How We Built A $12.5K/Month Business Helping Clothing Brands Innovate Their Digital Spaces With 3D Models

Published: May 23rd, 2023
Artem Semjanow
Founder, Seamm
from Middletown, Delaware, USA
started December 2021
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Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi! My name is Marina Martianova, and I’m the founder and CEO of Seamm, a U.S.-based startup that is the first to create digital twins of real-world fashion collections for virtual worlds.

The platform bridges the gap between real-world fashion and virtual worlds, empowering users to fully express their identity in every reality. It serves as a premier partner and gateway for brands seeking to be virtually represented.

Key features include the ability to add physical apparel to a user's digital wardrobe, easy transfer of outfits to a variety of video games and metaverses, and a marketplace with purchase and trade functionality.

One of the key features of Seamm is the use of phygital QR codes for real-world purchases. These codes allow customers to obtain digital copies of their physical items as well as verify that they have not bought a fake.

With Seamm, brands can track consumer preferences and shopping habits no matter where the purchase is made, allowing for a more personalized approach and improved performance.

Since launching in early December, we have already onboarded six brands: Outsiders Division, Alexandra Moura, CLEAR TO RAIN, Cunnington & Sanderson, Martina Spetlova, and NO.NA.MÉ.


What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I founded a food-tech startup Candice at the age of 21 and grew it to an annual revenue of over $1 million with just $2,500 in initial investments. I expanded the company to operate in 80 cities and served more than 14,000 distribution locations, including clients such as Starbucks, Metro Cash & Carry, and small coffee shops in NYC like Lion's Milk in Williamsburg.

Ever since I was a child, I have dreamed of becoming a fashion designer. As a young girl, I would create clothes for my Barbies to express my creativity and passion for fashion. My love for both the fashion and gaming industries was sparked at a young age through playing video games with my older brother.

After I exited my first startup, I began exploring ways to combine my two passions into a successful business and eventually met an investor who believed in my vision and was willing to support me.

The fashion industry is rapidly entering the digital economy, with its value growing from $11.5 trillion in 2016 to $32.6 trillion in 2020. However, many brands struggle to adapt to the digital world and don't know how to represent themselves online effectively. Brands were quick to respond positively to our ideas as they were unsure of how to effectively present themselves in the digital space.

Take us through the process of building the first version of your product.

Our goal at Seamm was to merge the gaming and fashion industries and create a product that would be accessible to everyone. This process required a lot of collaboration and discussion as we carefully considered every aspect of the product, including the design of the app and brand identity.

To foster a sense of teamwork and camaraderie among our employees, we often played video games together in the office using a PlayStation console. This helped to bring the team together and allowed us to bond after a long day of work.

To get our product off the ground, we developed an MVP in just one month and began negotiations with brands. Initially, our platform only offered the ability to obtain digital models of fashion items but no marketplace functionality.

To test the demand for our product, we created a small fashion collection and acquired our first users. Users can try AR fitting, use the in-app marketplace to buy items of their choice and then export their belongings into various virtual worlds and video games.

They can also keep the most exceptional and rare items as personal collectibles, transform them into NFTs and resell them further.

As with any startup, the most important factor is having the right team, so a significant portion of our expenses went toward employee salaries, totaling around $600,000. We believe that investing in our team is crucial to the success of our company.

Hire team members who are comfortable with taking calculated risks and are willing to move quickly to stay ahead of the competition.


Describe the process of launching the business.

We launched as a part of The Lydian Group a conglomerate that supports startups along their journey from idea curation to development, launch, and potential exit, and raised $1.7M. Lydian has many startups under its roof, and Seamm is one of them.

Upon launching Seamm, we immediately began onboarding brands and quickly identified the challenges they faced in entering the digital fashion market. Many brands were uncertain of how to effectively make the transition and were wary of jumping into new technologies like NFTs without fully understanding them.

Through partnerships and discussions with brands, we learned about their interests and fears. We realized that many were hesitant to be the first to adopt new technologies but were interested in rejuvenating their businesses.

We recognized that it was important to offer a range of options to brands rather than pushing them towards a single solution like NFTs, which may not be fully understood or embraced by everyone.

Instead, we have focused on providing a platform that offers a variety of features and tools, including the ability to add physical items to a digital wardrobe and a marketplace with purchase and trade functionality, which grows the brand’s revenue but is less harmful to the environment, thus contributing to tackling climate change.

We have also made it a priority to offer real, tangible results instead of just hype and have emphasized the importance of gradually introducing new technologies rather than overwhelming brands with too many options at once. Moreover, there are discounts and other perks given with digital twins that boost sales & engagement.

Recently, we made a first-of-its-kind collaboration in the industry with British fashion designer Martina Spetlova, an artist in residence at Lee Alexander McQueen's Sarabande Foundation.

With the use of our phygital QR code located on the tag of designer jackets available at Selfridges & Co. in London, customers can get a digital twin that is wearable in video games and metaverses plus the opportunity to fully express their identity in every reality.

Ultimately, our goal is to provide a comprehensive platform that caters to the needs of brands, empowering them to succeed in the digital fashion space and enabling users to fully express themselves in virtual worlds.


Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

At Seamm, our strategy is to attract users through partnerships with brands. This allows us to reach individuals with a clear interest in products, and we have focused on building a B2B model to cater to these interests. To date, we have been negotiating with over 60 brands to bring them onto our platform.

We have a deliberate selection process. Our company is dedicated to working with brands that not only provide unique designs but also share our values and approach to sustainability. To reach out to potential designers, we write cold emails and provide an intro.

To test and refine our ideas and positioning, we have conducted various experiments and gathered feedback from users. For example, we initially tried to reach our target audience through social media channels like Instagram and Discord but found that these platforms were not effective at reaching our desired demographic.

We realized that a huge segment of our target audience is most active on Instagram and Twitter, so we are shifting our social media strategy to focus on those platforms instead.

Another approach we have taken is to create a backend site of non-existent products, and we use it to test hypotheses and gather data on user behavior and preferences. This allows us to gather valuable insights that can inform our product development and marketing strategies.

It is important to have multiple plans in place and not to focus solely on one, as unexpected challenges can arise

By continuously testing and refining our ideas and positioning, we can better understand the needs and preferences of our target audience and ensure that our products and marketing efforts are aligned with their expectations.




How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We recognize that more and more people are moving towards digital worlds, which allows them to experiment with new experiences and technologies. The gaming industry is also growing, with an increasing number of players around the world.

Our goal is to have 10,000 activations of our QR codes by May, which means a scan of the QR code on the real item. To achieve this, we are continuously negotiating with brands and game companies. We’re also working on new features related to NFTs. Our focus right now is on marketing, development, and creating an extensive library of 3D fashion models.

We believe that by continuing to innovate and offer a range of options, we can help brands successfully navigate the digital fashion market and connect with their customers in new ways.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

While working on my first startup, I encountered an issue where I signed a contract with a large chain of stores for one city, but the contract also included stores in another city. I was excited about the opportunity and invested time and resources into the deal, including purchasing equipment.

However, later I was informed that the agreement only covered the stores in a single city and that I would need to negotiate separately with the stores in another city.

When I began these negotiations, I was initially refused by the representatives of the network three times. Despite this, we were eventually able to reach an agreement, but the process took a significant amount of time.

This experience emphasized the importance of carefully reviewing and understanding the terms of any contracts you sign, and double-checking the volumes to ensure that you have a clear understanding of exactly what is included in the deal.

The founding of Seamm came about through a fortuitous meeting with an investor, which allowed us to identify a trend in the market and begin developing our platform. In the beginning, we focused on building a platform for a specific brand, but unfortunately, that brand never ended up signing on. As a result, our launch was delayed.

We learned that it is important to have multiple plans in place and not to focus solely on one, as unexpected challenges can arise. One example of this was when we were preparing to launch our product on the Apple Store; guidelines by Apple were changed at the last minute, requiring us to quickly adapt and modify our code.

To stay ahead of the competition, we constantly monitor new partner programs and partnerships formed by other brands, learning from their successes and mistakes. When a popular brand launches a digital collection, it often inspires other companies to follow suit, which can work to our advantage.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

My favorite tools for collaboration and communication are Slack, Figma, Confluence, Jira, and Miro.

Since we’re a remote team, I find Slack to be particularly useful for staying connected and communicating with my colleagues in real-time.

I also appreciate the versatility of Figma, which allows me to design and prototype projects in the cloud. It's particularly helpful for teams because it allows multiple people to collaborate and make edits in real time.

Confluence is another tool that I find helpful for organizing and managing projects. It's especially useful for working with documents because it allows teams to create, edit, and review files in one central location. This can save time and reduce confusion when working on projects because all of the necessary information is easily accessible in one place.

Jira is a valuable tool for tracking and managing projects, particularly when it comes to identifying and resolving issues that may arise.

Finally, Miro is ideal for visually brainstorming and collaborating on ideas. It's a great way to quickly and easily map and plan projects.

These tools have been instrumental in helping me, and my team stay organized, communicate effectively, and collaborate on projects, regardless of where we are located.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The most influential resources will depend on your specific industry and need as an entrepreneur. By staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in your field and seeking out resources that align with your goals and values, you can find the

inspiration and guidance you need to succeed.

Some of the most influential resources for me include industry-specific publications like Business of Fashion and Vogue. These publications not only provide me with valuable insights into the latest trends and developments in the fashion and retail industries, but they also inspire me with new ideas and approaches.

Additionally, I have found reports from companies like Newzoo, which specialize in tracking trends and developments in the gaming industry, to be incredibly helpful for staying up-to-date on the latest trends and identifying opportunities for growth and innovation.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

One common mistake that many companies make is developing a product without a clear understanding of who will use it and what their needs and preferences are. This can lead to products that do not effectively address the needs of the target audience and may not be successful in the market.

Do your research and this will help you understand the needs of your target audience and identify growth opportunities.

Another mistake that companies often make is becoming too focused on small details and losing sight of the bigger picture. For example, we spent too much time arguing over the placement of a single button rather than testing and refining the overall product or platform. This can hinder progress and prevent a company from effectively iterating and improving its product.

Another common mistake is hiring corporate employees who are accustomed to slower, more risk-averse processes. While this may be appropriate for established companies with a track record of success, it can be detrimental for startups that need to be agile and willing to take risks to succeed.

Startups need to hire team members who are comfortable with taking calculated risks and are willing to move quickly to stay ahead of the competition.

The non-obvious way to gauge if you are heading in the right direction is by paying attention to the hiring practices of large companies. We have noticed that many brands are forming internal teams and creating new positions dedicated to digital initiatives, which can be a sign of industry trends and opportunities for growth.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

At Seamm, we are committed to building a strong, dynamic team to help us achieve our goals and drive our business forward. To that end, we are always on the lookout for talented individuals to join our team, regardless of whether we have a specific open position or not.

We are always looking for skilled developers and business development managers with a background in the gaming industry, and we'll soon need a commercial director. Additionally, we are always expanding our 3D team.

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Where can we go to learn more?

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