Being dressed by a celebrity stylist seems like just a wish for most of us, with our lack of funds for luxury brands and our lack of collections. But what if someone could make that wish a reality and with more affordable clothing?
Enter Stylegenie, the brainchild of young entrepreneur and former model Abbie Victorino. Speaking with SparkUp, straight after her yoga class, about one of her two online fashion businesses (she also has a retail business that imports clothes and accessories from different brands while keeping her dayjob as a digital commerce specialist for Voyager Innovations), Ms. Victorino proved that fashionable celebrity‑level ensembles are as approachable as her cheerful personality.
“I was subscribed to a food delivery service when I thought ‘Why isn’t there a similar service for fashion’,” Ms. Victorino told SparkUp at St. Marc’s Cafe, Megamall that holiday Monday afternoon of June 26. “The food delivery subscription solved the problem of where I’ll get my meals for the day. But with everyone living busy lives, why hasn’t there been a similar service for people who are having trouble deciding what to wear?”
“I decided to find the solution to the problem. So I came up with the idea of Stylegenie.” To get started, she approached her friends who supported the idea. Stylegenie was registered and incorporated after two months, and in another two months they had a launching in August 2016.
Stylegenie, the first styling and clothing subscription box in the Philipppines, connects its subscribers to celebrity stylists, among them friends that Ms. Victorino made when she was a model. (“I was modeling since I was seventeen. That was almost 10 years ago,” she said with a laugh, though she isn’t opposed to modeling again.) Subscribers would answer a quick Style Profile quiz in the Stylegenie website, which asks for information such as style preferences, favorite colors, clothes sizes, and body parts that you want to hide or accentuate.
“Aren’t we always fond of taking screenshots and saving images of clothes and styles that we like, and stars wearing clothes that we wished we had?” Ms. Victorino asked. “Our last question asks you to upload a photo of that wish. That’s why it’s called Stylegenie.”
After submitting the online quiz and paying for the style package that you wish to order (which ranges from two to at least ten items of clothing, at the price range of ₱ 899 to ₱ 3,699), a celebrity stylist will come to Stylegenie’s warehouse (“It’s like a walk‑in closet,” Ms. Victorino described) and using your profile, will select clothes for you. You’ll get your order after five to 10 business days, with free delivery for Metro Manila customers.
“The outfit you’ll get is a surprise, from your genie to you,” Ms. Victorino said. “We really want the clothes to be very personalized for our customers.”
But Ms. Victorino’s business doesn’t end in connecting customers to stylists and opening her warehouse for them. She also takes the time to read every style profile that Stylegenie gets, proving that she’s every bit as capable as her #Girlboss icons: Sophia Amoruso of Nasty Gal Vintage, and the fictional Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) from the movie The Intern. “I really want to be like them, building a company that promotes fashion and up‑to‑date with the latest e‑commerce trends,” Ms. Victorino said, adding that it’s coincidental that Ms. Amoruso’s biography and the Anne Hathaway movie co‑starring Robert De Niro just happened to be among her list of favorites. “It just matched. I just happened to be in the right place.”
With job interview season about to start, Ms. Victorino said she has read a lot of requests from fresh grads and young women who are just about to enter the workforce looking for advice on how to nail the perfect corporate get‑up for a job interview. “They have this fear that corporate wear will make them look old. But they get really happy and excited when they receive their boxes and see that corporate wear can also be fun,” she said.
Stylegenie’s clientele is mostly made up of millennials and centennials—including young mothers worried about their post‑pregnancy weight gain and women who want to look extra pretty to get revenge on their douchey ex‑boyfriends. Which is why, when asked about the most memorable order that the company has received, Ms. Victorino mentioned a 61 year old lawyer, their oldest client to date. “I had to check her form again, maybe she just wrote her age down wrong,” she recalled. “But she’s really sixty‑one years old. Her problem is that she’s six feet tall and she can’t find pants that would fit her legs. She was happy with the package that she got from Stylegenie.”
To promote her business, Stylegenie uses social media influencers, including model Jennica Sanchez who was a contestant in Season 5 of Asia’s Next Top Model. “She became the face of our business when we were just starting because she really liked the idea behind it,” said Ms. Victorino. “The models that we get as ambassadors and influencers are models that I’ve met when I was younger.” Through their Ambassadress program, interested style bloggers can also earn perks from Stylegenie for helping promote the business. Serious about the businesses, social media campaign, Ms. Victorino said that they have a creative team dedicated to supporting these influencers by helping them come up with posts that can easily be shared via instagram and facebook.
But the clients and staff of Stylegenie aren’t the only ones benefiting from this enterprise. Ms. Victorino also set‑up the business to help her stylist friends have a more sustainable source of income. “Through modeling career, I met these wonderful stylists who are my friends until now. I want to help them because styling, like modeling, it is not a stable (career), unless you’re really working for a show or a channel,” she explained. “Most of the stylists are freelancers who get bookings every now and then. I want to help them find rackets.”
And for young entrepreneurs, she has this to say: “Look for a thing that you’re passionate about or what you’re really good at and from that, work on how to offer it to somebody. The important thing is to just start. Planning is great, but planning without action is just a plan in the end. Don’t be afraid of failing because you can learn from it. Failing doesn’t mean that you are a failure.”