Why and when did you start the Porto App?
I came up with the concept two years ago, but we only started building it in 2020. We've always believed retail is not just moving 'online' but more to an 'on-demand' way of life. Habits are changing and people are now more than ever willing to pay for the convenience of having something brought to you now, rather than spending an hour going to a shop and queuing in your lunch break, or waiting for next-day delivery.
What is the idea behind it?
Porto is the UK's first app for women's premium beauty & cosmetics brands, delivered in 30-40 minutes to your door. The app is driven by video reviews - we have a large community of experts (dermatologists, trichologists, MUAs, and beauty professionals) creating informative video reviews on every product we sell.
We couldn't find a single other platform that helps users understand what product is suited to you and why. For example, why is retinol, resveratrol, or salicylic acid good (or perhaps not good) for your skin type, how should it be used, and how do products from different brands vary? We find that most people shop online but have to turn to Google or Youtube to find the answer. We aim to do all that in the app using our own video reviews. And, of course, the 30-40 minute delivery is a USP.
What have your biggest challenges been?
Data. Every product has copious amounts of data associated to it. We are a tech company at heart and we had to build out every product spec, including finding innovative ways to algorithmically tag products. For example if a customer searches for "red lipstick" our app needs to potentially match "Berry" colours to the search results as well as all other shades of Red. Data for cosmetics can be incredibly complex.
Why did you choose Irene Forte Skincare?
As well as being half-Italian myself and loving the brand, our own Video Review Experts actually requested we had Irene Forte onboard! My grandmother lived a fantastic life until 102 years old and I truly believe it's down to living the Italian rural lifestyle, growing all her own organic food, and living and breathing that Mediterranean ethos. That's what we see in all Irene Forte products; it's what the brand represents.
How do you go about choosing your skincare brands?
We've partnered with some fantastic brands already; many of them have a story to tell. We're looking for brands that are premium or specialist, that have an incredible story behind their ethos, vision and products, and that also believe that their range can change the world of beauty. Through our video features, we tell stories behind our brands and their quality products.
What have you got in store for 2021?
After launching at the end of 2020, I'd say our hopes are to continue to grow our community throughout 2021 and become known as a "place to go" for instant delivery, and incredible advice for all-things Beauty & Cosmetics.
What does the future of skincare look like?
It's constantly evolving; there are many challenger Indie brands on the rise and I think sometimes it's hard to single out products, brands and ranges that fit a) you and your skin type and b) your existing routine or regime. That's why we're trying to help people connect to brands, and better understand their products and ingredients (and purpose).
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I'd actually love to give this advice to all "younger selves": we all worry about skin, signs of ageing, hair loss and other problem areas as we grow older, however one of the most essential cures to all of this is sleep. Personally, I've always had trouble turning off my mind (it's rather overactive). Diet, skincare, haircare etc are all important routines, but sleep is an essential ingredient to a balanced life.