Don’t Know What to Wear? This Manila Start-up Can Help You
StyleGenie is creating a subscription box for women in Southeast Asia
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
Abbie Victorino, founder and CEO of StyleGenie PH, shares that her eureka moment came when she was exploring the subscription delivery business model.
“Having a full-time job and managing an online shop last year, I understand how difficult it is to manage time, especially in the mornings. It was such a hassle for me to even think about what to eat or what to wear. So when I found out there were diet delivery subscription plans I wondered, ‘Why don’t we have something like this but for clothes?’” Victorino says.
Together with chief finance officer Stephanie Oller and chief marketing officer Rhij Sarenas, Victorino co-founded StyleGenie, a style and clothing subscription box for the Philippine market. The user journey begins by taking a style profile quiz on the website and choosing the box that fits their budget.
“Once paid, our stylists will then carefully read their answers and mix-and-match pieces that go inside their choice of box. The user receives a surprise box filled with clothes and a personal note from the stylist with tips, plus freebies from partner sponsors,” she says.
According to Victorino, StyleGenie has had to tweak the subscription box model to make it work for the Philippines. Since the vast majority of the country still does not have credit cards or other online means of payment, the company accepts over-the-counter bank deposits for their boxes.
StyleGenie also offers one-time style boxes that move away from the subscription model and toward pure e-commerce. Each one-time box is themed according to the occasion or event it might help the user prepare quickly for. Current boxes include smart casual, romantic date, family Sunday, corporate chic, airport fashion, and girls’ night.
Despite these adjustments, the company still focuses on the subscription side of the business, and the target demographic who would be attracted to a regular style and fashion box. Victorino says these are mostly women between the ages of 19 to 35, though some users can go as young as 15 or as old as 61.
StyleGenie is going after this demographic mostly through digital marketing.
“Most of our marketing efforts are via newsletters, social media and our growing family of Style Ambassadresses. They are micro-influencers, bloggers, and YouTube vloggers who help us spread the magic in exchange for performance commissions,” she says.
The diversity of women that these marketing efforts are attracting means that StyleGenie has had to broaden its product offerings. For instance, the company also offers boxes for plus-size women.
“With it becoming an easy obsession among the women, we are now challenged to keep our racks full of clothes to accommodate each style, size, and age,” she says.
Perhaps, the best proof that StyleGenie has found product-market fit is the traction it has gotten since its founding.
“For us, the biggest milestone is having won the IdeaSpace Competition this 2017. It has opened a lot of opportunities for us including scholarships at the AIM and mentorship from industry experts. Store wise, we now get orders from some famous celebrities! This is a great validation of our mission,” Victorino says.
While both the Philippines and Southeast Asia have seen subscription box start-ups rise in many different product categories, Victorino believes StyleGenie will differentiate itself through how user- and community-centric it will remain.
“I believe it’s because StyleGenie services are designed with the customers in mind. From the whole website and mobile experience to delivery and after-sales support. The team makes sure that the experience is as magical as possible. We also value feedback and encourage all subscribers to connect with us,” she says.
BY Amanda Pressner Kreuser