A company called Stash wants to take the hassle out of shopping for beauty and personal care items, while also scouring the web to find the lowest prices and best products, as recommended by experts, including fashion and beauty magazines, websites and blogs. The company has been quietly testing its iOS application over the past year with a couple thousand beta testers, and is now ready to make its public debut.
The idea for Stash was originally conceived by MIT alum Sid Henderson who, as a New York City resident, grew frustrated with the crowded drugstore shopping experience and the drudgery that involved. But although he had been thinking mainly of a product that could make this sort of shopping more efficient, while also helping customers find better prices, it was Stash’s co-founder, Veronica Gledhill, who saw the potential for the service to do more with regard to actually making product recommendations.
Gledhill’s background is in fashion, having previously spent several years at Vogue before becoming a senior fashion editor at New York Magazine where she works today.
With Stash, the idea is to offer a beauty dashboard of sorts, where customers can search for products by brand, keyword, hashtag, or even barcode scan, which allows you to add products you have at home. The app, currently available on iOS, then lets you comparison-shop for tens of thousands of products across a number of online sites, including Amazon, Sephora, Soap, BeautyBar, Drugstore, Beauty, Nordstrom, Walmart, Macy’s and Saks.
And no, Amazon is not always the site with the lowest prices, the company found.
“Our beta users have saved 16.1 percent off retail on average, of which 13.4 percent was from our automatic price comparison tool,” notes Henderson.
Stash also makes re-ordering your preferred products easier, without the commitment of a subscription service, like Amazon’s “Subscribe & Save” program, for example, which lets you put common household goods or personal care items on regular shipment schedules.
“I think there’s a tendency, whenever women go shopping…they’ll get this new product and bring it home. But then they forget about it when they go back to the store,” explains Gledhill. “What’s nice is that I can see everything I do have [in Stash]. It keeps track of everything, and it assigns a lifetime to that product,” she says.
That is, Stash tracks how often you order a product, like shampoo, in order to determine when it should be added to your cart again. But the final step in the checkout process — actually completing the transaction — is up to you to approve. When you do, the order processes right within Stash itself. And shipping on orders of $25 and more is free.
Stash’s business model today involves taking a cut of those transactions, but in the future they may explore doing more around their product recommendations.
Recommendations and More
While many women (and men!) today use a combination of drug store products and high-end brands in their personal care and beauty routines, what makes Stash interesting is that it has an editorial element to its service that helps you discover new products.
In the left-hand corner above the product image, you’ll see the logo of the editorial outlets (e.g. Glamor, W, Vogue) that have endorsed the item. And when you click on that logo, it brings you to that website where it’s actually talking about the product in question. This understanding of what experts have recommended products also comes into play when doing a search, as it influences how the results are ranked when you search for general keywords or hashtags.
The app is primarily aimed at women, but will also cater to men with recommendations from GQ, Esquire and various men’s grooming blogs.
The bootstrapped startup, also co-founded by AI expert Jon Pearce and Yale alum John Wang, is headquartered in NYC and is a team of five. Stash is a free download, here on iTunes.
Now, please excuse me while I go scan everything in my bathroom.