Fashionphix’s Tech Solution for Independent Showrooms

With no formal background in technology, Paula Saunders last year started Fashionphix, an online developer of virtual showrooms.

Even though there is lots of competition in the field, Saunders believes she has an advantage. She knows the fashion showroom business from the inside after having worked for years in multi-line fashion showrooms around downtown Los Angeles. Fashionphix is her first tech venture.

“It’s closing the digital divide for small businesses in this industry,” Saunders said of her company, which opened in October 2012.

The fashion industry traditionally has been the last to embrace technological change. But that hasn’t stopped scores of computer entrepreneurs from pitching the fashion business on virtual showrooms and online trade shows. They have been adapted with varying degrees of success.

Saunders said she developed Fashionphix to adhere closely to the basic business of a showroom. “For our industry, it’s more about the content than how complex people can build their websites,” she said.

On FashionPhix’s showroom websites, pages offer essential information such as line sheets, which are password protected; showroom art and photos of collections; calendars for appointments; and a page for showroom contacts.

Fashionphix client Don Reichman posted his first website in April for his veteran California Market Center showroom, Reichman Associates. “I’m not a tech person. I am busy selling to retail stores. I wouldn’t take the time to learn everything involved,” he said of developing online showrooms. “The way [Fashionphix] worked, it would be something that would fit our needs and make our showroom more visible.”

For a fee, Saunders also manages clients' websites. Fashionphix will soon offer online shopping carts where businesspeople can pay for orders online.