Say it’s the start of the month and you’re checking your planner. On top of your regular routine of work, exercise, and me-time, you need to fit in a presentation, a date, and—in the same weekend—a batch reunion and a family dinner.
With such a packed schedule, choosing your wardrobe should be the least of your problems!
You might try online shopping, but you risk getting clothes that don’t suit you or look anything like they did on the models. Trying to fix the problem gets you a game of email tennis with customer support, or driving through traffic to the physical store—putting you back to square one.
This was the case with entrepreneur Abbie Victorino, CEO and co-founder of fashion-tech startup StyleGenie. A former model, flight attendant, and fashion buyer for e-commerce sites, Abbie’s schedule was often packed. She often found herself wishing for a service that combined the convenience of online shopping with the ease of having a personal shopper. Then she leveraged her exposure to the fashion and e-commerce industry to start one herself.
But were Filipino shoppers ready to go for subscription boxes, and outsource their outfit selection? Very much, as it turns out. Since its inception in 2016, StyleGenie’s milestones include features on major news outlets and winning startup-incubator competitions like IdeaSpace and Brainsparks.
Here, she shares her story along with tips for aspiring innovators.
StyleGenie is an entirely different experience than your regular shopping online. We act as a digital personal shopper for those who don’t have time to shop. All they have to do is sign up, create a style profile, then choose a StyleBox based on their budget and how often they want to receive it.
If they don’t like any item in their box, we have a 30-day replacement guarantee. We ship worldwide! At the same time, we help brands flush out excess inventory by matching them with the right style profile.
Some of the people we’ve styled are actress Rhian Ramos and bloggers David Guison and Camille Co.
Starting a Startup
I believe style is something very personal and evolving. That’s how I came up with this idea. I pitched it to a few girlfriends who then formed the founding team. We got our first 100 customers in less than 90 days.
There were a lot of challenges, like losing team members and dealing with financial and government documents. We learned a lot and came out stronger after every challenge. We’ve been growing at least three times annually in revenue. We were recognized by UNCTAD x Alibaba as part of the eFounder Fellowship Program.
We’re far from perfect, but I’m lucky to have a strong team that strives to continuously improve the customer experience.
Being a #GirlBoss
Running a company takes guts. You have to build a team culture, look for partners and investors, all while growing sales and dealing with daily operations.
I learned a lot in China, meeting Jack Ma. It opened my eyes to how we, even as a small startup, can greatly affect the future of the digital economy. How character beats skill. How culture can drive team success.
Now that I’m older, young women look up to me and say I’ve inspired them—it’s what drives me now, mentoring aspiring young entrepreneurs. Teaching is something I’m really passionate about.
My advice: If you have one idea that keeps bothering you, write it down before you sleep. Keep working on your idea: if you believe it can solve a real problem, no matter how small, just go for it, and enjoy the journey.
Could you have the next big idea? Like many of today’s creatives, Abbie Victorino started out running StyleGenie from home, in a space conducive to productivity. Find your future home office at avidaland.com.