Special Features Writer
Romsanne R. Ortiguero
Two years ago, Abbie Victorino found herself in between a day job and a side business supplying accessories to an e-commerce site. Perennially crunched for time, she was eating a lunch sent to her through a meal delivery service, a convenience she wished she could bring into the rest of her professional life.
“Buti pa ’yung isa kong problem, it’s solved already,” Abbie said, thinking about where else a service like this might come in handy.
“Why isn’t there a delivery plan for clothes?” she asked, the gears in her head turning. “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 decided to capitalize on these musings. That’s how, in 2016, styling subscription box StyleGenie was born.
“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?” Abbie said.
StyleGenie, considered the first styling and clothing subscription box in the country, aims to provide a unique, effortless shopping experience for Filipino customers.
Users of this digital stylist, currently numbering at around 2,500, follow a three step process: create a style profile, subscribe to a budget and delivery plan, and “Shazuums,” receive a curated box set of clothes.
“We want to make closet wishes come true,” Abbie said. “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.”
In addition to Abbie, Steph Oller, 29, and Rhijean Sarenas, 28, round out the StyleGenie team. Together, they are planning to scale their operations to cover the entire Philippines, and even move into Malaysia and other Southeast Asian markets before the end of the year.
“Their eyes sparkled when I was pitching my basic five-slide presentation,” Abbie said, recalling how she first tapped her partners. “They got the idea and they’re like, ‘This is going to work’.”
Abbie admits that starting an online business today is quite a challenge. But with Steph and Rhijean, she says she’s found just the right kind of magic to make it work.
“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,” Abbie said.
“We believe that clothes may not change the world, but the people who wear them can,” she said. “That’s our belief.”
And if the team behind StyleGenie can manage to help those potential world-changers be confident enough to try, then that’s its own kind of magic altogether.