ShopShops, founded by forward-thinking entrepreneur Liyia Wu, is transforming how digitally native generations get their fashion fix. Combining the camaraderie of social media with the serotonin hit of retail therapy, the immersive platform is a livestream shopping experience that spotlights products and designers (and deals!) while offering entertainment. Think of it like a 24/7 global shop, with streamed events happening on the regular in more than 30 cities. It’s QVC meets TikTok! Haven’t downloaded it yet? What are you waiting for! Wu tells The Daily all…
What’s your elevator pitch for ShopShops?
Imagine shopping your absolute favorite stores and discovering new designers in the palm of your hand! Not just ordering online, but a real shopping experience in a real store in real time with access to locations all over the world. ShopShops gives you all the top designers and vintage markets right at your fingertips. It’s social entertainment, shopping with your chicest BFF, and finding the best deals all rolled into one. It’s as if you could walk through a magic app that transports you to anywhere, anytime with anyone
What do our readers need to know?
Livestream shopping is easy and fun. It’s like going to a favorite store, or visiting the weekend flea market, anywhere in the world without having to take an Uber or plane! We have more than a thousand partners across the U.S., Middle East, Europe, and Asia, including brands like Marni, Jimmy Choo, Max Mara. Chloé, Fendi, and more. We livestream from the best vintage markets around the globe—from New York to Tokyo! Plus, we discover deals and share them with our shoppers.
Tell us about your career in fashion before launching ShopShops.
After graduating from Parsons and the University of British Columbia, I worked in merchandising in New York for a contemporary brand. Afterward, I moved to Beijing, got married, and opened a boutique carrying U.S. designers. A few years later, I started my own contemporary label with boutiques in Beijing. ShopShops is the culmination of my education, career experiences, and lifelong love for shopping and travel.
What led to the initial idea for ShopShops?
In 2016, I had my aha moment. ShopShops was born when I realized I could combine my understanding of technology, love of style, and shopping obsession into creating an entertaining platform that also happens to be uber chic!
What gap in the market did you feel you could fill?
I have been lucky in my life to have traveled a lot since I was young. Shopping has always been one of my favorite things to do when visiting different countries and cities—discovering local trends, meeting store owners, and scoring fashion deals are all terrific ways to spend time in new cities and learn about different cultures. As a student going back and forth from New York to Beijing, one of my favorite things to do was bring local designers and fashion finds back to my friends on both sides of the ocean. They were always so thrilled to receive something from across the world, which they couldn’t buy themselves! Eventually, from those combined experiences, an idea began germinating. I envisioned a technology-driven global experience that could make international shopping a reality for both retailers and shoppers. What’s more, both would benefit, too. I realized this platform needed to be created in a format that mimics an experience so many of us enjoy— shopping in a real store. After a lot of international trips, technology rounds, and coffee, ShopShops was born!
What have the past few years been like since you launched the brand?
It has been a whirlwind! After launching ShopShops, we spent the first years securing designer and retail partners, acclimating consumers to livestream shopping, and perfecting our platform. Before the pandemic, I was traveling constantly—discovering new stores, assembling our stellar global team, and meeting with designers. We’re headquartered in China and the U.S., so I need to navigate both time zones. Plus, we’re constantly staying on top of new trends in streaming and retail technology to improve the app and add new features to engage our customers.
What have been some highlights?
There have been highlights from the beginning—from when we launched to today as we prepare for Art Basel Miami. Working with so many top designers, meeting legends including Diane von Furstenberg and Anna Sui. Also putting together our amazing team and opening the New York office all come to mind! This past year, New York Fashion Week on Fifth Avenue was exciting because it was the first time we were with our shoppers and designers again after COVID. Plus, it was the first livestream Fashion Week activation ever and we introduced our 360-degree Glam Cam. To up the chic factor even more that week, we participated in the star-studded Daily Front Row FMAs!
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How did people react to the Glam Cam?
People just loved it! Women, men, even kids— they all stepped right up and enjoyed their style moments. It’s a wonderful way to strut your stuff with instant gratification in the form of a video.
How did ShopShops serve users and bridge connection during the global pandemic?
The fashion industry experienced a lot of challenges during COVID. What’s exciting is that ShopShops can be a solution for both digital and retail platforms. Livestream shopping is inherently a bridge because it brings together the digital and physical worlds. In fact, during the pandemic, we were able to expand by helping retailers reach their shoppers and by connecting thousands of shoppers with the designers and stores they love.