As we covered earlier today, the fashion vertical in tech has exploded, with myriad unique companies clamoring to take a bite out of Amazon’s lunch, and a chunk out of the trillion dollar apparel industry. One of the most unique premises I’ve seen thus far is StyleSaint, a startup which at first glance seems like a Pinterest for fashion, but with a unique real-life twist.
To use StyleSaint in its current form, log in with Facebook or Twitter and create an account, once logged on, you can choose from over 55K “tear sheet” images from which to create your own Stylebook, once you’ve got more than ten tear sheets loaded, you can hit the “Create Stylebooks” link in the top right and StyleSaint will automatically import, then publish, the last ten sheets you’ve torn. Alternatively you can drag-and-drop the tears to create a custom stylebook. Click on “Create” to publish to the site.
In addition the resulting books are Facebookable, tweetable and embeddable, the embeddable stylebooks function as an overlay on embedded sites, preventing traffic re-direction. In addition to social sharing layer, users who want to drill deeper into the StyleSaint community can apply to be part of the StyleSaint Creative Collective, the group of passionate editors that scours the web looking for, linking to and tagging stunning, fashion-related images.
While the stylebook portion of the site is delightful as a content play, the most compelling thing about StyleSaint is that co-founders Brian Garrett and Allison Beal eventually want to use the collective data from the style booking activity to come up with its own line of clothing. “StyleSaint is the only company editorializing the phenomenon of image discovery and curation and combining it with a manufacturing, vertical eTailer ecommerce model,” Beal writes. “It will definitely be the hardest part of our site.”
Hoping to come up with a new, wholesale product (5-10 SKUs) every couple of weeks, Beal tells me that all pre-production on the clothing line will take place in LA, as the company has teamed up with the same manufacturing partner who is responsible for producing the Mary-Kate & Ashley line, The Row, STQ, James Perse and Vince. Beal views the site’s competition as Modcloth, NastyGal & ASOS once the the eCommerce components come into play. The company wants to unveil the offering around fashion week next fall.
StyleSaint is currently seed funded by Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, Crosscut Ventures and LA angel investors. Beal hopes to raise a Series A in the next couple months, to finance its commerce arm.
Q: How exactly do you use the stylebooks to build fashion?
A: We use them collaboratively, and build a meta-stylebook.
Q: Have you thought about changing the business model? To pre-order or subscription?
A: Yes, we’ve thought that pre-order wasn’t for us, and many people do subscription better.
Q: You’ve talked a lot about inspiration, but I haven’t heard very much about your business model.
A: We’d like to think of ourselves as Net-A-Porter meets Zara. The “Shop” button is going to be right next to “Explore” and “Create” on the site.