Cynthia Holcomb

Founder | CEO, Prefeye - Preference Science Technologies Inc.
Cynthia Holcomb, CEO and Founder of Prefeye, is pioneering the Art and Science of Preference. Her mission: humanize the digital experience, crossing the current emotional and sensory engagement barriers imposed by the digital world.

Prefeye technologies are inspired by Cynthia’s 20+ years in the apparel and fashion industry, designing and building products for dozens of retailers and brands, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Lord and Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom Product Group, Pendleton, QVC, Speedo and the home products industry.

As Design Director to Nordstrom, Cynthia spent years watching shoppers make the decision to purchase or NOT to purchase. Curious, this led to 15 years of research and technological development based on the cognitive sciences of psychology, artificial intelligence and neuroscience. Cynthia’s focus: develop an agnostic, digital platform to decode how information is represented, processed, and transformed by human sensory perception, memory and emotion into the decision to purchase a product or brand by an individual shopper.

Prefeye, Cynthia’s 5th startup, is a preference recommendation platform, individually preference-matching people to products. Prefeye is the digital equivalent of in-store shopping for products humans purchase based on emotion and individual sensory preference. Products like apparel, cars, homes, home furnishings, shoes and art.

Cynthia’s work has appeared in Time Magazine, CNN, WWD and Apparel Technology. Cynthia holds a B.S. in Clothing and Textile Science. Nine patents filed in Preference shopping science.

To learn more, visit:
  • Posted on: 04/19/2018

    What makes a great loyalty marketing professional?

    Loyalty is a conundrum, a comprehensive riddle understood only by understanding the underlying psychology of the intended advocates and loyalists. Not all customers will become loyalists. But for those who do, those leading the charge are of a new breed of professional, now required in the digital world, who understand the psychology and dynamics of the human decision to purchase [loyalty to purchase]. As with all things digital, new skills are required to humanize the digital world.
  • Posted on: 04/18/2018

    Honoring women

    Kate Manne says it all, the VERY best “logic” I have heard on the subject. Having experienced misogyny myself in a number of ways over the years, now it just seems a fact of doing business. Most women have found ways and methods to persevere over misogyny or face being perceived by male peers as a _____. (Do I even need to spell this one out?) Speaking for myself and the conversations I have had with women I have worked with over time, we have learned to adapt and live with misogyny while pushing forward. The alternative? Stop inventing, thinking and creating. The tragic reality of misogyny: the value women can bring to business is lost. For some industries like tech, this reality is more than a loss; it is detrimental to the evolution of technology itself and its usefulness in human lives. The question of why are there so few women in tech answers itself. Misogyny is so pervasive it is the norm. Most of us might agree women think differently than men. In a world of tech and digital living run mostly by male leaders, I am not hopeful for women, who comprise 50% of the world population, whose brains see the more human side of the human experience, will ever be allowed to cross the misogyny chasm.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Has Google found a formula for undercutting Amazon’s product search advantage?

    So much PR, so little reality, and customer value. Bright shiny objects to distract. Good insights Ken! Thanks.
  • Posted on: 04/17/2018

    Does Walmart need to keep around?

    Excellent points Bob. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Try shopping -- it is a navigation mess! Try searching -- 100s of results to sort through. I visited in NJ last year, anecdotally speaking, the focus was Walmart.
  • Posted on: 04/16/2018

    Can food halls become retail’s new anchors?

    The tipping point for food halls? Let's drive to the mall to eat! Food halls filled with Indie vendors sounds great. The reality: economically sustaining erratic and variable customer demand while keeping food quality and ambiance worth driving to the mall for a meal.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    Yes, this is fun ... indeed we are having fun ... Ok, I was referring to products that are purchased based on human emotion and individual sensory and aesthetic preferences like clothes, home furnishings, cars, homes, art, etc. Especially clothes, totally a 3 D sensory experience of fit, look and feel. Very difficult to sort through 100s of apparel products and know what will match your fit, look and feel preferences. Sure discovery is fun. This conversation is in regard to upping online conversion, reducing the warehouse in and out of returns and generally making a customer happy! OK, off the soapbox!
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    You are so right. Thanks for the humor! How long did it take Columbus to stumble upon America? A long time. Hence, low conversion on a mobile device, not to mention returns. Just like Amerigo discovered what already existed {America} possibly retailers will discover what already exists to solve the pain of mobile shopping -- preference-based personalization.
  • Posted on: 04/12/2018

    Is product discovery now the biggest pain point for mobile buys?

    The problem is a "discovery" mentality. Discovery = search, like Columbus looking for America. Fortunately, Columbus had sensory cues to help him find America. This situation is not funny, could have been solved years ago but those in the role of selecting new technologies or funding new technologies don't get it! Shoppers don't want to spend hours in discovery especially on a mobile device. The solution? Preference-match people to products through the filter of individual human preference of fit, look and feel.
  • Posted on: 04/11/2018

    Walmart slows push to add third-party sellers to its online marketplace

    Sounds like the e-commerce reset button has been pushed at Walmart. Chasing third-party sellers? Is that really a Walmart brand for the future? Amazon is filled with redundant offerings of the very same product. Is this the game Walmart wants to play? It seems the folly of chasing third-party vendors struck a chord within Walmart. Walmart the brand has made tremendous progress resetting their brand nationally with consumers. Walmart is at the beginning of a huge opportunity, redefining its brand; the Walmart brand. With 5,000-plus stores, cash and a new mindset, Walmart could craft version 2.0 of a vast curated marketplace surpassing the Amazon "flea market." To do so, Walmart will need to focus on the creation of their brand point-of-view in all products, merchandising and in-store customer experiences.
  • Posted on: 04/10/2018

    Can Nordstrom’s full-line men’s store make it in Manhattan?

    Watch out Manhattan, Nordstrom is finally here. As described, the new men's store appears to be a sleek mix between Kennedy's Camelot and an Uptown Urban mix. Given Nordstrom's welcoming staff and desire to please customers, it seems like it's all hands on deck for a great performance. Bravo!
  • Posted on: 04/09/2018

    Where will the ‘new generation of female explorers’ take The North Face’s business?

    What is revealing about the The North Face's Move Mountains campaign is why they felt compelled to create such a campaign after years of being in business. And why is there even the conventional versus unconventional woman role conversation? Maybe The North Face is banking on women younger than 18 who have not yet realized or experienced the unspoken gender inequality in the world. Just saying....
  • Posted on: 04/06/2018

    Will micro-designers disrupt fast-fashion giants?

    Isn't every new designer a micro-designer? Having started two apparel companies myself, I had to move from contract seamstresses/tailors to building out my own factory to control fit and quality. A 500 piece cutting ticket is a big deal, even to a large retailer doing their own private label brand. I applaud the apparel Maker renaissance, thriving in many cities including my own Portland, Oregon. At the end of the day, even for the Maker movement, economics of scale keep a Maker in business. PR does not pay for piece goods and seamstresses/tailors, let alone all the other costs involved in building cool and great products.
  • Posted on: 03/30/2018

    Can gamification solve fashion’s mix and match challenges?

    Trendage sounds like a fun shopping game to explore new outfits or new ways of putting current trends/items together in different outfits, possibly providing merchants and design teams ideas for how to merchandise current inventory in new ways. Like Pinterest, a one-dimensional viewpoint enabling aspiration and inspiration playing with product visuals. Unfortunately, we humans wear clothes on our bodies, a 3-D experience. Almost all apparel returns are due to individual preference issues of fit, look and feel factors. Avatars, core body types, etc. are one-dimensional, linear visuals unable to calculate completely subjective, individual sensory preferences. Trendage sounds fun, but misses the boat in the promised windfall of style and preference data to enable a retailer to make a sensory-preference based product recommendation to an individual shopper.
  • Posted on: 03/29/2018

    Do men and women still shop differently?

    Too many product variations and choices deter men from shopping online. And yes, women love many product choices, but at the end of the day, both men and women are either overwhelmed or do not have the time and energy needed to invest in the search process of online shopping. The evidence, very high return rates. Women buy 4 dresses to possibly find one dress they like, while men -- not interested in the time-consuming search and disappointing prospect of the return process -- prefer to run into a store and get their immediate needs met. With all the shopping technologies developed to date, none take into account sensory-preference matching individual people to individual products.
  • Posted on: 03/27/2018

    Will a new designer collaboration be a smash hit for Target?

    Watch out everyone, Target is on a roll, creating a new generation of Targetistas! Reinventing itself after a decade or so off the fast track of creating fashion, style, and inspiration for the whole family.

Contact Cynthia

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