One of the problems with fashion magazines is that they lack the element of personalization and curation that is entering the online fashion industry and retail world. Kendall Herbst, a former fashion editor at InStyle and Lucky magazines is hoping to change that with a new fashion startup launching today. YC-backed StyleUp is a daily personal fashion recommendation service for women that takes into account your location (i.e. weather) and personal style to give you stylized outfit suggestions each day.
On StyleUp, you sign up for the daily email by taking a 30-second survey to determine your style. You are shown various pictures of styled outfits, and you choose which outfit identify. You also include your location because each outfit recommendation is tied to the weather where you are, and you pick when you want to receive each email (i.e. in the morning before work, or the night before so you can plan ahead).
So there are four components to each StyleUp email. The first is what the weather is in your location, as mentioned above. The second is the actual outfit for the day. The third is a rating feature, where you can say whether you like the outfit within the email. And the fourth are clickable links to shop and buy the outfit.
Monday through Friday, you’ll receive outfit recommendations that you can create from your own closet. StyleUp also includes links to each part of an outfit and where they can be purchased from in case you want to buy any of the items. Herbst says that outfits are curated from affordable sites like J.Crew, but if you want an outfit recommendation for a more high-fashion event, you can actually visit the site and put in the details for your event (i.e. black tie) and the startup will give you a recommended outfit.
The startup takes the technology side of things a step further by adding a Pandora-esque feature that will actually take your feedback into recommending outfits that you will like in the future. If you don’t like an outfit, the service will take this into account as well. This system was built by co-founder and CTO Ryan Choi, who was the 7th engineer at CRM giant Salesforce.
Through word of mouth (and little marketing) the startup has been able to create a loyal user base that spans college students to stay-at-home-moms to corporate professionals. StyleUp has tripled its user base since joining Y Combinator.
User Adelle McElveen, who also happens to be Google’s Shopping Editor, says of the startup, “StyleUp inspires me to think about what I’m going to wear the next day, and how to not just dress for the weather, but to dress stylishly for the weather. It also reminds me of what I have in my closet.”
StyleUp has delivered over a quarter of a million outfits to their users, and the startup’s e-mail open rate is over 70%, compared to the industry average of 14%.
Herbst explains that the startup now makes money from affiliate links to purchase parts of an outfit, but the longterm vision is to be a channel to connect women to brands they love.
I, for one, spend at least 20 minutes in front of my closet each day trying to figure out what I should wear based on the day’s weather. It would be great to have a daily service that not only saves me this time, but also allows me to discover new brands and clothing items that fit my style.