Those of us in the fashion industry, or even those known to be the most style-savvy among friend groups, can all relate to being hounded for styling advice. “Can I wear this?” “I’m seeing him tomorrow, what should I wear?” “Which of these dresses do you like better?”
The forwards, messages, and mirror-selfies never stop. At least, this is how it felt to WISHI co-founder Clea O’Hana. Clea, formerly a stylist at Net-a-Porter and Head of Visuals at Belstaff, founded the app in 2014 with Lia Kislev, a digital marketing expert, and Aya Elhanan, a tech innovator, as she really thought someone ought to connect those needing styling advice and those qualified to give it. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, but also has offices in New York and Tel Aviv.
“At one point, when I was at NAP, I had someone asking me what they should wear nearly every day, and I thought there should be a service for this - how is it not available? Then I realized it is available, but only for high-net worth individuals and celebrities. I wanted to create a styling platform where people can get accessible styling advice, but then I also wanted to help stylists. Many stylists are freelance and sometimes don’t get work for weeks. I knew that many people needed styling advice and stylists had time in between projects where they can take on smaller jobs, so I really wanted to connect those two worlds.”
Using WISHI, which stands for “Wear It, Share It”, users who want to be styled can upload pieces from their closet by either taking a picture, or by pinning a picture of the their pieces from e-comm sites to populate their closet. To create outfit suggestions, stylists can use the user’s existing closet, suggest new shoppable pieces, or use a mix of both.
Clea admits to being surprised how popular the app has been with men, and also surprised she’s been using the app herself for organizing looks, and even for the odd reassurance. “I realized that even the style-savvy enjoy styling themselves and appreciate having someone to approve their outfit. And your friends sometimes won’t be objective, they may not want to hurt you by telling you something is not the right fit.”
WISHI currently has around 450 stylists, which include celebrity stylists such as Alana Hadid, Vogue editor Carlotta Oddi, blogger Soraya Bakhtiar, several of The Wall Group stylists, and they are all available at around $100 per session – a much more accessible rate than normal.
“The average stylist makes $2,000 a month, and unlike some of our competitors, our stylists are completely unbiased and able to use any brand or retailer they want to give the best recommendation to the user”, she explains.
Partnerships with lifestyle entities and events such as Coachella, the dating app Bumble and travel company Contiki have fuelled growth, as has integration with Instagram so that people can book through the platform. Commercial growth also has been on a constant up.
“By using a stylist we see a far better conversion rate than the industry standard. For example with Farfetch we see 85% conversion to purchase rate. When there is a stylist between the client and the product, it is much more likely that the client will purchase the item.”
In a few months, the company’s revenue increased by 66% since WISHI offered a new Unlimited Plan ( 15 looks from your stylist, unlimited interactions, and one call).
For the future, Clea is focused on growing the right team and staying focused. “Lots of people approach us for partnerships and it's flattering, but you having to say no and focus on styling.”
The best part of the venture, she says, is when she hears the positive impact that styling has made in people’s day-to-day. “One user wrote that when she used WISHI, she felt much better in her own skin and her whole energy on a date was much different”.
And who does she think would be right to join WISHI? “Some of my favorite team members are not hardcore fashionistas, but they are smart and they get the power of fashion when they see the numbers. Someone gets the mission – which is to provide personal styling access to everyone and as a company build the world's best brand around styling.”
See more about WISHI on the iTunes App Store here.