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Fashion GPS Founder's Fashion-Tech Journey(BoF)

Eddie Mullon | Photo: Kirstin Sinclair   Photo courtesy of Business of Fashion

Eddie Mullon | Photo: Kirstin Sinclair Photo courtesy of Business of Fashion

The article first appeared on the Business of Fashion.

"Eddie Mullon turned a side project into a business that revolutionised fashion PR. Now, he’s giving back to his native Malawi."

NEW YORK, United States — Nowadays, technology and the fashion industry are largely considered two sides of the same coin. But back in 2004, when computer wizard Eddie Mullon was first starting out, they were worlds apart.

Despite being a fashion outsider, Mullon created a software tool that revolutionised how the industry’s immense public relations complex functioned behind the scenes. Built around three core products — sample tracking, events management and connecting brands to media and buyers — Fashion GPS quickly became the bread and butter that kept the New York fashion PR and communications industry ticking.

“Fashion GPS made sample trafficking as easy as sending an email. … It changed the industry, 100 percent,” says brand marketing and communications executive and former DKNY veteran Aliza Licht.

During her DNKY days, Licht and the rest of the PR and communications team worked closely with Mullon to refine the GPS product, serving as his “innovation playground. I was very willing to allow him to use DKNY as an experiment and to benefit from first to market technologies in return,” she says. (Licht ended up sitting on the Launchmetrics board from 2016 to 2018, exiting earlier this year.)

Fashion GPS made sample trafficking as easy as sending an email. It changed the industry, 100 percent.

Today the company Mullon founded — rebranded Launchmetrics following a 2016 merger with French marketing company Augure — works with 85 percent of fashion week shows globally. The company has about 200 employees across 10 offices worldwide, with clients ranging from Gucci and Dior to L’Oréal, Topshop and Adidas. Not bad for a business that started off as a something of a side hustle.

This month the entrepreneur exited the company, relinquishing his president title and his board seat along with it. He will retain a minority holding in the company.

“It’s a clean break,” he explains. The decision to make the jump wasn’t all that hard for the 46-year-old entrepreneur. “I feel really liberated,” he says. “I love the company I’ve built, so it feels sad, but at the same time I feel there’s so much more I can do.”

Mullon compares his relationship with the company to that between a parent and a child. At times it can be scary, especially when faced with situations you have no idea how to tackle. But figuring out how to be a parent is part of the experience. The feeling of watching your child grow up into the kind of person you’d always hoped they’d be is unparalleled.

Yet there comes a time where you are no longer the same parent your child needed when they were small. As Mullon puts it: “You can either try and control everything, or let children grow. They become adults and have their own lives.”

In Mullon’s eyes, Launchmetrics has come of age, making it easier to move on.

Embarking on philanthropic projects has been at the top of Mullon’s bucket list for a while now. His exit from the company has provided him with the capital to do so — and the time. His first undertaking will transport him back to his home country, working with Yamba Malawi, a nonprofit that works to transform the lives of Malawian children.

Alongside charitable work, Mullon plans to help nurture the next generation of entrepreneurial talent through mentorship and investment. A book is on the cards, and he doesn’t rule out founding another start-up.

The 2016 merger was Mullon’s first step to transitioning into a more hands-off role, which would free up his time for other pursuits. His two children, which are now in their mid-teens, were a big factor in the decision.

“I’ve actually missed a lot of their lives,” Mullon says. “I now want to focus on them.”

Read more on the Business of Fashion.

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