 at the 500 Startups Demo Day at Zynga in San Francisco. Photo by Kevin Warnock.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe without commenting