Modalist Brings High Fashion into Reach

The online retail aggregator provides high-fashion consumers and social influencers with shopping incentives.

Looking our best can seem hard to do without breaking the bank. Despite a multitude of non-brick and mortar buying options, designer brands are still designer brands, and they’re simply out of our price range, right? Not always. Modalist in Columbus is helping shoppers search for high-fashion brands, set alerts for when items go on sale, and get cash back after every purchase.

“Modalist is a global e-marketplace for fashion. We’re a global search engine. We help shoppers solve the problem of comparing products across multiple top brands,” said Tina Fisher, co-founder and CEO of Modalist. “A shopper doesn’t have to go to 20 different websites to find what they want. If someone’s searching for a blue dress, they can go to Modalist, type ‘blue dress’ into our search bar, and find blue dresses from several high-end retailers at once.”

Tina Fisher and her co-founder, serial entrepreneur and husband Bob Fisher, saw an opportunity to aggregate several different retailers onto one website, allowing consumers to shop for the best prices without having to surf around. For retailers, many of whom have a deficient digital presence, partnering with Modalist increases visibility and drives more traffic to their site.

“We work with some great retailers: Saks Fifth, Farfetch, Neiman Marcus, Michael Kors, Under Armour—you name it. We have over 350 retail partners, over 5,000 designer brands and over a half-million products on the site,” said Fisher. “We have shoppers from more than 60 countries. This is something retailers and consumers both want. Since we’re a technology platform built around connecting consumers to the products, we don’t have inventory and don’t process payments. We get paid commission from the retailer for connecting them to the consumer. We turn around and share that commission with the consumer, so everybody benefits.”

In addition to the cash-back incentive for traditional consumers, Modalist also just recently launched the Modalist Social Runway, a set of tools for online influencers to get paid for posts they share through their social platforms. The idea is to compensate influential online trendsetters for helping to drive sales through the Modalist platform.

Fisher and her husband Bob are active in the Ohio startup community. Through Rev1 Ventures, a partner of Ohio Third Frontier in Columbus, the pair supports other startups as angel investors. They are both members of Rev1’s Ohio TechAngel Funds, as well as X Squared Angels, an investment group that focuses on women-led companies. Contributing to the growth of the companies around the state inspires them to make Modalist a success.

“Columbus is a retail city and one of the best we have in the nation,” said Fisher. “Being in the retail tech space, and also being a supporter of other startups as angel investors, makes us really committed to making something out of Modalist. The future looks very bright.”

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