Job Envy: Cally Russell, fashion app CEO

ANYONE with a love for clothes will recognize a screen with over thirty tabs open as you desperately maneuver between items, bookmarking half of them for your next student loan payment. Mallzee is an app that claims to solve this problem – with a Tinder-like swipe system, and a huge selection of brands, the app allows you to save items in one place. No tabs, no bookmarks, just Mallzee.

Mallzee as a business is perhaps just as interesting as the app. It’s a start-up company based in Edinburgh with a vibrant team of young creatives, all of whom evoke some serious job envy. With the creative and technology industries being among the most competitive for graduate positions. Therefore, we jumped at the chance to speak with Mallzee CEO Cally Russell.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

First off, I love your app! What inspired you to come up with Mallzee?

CR: The inspiration for Mallzee comes from a realization that shopping hasn’t actually changed a huge amount in the last 5 years but the way that we access and interact with the internet has changed hugely. For most people their mobile is where they access the internet and the device they spend the most time on but shopping on your mobile is still really difficult –  unless you know exactly what you want. With Mallzee we wanted to create a product that made it easy to find great clothes on your mobile from lots of retailers and that made it fun to shop again!  

Can you tell me a little more about Mallzee as a company?

Mallzee started around 18 months ago and we’re based in Edinburgh. Currently we have 8 full time employees and 3 part timers – we’ve grown pretty quickly thanks to the awesome work everyone has done. We’re currently recruiting for 2 more developers to join us as well. Our offices are based right in the city centre and as we’re a young team they’re full of bean bags, NERF guns and bags of Haribo. Over the next year we’re going to be pushing to get Mallzee on a lot more phones and are also aiming to launch outside the UK in a couple of countries.

Fashion and technology are both fast-moving, competitive industries. What advice would you give to students hoping to break into either one?

Get out there and meet people! In industries like this it’s vital to get known in the community and to make contacts with people that can help you. We do a lot of talks to students in both industries and are always happy to try and help. Find the meet ups and go along to them. Put yourself out there and you will get noticed.

Creative industries usually require a stint of interning for students and graduates, which is something you also offer at Mallzee. What makes a great intern?

Passion, hard work and a desire to learn. A lot of our interns have either ended up staying with us or working for other businesses that we know. Our internship program is a lot about what they can learn and how we can help them get into the industry.

It’s been said Mallzee is “like Tinder for shopping”–Tinder being another app that is unexpectedly changing the way young people live. Do you think apps really are the future?

100%.  For most young people these days their phones are how they access the internet. We very rarely login into a computer with the express purpose of just browsing, it’s now normally only if we want to do something specifically. At Mallzee we think that within 5 years you’ll do most of your shopping through your phone. I think the new version of Mallzee our unique personal approach to shopping and price drop notifications is a great starting place for this change.

Mallzee also has a fashion blog! How important would you say this extra tool is in marketing the brand?

The blog allows us to communicate what we’re all about and lets people get a sneak peek into the company. With the new version of the app we’ve actually taken the blog into the app for the first time as well to provide interactive inspiration as you shop – we’re really excited about that.