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10 questions for a founder : Bespoke

You discover, you save, you share. What should be a series of simple 1-2-3 tasks on your mobile devices can become a real hassle, especially if you are running iOS. Each step requires you to close and open different apps with the risk of losing it all in the process.  Newly launch mobile app Bespoke eliminates all the technological roadblocks, allowing users to focus solely on inspiration and creation. Via a dedicated browser, users can now simply navigate back and forth from curating, sharing and browsing from one location. We spoke with co-founder and CEO Michele Spiezia to learn more. 

– A little about you, what is your background?
Michele Spiezia, Co-founder, ceo of Bespoke and Ellis
Michele Spiezia, Co-founder, CEO of Bespoke and Ellis

I’m a poet turned filmmaker turned startup founder!. In inherent doer, self-starter, and productivity addict. I love lists. I’m the butterfly net that catches Francesco’s ideas & brings them to life, and the gas in the tank that keeps us on the move.

I skipped a grade in middle school, went to college while I was in high school and left home at 17 to put myself through undergrad at NYU.
I was the waitress that met the tomato boy at the farm stand in Union Square and started making big plans– Austin, Palm Beach, then back to New York.  A film company, the wonder boy (my son Ellis), and a few stray cats along the way.
I learned from having to do things on my own that I could do anything I wanted to.  If you ask me, ‘serial entrepreneur’ is an understatement.
A writer at heart, a leader by trade, I took experiences in art, culture, and food into the world of cinematography, making Films by Francesco the best in the industry, editing documentaries for the former CFO of Warner Bros. & Sirio Maccioni of Le Cirque, and shooting the weddings of Nicole Richie, Blake Shelton, LeBron James, and Chelsea Clinton.
Let’s see what I can do with this little thing called Bespoke.
– Why Bespoke? What does it solve?
For creatives, ideas are currency. The very first phase of the creative process—  research, brainstorming & ideation—  though the most critical to innovation, is the most fractured, making for lost ideas & ineffective workflow.  Solutions that do exist are not built for creatives & are either enterprise or consumer focused.
Bespoke brings together content organization, annotation & collaboration into a holistic, visual, well-designed platform— it’s where ideas begin.
Bespoke app screen
Explore, curate, share: Bespoke wants to be the go-to browser for the creative
– It’s a bit like Pinterest. What are the differences?
We get the Pinterest comparison often because we are highly visual, and users organize content into Books which are comparable to Pinterest Pinboards, but the similarity ends there.
Bespoke is a platform built by creatives, for creatives.  Meant for students, freelancers & small businesses, Bespoke gives visual thinkers a way to organize, annotate & collaborate in the language they speak best while also providing the productivity & collaboration tools they need to work through the research & ideation phase of the creative process.
Pinterest is a social & largely consumer application that’s veering more and more in the direction of e-commerce.  We find that creatives are hanging out there because traditional workflow tools (like Evernote, Asana, etc) don’t work for them.  So, we believe we’ve taken the best of both worlds— the visual engagement of Pinterest and the productivity elements of Evernote, and combined them into a holistic, design forward platform.
– Not unlike Pinterest, Bespoke relies on other creators photos to be successful. How do you handle copyright concerns?
Bespoke allows you to organize, annotate & collaborate using content that can be sourced from the web, other discovery applications or your own photo library.  Content can mean images, videos, blog posts or news articles, and you can save an entire URL, crop a portion of a page, or upload from your camera library.
When saving content within our app, it ALWAYS stays linked to its original URL, making sure that users (and creators) are able to source where the content came from, and who created it. As creators ourselves, this is a top priority, and something we’ll continue to improve upon as our product matures.
Bespoke makes it easy to to share and collaborate
Bespoke makes it easy to to share and collaborate
– It’s iPad only. Do you plan versions for android tablets and desktop?
Mobile first is super important to us, so we’ll focus there first, but we’ve already got mockups in the works for our iPhone & desktop version, and eventually Android.  We’re still bootstrapped, but as our user base grows we raise a round of funding, it’s our dream to be cross device and cross-platform!
– Who is your target client?
Our target user is the Creative, with a capital C, across a number of disciplines.  Anyone who is a visual thinker and uses visual content in the research & ideation phase of a new project is our user.  Our focus right now is on college students, freelancers & small creative teams.
– Bespoke is $2.99 for now. isn’t it a hurdle for growth?
Actually, Bespoke is free!! (Our website is getting some updates…) We’ve created a Freemium model where everything Bespoke is today will always remain free.  In time, we’ll launch a Pro version, as well as more curated features that users can pay to access.
– Do you plan to have white label enterprise versions later on?
Yes! We know that while Bespoke is an amazing tool for students, freelancers & small businesses, it can also grow to be more suitable for larger teams & businesses, in which case companies will be able to fully integrate Bespoke into their own workflows as white label versions.
– At what point will you consider Bespoke a success?
I already consider Bespoke a success.  The fact that we built and launched a product that was a figment of our imaginations just three years ago is a huge accomplishment.  That being said, the real work began once the product was live.  Success for us means that we are solving a real problem for the creative economy, that we continue to build community through meaningful work & that we are able to give back in big ways.
– What would you like to see Bespoke offer that technology can not yet offer
We believe technology should liberate creativity, not complicate it.  We believe that ideas are currency and that creative IP is the future of work.
Our big vision is to build a community where creatives have access to experts & peers across all fields— where they can gain valuable feedback on their ideas, collaborate with others & create conversations that lead to new & interesting work.  We want to be the digital version of the 19th-century salon or coffeehouse— the place where ideas begin.  Our platform today is the first of many steps toward blazing that trail.
Bespoke is available for iOS now. Other platforms in the works

 

Photo by Tommaso Manzi Photos

Author: Paul Melcher

Paul Melcher is the founder of Kaptur. He is an entrepreneur, advisor, and consultant with a rich background in visual tech, content licensing, business strategy, and technology with more than 20 years experience in developing world-renowned photo based companies with already two successful exits.

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