Jenny Griffiths, 27, founder of Snap Fashion, has received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list. Griffiths featured in Computer Weekly’s Top 25 Most Influential Women in UK IT 2013.
Snap Fashion is an application designed for users looking for items across UK retailers. The app allows the user to take a picture, on their phone, of an item of clothing they like before scanning more than 110 UK retailers online to find similar items.
She came up with the idea for Snap Fashion while studying at the University of Bristol as an undergraduate. In 2009, she won the university’s New Enterprise Competition and received £15,000 to help her develop the idea.
In 2012, Snap Fashion beat 300 UK companies to win first place in Cisco’s BIG Awards. Snap fashion was crowned winner during an awards ceremony which also saw companies Digital Shadows and Six3 come second and third.
The Cisco BIG Awards are designed to find the best emerging technology startup the UK has to offer.
As the winner of the BIG Awards, Snap Fashion was presented with a cheque for $100,000, in addition to winning a prize package which includes $30,000 of marketing support, $30,000 of public relations and $15,000 in legal support.
Speaking to Computer Weekly a year after winning the prize, Griffiths said she had decided to enter the BIG Awards to change the way in which we search the internet, by using images instead of words.
Griffiths said she found her mentoring sessions with Cisco very helpful in planning ahead with Snap Fashion and that the PR support was the best part of winning the prize.
Griffiths has since also won the Decoded Fashion startup pitch.
Speaking on being awarded her MBE, Griffiths said: “I was so surprised when I heard about the MBE. I still don’t know who nominated me. It’s just amazing because I’m obviously quite young and just think that what I’m doing is normal.
“I’d always had the idea for Snap Fashion and worked on it as part of my thesis. The degree was fantastic because it gave a really well-balanced view of computer science in the first two years and then we could specialise, so I focused on the creative side.”
Discussing Snap Fashion she added: “Visual search is a sector of computer science which teaches a computer how to see. It comes naturally to humans, but to computers it’s just a bunch of pixels, so we’ve managed to program a computer to see colours, shapes and even textures.
“It’s amazing how quickly it’s grown in popularity. We now have 250 retailers on board – both high street and high-end fashion retailers – and there are a quarter of a million ‘snaps’ using the app every month.”
Read more about women in IT
- UK Commission for Employment Skills survey finds proportion of women in digital has been on the decline since 2002.
- Society of Information Technology Management on the hunt for partners to help launch women in IT network.
- Dame Stephanie Shirley and other inspirational females share advice on being a woman in tech at We Are The City event.