Startup Fashion Week Toronto Business of Fashion Spotlight: Tap2Tag
October 19, 2018
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of attending Startup Fashion Week Toronto’s second event, the Business of Fashion Conference. Kicking off the event was a warm welcome from the #SFWtoronto team and the venue sponsor, Aird & Berlis LLP - a Toronto-based law firm with a specialized law practice in helping start-ups and scale-ups grow their businesses. With discussions surrounding business and fashion, I knew I was in for a treat.
The first panel of the night featured four uniquely successful entrepreneurs in the fashion space – Keith Beckles from Tap2Tag, Jilian Naiberg from Jonah Jay, Ben Rogul from Bennett Bespoke, and Selo Karakatsanis from Ageselao. Discussing topics from the origin of the company name to the power of influencer marketing and social media, the conversation perfectly demonstrated the skills and passion necessary to be a Canadian entrepreneur in the fashion industry. Being interested in the intersection between fashion, IP and technology, I was immediately intrigued by the way that Tap2Tag develops and commercializes its products.
Tap2Tag is dedicated to finding new ways of helping people get in touch using the emerging technology of Near Field Communication (NFC). The company has been developing a number of secure web-based applications that will help the public communicate with each other and others that will greatly enhance communication, reducing friction in emergency situations and help save lives. The technology itself is affordable to the general public, and can be integrated with any piece of jewelry you have, making Tap2Tag immersed in the wearable tech space.
From a professional standpoint, Tap2Tag’s most intriguing usage of its NFC tech is through the Connect card – a virtual business card. In terms of privacy, the Connect card uses a unique NFC pairing code to connect the physical card to your profile in the cloud. Unlike other wireless communication devices, Connect NFC does not broadcast your signal – the chip in your Connect Card is read only. The Tap2Tag platform is secure to “SAS 70 level 3” – which, in layman terms, is the same level as your bank.
What I found most intriguing when chatting with Keith was the company's involvement and desire to address counterfeiting. Counterfeit products are a highly growing concern in Canada, and evidently, directly impact the Canadian fashion industry at large. With weak border protection and numerous counterfeit product shipments being brought into Canada, a good portion of responsibility comes down to consumers being able to identify fake products. However, the similarities between a real and fake high fashion product can be striking, and quite frankly, difficult for the average consumer to distinguish. Tap2Tag is currently developing an anti-counterfeit technology that allows consumers to tap the label of a product with their cellular or related device to determine the authenticity of the product. Controlling the supply side of counterfeit products can be difficult. Influencing consumer demand and purchasing tactics, however, can produce significant change in the Canadian fashion and counterfeit market.
Tap2Tag is a clear demonstration that the intersection between fashion and technology is much more than just your Fitbit. What started off as an industry in wearable technology has expanded to serve the needs of consumers in multiple different ways, including safety, professionalism and purchasing choices.