Do you want to be cheugy? What Lainy Humes and NeoChic taught the audience at The Pitch

By Bella Agnello

Entrepreneurs are constantly creating and challenging existing ideas in order to provide the world with solutions to problems they never knew they had. Lainy Humes, a senior Computer Science student at Cedarville University, challenged a room full of students, competitors and entrepreneurs to take a look at fashion in a “new-fashioned” way.

Humes presented her product on February 2 at The Pitch, a mock-Shark Tank event held by the Plaster School of Business every semester. Humes wowed the audience and judges Joe Abraham, Jennifer Bellin, Jesse Lear (‘09) and Scott Moffat with NeoChic – a fashion consulting technology using AI. The software is designed to provide a solution to every fashion-lover’s fear of, as Humes puts it, “being cheugy,” or out-of-style.

Entering The Pitch did not start out as a way to promote NeoChic but rather as a personal challenge to overcome her fear of public speaking.

“It’s really wild to see how God works,” Humes said. “If you were to ask me three months ago if I would have done this I would have said, ‘no,’ and if you would have told me that I would win I would have said, ‘what are you talking about.’”

Humes’s idea came from her deep-rooted passions for fashion and stem. Through the help of her advisor, Dr. Landon, who coached her as she developed the software, and friend Annie Alexander – president of the Cedarville University Entrepreneurship (CUE) – who helped her understand the business side of her product, Humes created NeoChic to be a practical, plausible and personable product that appeals to the masses and businesses.

NeoChic brings AI into the fashion industry, allowing small boutiques to keep up with high fashion trends and compete against corporate clothing companies who have large technological teams with resources to conduct research themselves. Her solution is to provide these small businesses with affordable AI-generated ideas that merge the boutiques’ unique style with trends guaranteed to satisfy the masses.

Judge Joe Abraham, Entrepreneurial DNA and Managing Partner at Beyond Academics says Humes will make a difference for small boutiques competing against large companies.

“She’s bringing them leading end technology without them having to learn how to use the technology,” Abraham said. “She’s just saying, ‘I’ll take care of that for you.’”

NeoChic will have an app and magazine to help customers stay on top of the seasons’ trends, recognize which boutiques partner with the company and see how AI and the high fashion world affect the average person. All this, Humes says, contributes to the fun shopping experience customers desire.

Humes’s product particularly excited judge Jennifer Bellin, CMO of PFL, a company offering automated direct mailing services.

“I was literally searching last night online trying to figure out what’s most in fashion right now, because I’m going to be in front of students and I don’t go to school anymore,” Bellin said. “The whole concept to me was amazing and something that I personally would use all the time and need desperately. And I think so many men and women would need this solution.”

While Humes does not believe that this is a world-changing product, she believes NeoChic is not only a product people desire but also one that will make a positive impact.

“There’s a lot of negative things about [the high fashion world],” Humes said. “I can not only help people in a way that they want to be helped, but also be a force for positive things within that world as I’m building relationships with boutiques and people.”

What NeoChic will look like in the next ten years is uncertain, but Humes’s next steps are to continue developing her software and partner with a few boutiques to test the product, gain feedback and grow NeoChic.

“Right now, the world’s at my fingertips,” Humes said. “I’m a single woman about to graduate – why not build the business now and hustle now.”

Humes reflected on her accomplishments with NeoChic and could only give praise to God.

“Do more things that you don’t think you can and watch God equip you with everything you need, if it’s in His will for you to do that thing” she said. “And then give Him the glory right back up.”

Bella Agnello is a freshman Broadcasting major with a concentration in Journalism. She enjoys thrifting, listening to records, and reading classic Russian literature in her spare time.

Photo courtesy of Cedarville University

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