For Robert Hormann, an image is worth a thousand reviews. His new startup Check Your Image (CYI) aims to help individuals improve on one of the most crucial part of a first impression: their looks. Unlike popular but often times crude sites like Hot or Not, CYI concentrates on providing individuals with constructive criticism. Learn how this idea is spreading like wildfire and how maybe you could bring this original concept to a town near you.
Allentrepreneur: Great to have you at Allentrepreneur Robert! You and your partner Rolf Janka have created a fascinating service. Did you have any previous experience in entrepreneurship? What gave you the confidence to start CYI?
Robert: Rolf Janka has worked many years in the international marketing of a worldwide insurance. I have been working for 22 years as Entrepreneur in conventional market research. We did market research and a lot of telephone interviews in October 2007 and one important message was: From 420 people, 220 people (52%) said the idea was good to very good. The next step was to determine if it is possible to give people an assessment using their pictures and we found a lot of academic studies. They told us that it is really possible to assess people using pictures; the exact term of this method is “Visual Stereotyping”. So one year ago we decided to offer private market research for individuals, as everybody is its own brand.
Allentrepreneur: What has been the most difficult obstacle you’ve come across so far and how did you overcome it?
Robert: The challenge was to build the whole group of Imagetesters. Fortunately I have a lot of people which work in my own market research company and I also have a lot of experience in recruiting to find varied target groups. Currently we have more than 7000 Imagetesters in Germany.
Allentrepreneur: Did you fund CYI from your own pockets? If not, why did you choose to finance CYI the way you did?
Robert: Yes, we did. Now, as this idea is receiving so much international interest, we are thinking about co-operations with Entrepreneurs or Investors to introduce CYI in other Countries.
Allentrepreneur: On CYI, customers upload image of themselves and have impartial strangers evaluate their appearance and post suggestions. So far, what has been the level of reaction to this service? Can you share a quick story about how it has helped improve a customer’s appearance?
Robert: The reactions are really extraordinarily good. People learn things about themselves and the image they leave to others with their pictures in communities. Some change their appearances, some get help by professional image advisors. But its also designers, who want to have some appreciations upon their drafts, or enterprises, checking the image of their employees on their homepage, or just the shy boy that learns that he’s not bad looking but, sympathetic and nice to girls.
Allentrepreneur: CYI is currently German-based only. Seems to me that the concept could quickly catch on in other parts of the world. Why did you decide to keep it within your borders?
Robert: We won’t keep it in Germany only. Sincerely we were run over and really surprised about the amazing interest we received nearly worldwide, just a few days after going online.
In fact, just 3 weeks later a Japanese Entrepreneur visited us. He’s now licensee, and CYI will start in Japan in about 5 weeks! Additionally CYI will start in Spain in April and in Argentine in June. Currently we are negotiating with interested people from other countries too. CYI is already translated into English, but we did not yet find the right partner for the USA or Canada. So, if there’s somebody interested out there, just contact us.
Allentrepreneur: A person’s look, and the importance he attaches to it, has often been the source of either great pleasure or discomfort. Based on your experience, do looks play a very decisive factor in attaining goals?
Robert: Definitely. Think of all the communities where people present themselves to the rest of the world. With the pictures they upload they leave a certain impression. And: “The first impression doesn’t get a second chance” Test yourself: “Which pictures do you click on, when you’re surfing the site of a partnership agency or other communities?
Allentrepreneur: I have an idea that I think could adequately complement CYI: Check Your Personality. Customers upload short videos of themselves in which they speak about their goals, tastes, opinions, etc. and let impartial strangers review them. What do you think?
Robert: Who told you? That will be one of our next steps! We are constantly developing new products to increase the possibilities people have with CheckYourImage. Our next product will be the “DeepCheck” in which people can compare:
- assessment given by impartial strangers
- own Self-assessment
- the assessment they think strangers could have upon them
- assessment of their friends
Each of those 4 different opinions will be shown in the evaluation people get.
Allentrepreneur: Vielen Dank!
Robert: Your are welcome!