By Romsanne R. Ortiguero, Special Features Writer
It all started two years ago when Abbie Victorino, now 28 years old, was eating lunch prepared by a lunch delivery service she was subscribed to back then.
Having a day job and running a side business of supplying accessories to an e-commerce site made her so busy that she hardly found time to eat proper lunch or choose what to wear every morning.
She thought to herself, “Buti pa ’yung isa kong problem, it’s solved already. But why isn’t there a delivery plan for clothes? So, I said, what if I’m the one who would do it?”
As a former international fashion buyer and model with a background in the field of e-commerce, she tried to capitalize on these musings. This is how StyleGenie, a styling subscription box was founded, in 2016.
“I talked to my friends and said, ‘I have this idea, it’s crazy, but do you think people would subscribe to styling box?’ It’s actually doing a lot better in the US, and I think in Singapore now, so, why not do it here in the Philippines?” Ms. Victorino told BusinessWorld in an interview.
StyleGenie is considered the first styling and clothing subscription box in the Philippines. According to Ms. Victorino, they aim to provide a unique shopping experience for the customers, and at the same time, be the genie that makes fashion wishes come true.
“We want to make closet wishes come true. We don’t want to be just a shop. We want to be someone who can help you develop and improve your style that’s why we called it a genie. Let us know what you want to achieve and we’ll grant your wish. We are a digital stylist. The value really is you get to know your personal style and personal branding which is also a very ‘in’ thing now.”
Ms. Victorino noted that they have grown exponentially since launching their enterprise. They now have around 2,500 active subscribers and, at the time of this writing, 23,000 organic Facebook followers.
“I guess the next step for us to scale up is to really market it. So we’re actually raising funds because we want to market it to the whole Philippines. We plan to expand to Southeast Asian countries,” she said.
She continued, “We plan to expand as well to Malaysia soon, before the year ends and then from there, go to other countries next.”
StyleGenie would not have been possible if not for the right partners Ms. Victorino found — 29-year-old Steph Oller and 28-year-old Rhijean Sarenas, who share Ms. Victorino’s vision for StyleGenie.
“To be honest I tapped like 10 girl friends of mine, and they were the few who really believed in me in the beginning. Their eyes sparkled when I was pitching my basic five-slide presentation. They got the idea and they’re like, ‘This is going to work’,” Ms. Victorino said.
“It’s very important that you have the same vision — that you see where the company is going, what kind of purpose, or what kind of problem you are really solving. We believe that clothes may not change the world but the people who wear them can. That’s our belief. And we’re very happy and that’s what keeps us together. It’s also because we see the results — we see customers e-mailing us back and saying how we granted their wishes and how we made them confident about how we made them feel more adventurous in style but still feel good about it.”
For those who want to start a business in the e-commerce space, Ms. Victorino underscored that now is the best time.
“There’s never a right time to start a business. It’s now especially in e-commerce. We’re in a very good time since everything will be digital in the near future. When you are already in the offline space, then it’s a good time for you to be online, and if you have nothing at all, then it’s a great time for you to go online. Online is less costly, it’s less of a risk — although there still is — but having an online business gives you a lot more flexibility.”