Zoe Saldana is more than just a celebrity known for her work in movies like Avatar and Star Trek. She also has a love of fashion and an entrepreneurial spirit, which she brings together in an online fashion industry resource called My Fashion Database (MyFDB).
With her partner, internet entrepreneur and former model Keith Britton, MyFDB experienced an amazing 250% increase in visits during April 2011, just two years after the website debuted. Today, MyFDB is a site that tracks the credits of everyone working in the fashion industry. You'll find household names and newcomers on MyFBD in over 50,000 profiles of photographers, models, and more as well as a credited catalogue of covers, campaigns, and editorials from publications and brands around the world.
MyFDB offers free content for visitors to browse, a subscription service for users to develop their own profiles and online portfolios, and a cloud image service that allows magazines and brands to manage the workflow of image assets with their partners and marketing channels as well as to distribute those images through the MyFDB Asset Network. Brands like L'Oreal, Max Factor, and Macy's are already included in the directory of credited brands on MyFDB.
I had the opportunity to talk to Zoe Saldana about the future of MyFDB, the site's business implications, and the potential for brands to use MyFDB to build their businesses. Read on to learn what makes Zoe and MyFDB tick.
Susan Gunelius: What motivated you to get involved with MyFDB and what are your goals for your ongoing involvement?
Zoe Saldana: As founders, we were motivated by knowing that there wasn’t a website giving the industry professionals credit where credit is due for their work. We really wanted to solve that problem for them.
I get to work alongside a lot of freelance industry professionals like hair, makeup and many others every week. That’s allowed me to see the issues they deal with in getting credited and booking future jobs.
Going forward, I’m just excited to build awareness for MyFDB.com so that it continues helping the artists and industry professionals we originally built it for.
Susan: What makes MyFDB an important website? What does it bring to the table that is unique?
Zoe: It’s important because we’re standardizing the fashion credit system. Before MyFDB, there wasn’t a website organizing fashion credits.
MyFDB.com is free and for anyone that loves fashion magazines, luxury brands, celebrities, models -- you can browse them all and shop the images soon as well. This is unique because we are connecting the consumers directly to the brands and magazines they love.
Susan: What are the business implications that MyFDB brings to users and to the broader business world?
Zoe: Users get easy access to all of the official images that they love. When brands and magazines claim their MyFDB profiles, they get direct access to consumers viewing and shopping their images. So that means we’re allowing them to tap into their consumers on MyFDB.com at a lower cost
The broadest implication on the business world is that we allow any business to go direct to their consumers through their official images on MyFDB.com or anywhere the images we credit go on the web.
Susan: The Wall Street Journal dubbed MyFDB the "fashion industry LinkedIn." Those are big shoes to fill. Do you think that's a valid comparison?
Zoe: Fashion likes their shoes sexy… not big! There’s something more relevant and industry specific about our website to fashion professionals than those who work at a more corporate job. I think we have created a marketplace for creative professionals to connect with each other on a website that understands their needs like no one else.
Susan: Could you tell me more about the potential for brands to use MyFDB to build their businesses? Will big brands and small brands be able to use the site in the same ways or are there distinct differences between independent/personal brand use and national/international brand use?
Zoe: The goal was to level the playing field, so of course small and big brands can use MyFDB.com in the same way. All brands can use it to promote and share images that in turn help their business. We track such a wide variety of companies that everyone uses it for different reasons, but they can all use their profiles to increase brand awareness. Currently we are starting to make some international companies more accessible through crediting and even have more foreign magazines in the coming months – we’re pretty excited!
However, we do have a new MyFDB Enterprise service called ViziCloud that launches in October. It allows any company to host, publish and track their images anywhere on the web while keeping control of them. That’s a game changer for all brands; big, small and even those outside of fashion.Also Read