StyleTheory is bringing unlimited access to designer clothing for women on the sunny island of Singapore, thru a ‘Netflix-for-Fashion’ model.
Co-Founders Chris Halim and Raena Lim, believe every women should have the freedom to wear and experiment with any styles and designers they adore without being constrained, and are here to solve the age old complaints of “I have nothing to wear, AGAIN!”, “My wardrobe is bursting”, “I don’t know which to buy” or more often than not “I have no time to shop”.
LadyBoss caught up with Raena on StyleTheory to find out more about her startup journey thus far!
Currently, we are working with 90+ designers and are planning on tripling that number in the next year to cater to the ~7000 ladies on the waitlist.
Q: Tell us about StyleTheory and who your customers are?
A: StyleTheory is a subscription-based fashion website and app. Women subscribed to StyleTheory will pay a monthly subscription fee to get access to our wardrobe of over thousands of designer items from all over the world. We stock everything from workwear to party dresses, and women can choose any items they want, wear them, and return them to get something new to wear again. It is literally an extension of a woman’s wardrobe, stored in the cloud.
Our customers are mainly working women in Singapore between the ages of 22-35. They live busy lives and use our service not only for our wide variety of clothes but also to save time shopping!
Q: What were you doing before entrepreneurship?
A: Chris used to be a management consultant at Bain & Co and has been living in Singapore for more than 15 years! Raena used to be in banking with Goldman Sachs and is a true Singaporean – born and bred— She worked in a microcredit financing arm of a NGO in Kenya before working at Goldman Sachs.
Q: In terms of sales and marketing, how do you reach your customers, and what works?
A: We’ve found Facebook to be the best channel for acquiring customers and engaging them. For sales, Facebook advertising has consistently given us the best return. It took us a while to get comfortable with the platform but we’ve found that the key to being successful with Facebook Ads is in testing variables until you find what works – from target audience, to caption and headline, to the kind of image on the ad.
Fund raising is a great time to also tap into the brains of the smartest and most forward thinking people in the industry and see your business from a different perspective.
Q: Where do you see the future of your business?
A: We created StyleTheory in a bid to solve the age-old problem of women always feeling stuck in the perpetual search for something to wear, while also saving them a huge amount of time, frustration, and money when it comes to shopping habits.
StyleTheory’s mission is straightforward: to build a wardrobe so infinite that women will always have something to wear. We envision our business as being a long-term fashion solution for women of all capacities in many different locations.
Q: Tell us about your Number 1 business challenge?
A: The biggest challenge we are facing is to meet the demand in the market efficiently. We are a very lean team and are now scaling up to ensure we can meet the operational and clothing demands. Currently, we are working with 90+ designers and are planning on tripling that number in the next year to cater to the ~7000 ladies on the waitlist. Yes, we are hiring people and increasing our collection so that more ladies will get to try us out!
Q: Do you have any advice to give aspiring women entrepreneurs?
A: I think this advice will go for all entrepreneurs – If there is one thing we have learnt it is to stay focused on what we are really trying to create. In any entrepreneurial journey, there will be so many temptations and opportunities that could easily be distracting, but we have always tried to remain 100% focussed on our goals. Would definitely advise others to do the same!
Q:Could you share with us your experience on raising funds for your business?
A: We have gone through a few rounds of fundraising and there have been many interesting conversations with VC on how to grow StyleTheory and what the future will look like in 10 to 20 years’ time. Fund raising is a great time to also tap into the brains of the smartest and most forward thinking people in the industry and see your business from a different perspective.
Q: Who are some of the people that you must thank for your success?
A: Our team! They jumped onto this wagon with us and inspire us with their persistence and resourcefulness. We have great investors too who not only provide guidance but also encourages us to dream big and build something that can make a positive impact. Last but not least, our friends and family who helped to run errands, build furniture and basically pick up the slack in our personal lives when we pour our 200% into StyleTheory.
Q: How do you cope with stress?
A: We talk to other founders and encourage one another as we are all going through/have went through this phase. It is very motivating to work through this together as a startup community. If not, chocolate ice cream always helps.