StyleYou is a unique subscription that offers a personal stylist experience. The company’s co-founder and CMO Tom Lam was kind enough to be interviewed for our How to Start a Subscription Box series. First, a little about the company…
What is StyleYou?
StyleYou ships out StyleBoxes that arrive monthly, quarterly or twice per year per your request. With this shopping experience you pick two items then your Stylist will pick three items to be shipped on launch date. You have 5 days from receiving your box to try on and review your items. Keep those you like and ship back the rest with the included prepaid label.
What made you decide to start a subscription box service?
It was really for selfish reasons. I wanted to help my busy wife find great clothes without having to go through the pains of shopping. A busy supermom has very little time to herself let alone time to shop. I wanted to create something that would allow super women to go on being super without the added pressure of having to shop to find beautiful clothes.
How did you choose your subscription niche?
We built StyleYou for the everyday woman. We wanted to style women that wouldn’t have thought to hire a stylist because of the cost associated with hiring one. It was important to me that our price point reflected this. Our pieces range from $25-$250.
How much was your initial investment?
Our initial investment was quite high as we spent a fair bit on technology in the early stages. We also spent a considerable amount on inventory so that we could appeal to the many different styles of our clients.
What business formation and preparation was required? Any special licenses or local requirements?
Nothing out of the ordinary. We incorporated in Delaware and have a California business and tax license.
Do you work out of your home or an offsite location?
We were working out of the NEST GSV accelerator in Redwood City but are in the process of moving our operations to San Francisco.
How long did it take between idea and official launch? How long to profit?
We are still a startup so the idea of profit is still awhile away. Right now, any and all of the income we make goes right back into the business to purchase more inventory and to better our infrastructure.
Are your ongoing costs on par with what you anticipated?
For the most part yes. There are still some surprises when it comes to the cost of good talent on the technology side. However, having a great team is important so we’ve learnt to embrace those costs.
Do you handle all of your business operations yourself or have employees?
We currently have an amazing team of 5 people running the day-to-day operations. They are the lifeblood of StyleYou.
How do you source the products that will be included each month?
We have an unbelievable buyer and stylist source from local designers in the U.S.. We look for pieces that we feel would truly make our customers feel beautiful.
What marketing avenues did you use to get the word out? Any memorable successes or failures?
Most of the marketing has been word of mouth from our loyal client base. However, we have dabbled with Facebook and Google Ads. The most successful campaigns we’ve had so far have had to do with bloggers which have brought us great web traffic and subsequently new customers and die-hard fans. Bloggers are a great source of PR for new companies.
What was your biggest surprise – good or bad – with your new business?
I think the biggest surprise for me has been the feedback from users. A woman emailed me a few months back and told me that our service had literally changed her life. She told me a story about how she use to love the confidence that having great style gave her in the past, but somewhere along the way between getting married and having kids, she forgot about herself. In her words, “StyleYou gave me my confidence back”
What would you change if you had to start over?
It’s a difficult thing to answer when you believe that everything happens for a reason. We’ve made some mistakes but for the most part I think they were mistakes we needed to make in order to be where we are today.
Where do you see your business five years from now? Any changes in the works?
I believe that StyleYou will continue to grow to become a house hold name and a true alternative to the traditional ways consumers are shopping now. We are really focused on an unforgettable user experience so any future changes would be to leverage new technologies and partnerships.
Thanks Tom Lam for answering our questions! You can visit StyleYou to learn more about this subscription and fill out your style profile. Subscribe to My Beauty Box Review for the next installment in the starting a subscription box series.Enter text here to go at the beginning and/or end of your posts...