Founders – Jheal Shah
Website – The Stylease
So, recently the wedding season arrived in all its charms, and like most of you, I had to attend one too. It was one of my cousins’ marriage, and obviously, I had to dress for the occasion.
To dress for the day, I had to have a good Blazer, Sherwani, or something of that sort. Now, as most of us would have done, I bought an averagely-priced blazer from the market. Sadly, the blazer I bought will be worn twice or thrice at max before it will be considered as a wear-out-for-the-occasion by others.
The reason behind sharing this little factual story has a lot to do with our day to day lives as well as with the startup we are going to discuss today.
Many times several occasions come within the close family where we must look dapper but (mostly) due to budget issues, we compromise on getting the top-notch items (clothes especially). And today’s PAN India startup/business brings to us the ultimate & online solution to this long-existing problem.The name of the startup is The Stylease.
Note: This solution has been there but has never been at this scale.
If you have a wardrobe full of clothes yet nothing to wear for that once-a-year occasion, The Stylease is a heaven for you.
Officially launched in May 2017, Stylease essentially is an e-commerce portal for renting High-end clothes. And by high-end, I mean the Manish Malhotra and Ridhi Mehra types. Moreover, they have their exclusives as well along with the hundreds of other designer outfits.
The crazy part of all these? You can rent any of these amazingly designed high-end clothing for the occasion at the price of some averagely-priced and ordinarily-designed. The only difference being one’s on rent for few days and the other your own forever(which doesn’t matter because it will get outdated and/or will be considered a she/he-wore-it-the-last-time dress/suit)
The reason behind this “renting high-end outfits at scale” is obviously the founder of Stylease.
About the founder:
Jheal Shah is the owner and founder of Stylease, and has quite some experience in the background of fashion industry like acting as a Planning Intern for Armani Exchange, Marketing intern at Tommy Hilfiger, or Visual Merchandiser at Onassis Clothing LLC.
In short, she came prepared passing through a 8-year-long professional career (from 2008-2016). In October of 2016, they launched the pilot of Stylease and officially launched PAN India in May of 2017.
The best thing about her, especially as a company founder, is she thinks customer relationships and service matters the most, and hence acts based on that principle. From hygiene care to fitting to free delivery, she wants it all perfect and smooth. That’s what makes it a success presently and bound-to-succeed in the future.
Talking about present and future of the company, let’s discuss it.
The Present and The Future of Stylease:
Presently, they are adding new customers and new designers every month, and have seen a growing curve ever since company’s existence.
Fast changing trends, new designs, and bit****g-behind-the-back makes buying expensive outfits a low value proposition, and that’s what the USP of Stylease is!
To end this I would like to say (again), Got a wardrobe full of clothes yet nothing to wear? Well, don’t worry.
The Stylease was formed by Jheal Shah who has done her BSc (Hons) in Biology from University of Warwick, UK; AAS in Fashion Marketing from Parsons the New School for Design, New York, USA and has had the opportunity of having worked with Tommy Hilfiger, Armani Exchange, Bank of America, Times of India. She, therefore, brings forth tremendous work experience from several sectors and companies and has successfully launched The Stylease. She is responsible for branding, strategy, business development, finance and marketing amongst other things.
What made you strike this business idea? What inspired you to start this company?
My mom is a fashion
designer and so is my sister now. We’ve always been a big fashion-oriented
family and seeing my mom work in this industry for the last 20+ years had a big
impact on me growing up. After I got my masters in Fashion Marketing from
Parsons in New York, I moved back to India and worked with my mom amongst other
fashion and non-fashion companies for the next few years to understand how
businesses in India function and run. Having stayed in London and America for
close to 7 years, I had first-hand experienced this business model abroad and
loved the idea of creating a fashion company with a strong focus on building a
more sustainable world for our future generations. And with fashion causing a
lot of water pollution and waste in general, we came up with the idea of
creating a space in the sharing economy for fashion. We started with outfits we
had in our own house and my mom’s store and got some help from family and friends
for our pilot. I started the
company through my own personal experience of having too many heavy outfits
that I couldn’t repeat and hence finding nothing to wear. These are all high-end garments that you couldn’t
really throw away or get rid off, but also do not wear regularly for more than
a few times. Everyone universally complained of storage issues and how heavy
and bulky these garments were and how they couldn’t dream of throwing them away
or getting rid of them because of the price tag they bought these at. Recognising that The Stylease was started for women to
have access to the high end outfits they’ve always wanted to wear by not
breaking the bank since you rarely repeat outfits more than once.
When did you start your business?
We started our pilot in October 2016 and ran it for 6 months and then launched the final website and went pan India in May 2017. We started with high-end women’s ethnic garments and have since expanded to dealing in men’s wear—ethnic as well as Western (blazers and suits), cocktail wear, women’s wear, as well as accessories for men and women like jewellery, bags, ties, quirky cufflinks and lapel pins and more.
What does success mean to your company?
Success to The Stylease means making luxury clothing and high-end fashion accessible to all and we hope that launching Stylease would make that possible.
How are you performing currently?
We are operationally profitable and our number of orders have grown 300% this wedding season.
What is the biggest risk to your company?
The stigma of renting clothes! People find it hard to grasp the idea of wearing an outfit someone else has worn already. But we don’t realise that we ourselves wear clothes we’ve worn before. We sit in cars owned by others, live in houses owned by others – and those can be far more unhygienic. Our hygiene process is top of the line and ensures that not an inch of it is left unclean.
What is the biggest challenge you faced during your start-up setup?
Finding the right team because we didn’t have the monetary support in the beginning to hire the right kind of talent. It was a gradual process.
What does growth mean to you and your business?
Getting more designers to make their collection affordable to the masses and remove the stigma.
How does your product stand different from others in the market?
We do custom fittings in every order for free. We are the only rental company that ships pan India. We have our own store where you can come and see every piece and try every outfit for free and then place an order. Every piece that is on the website is also in the store so it’s possible to see every outfit in person. You can come to the store and get your measurements taken by our team to ensure the outfits are perfectly fitted as well. We have a celebrity stylist who can assist with the outfit selection as well, and help you style your entire look. We also design and produce our own collection for rent. It’s a lot more affordable than some of the high-end designer and hence more economical for our customers. Since we produce as per the trends of the season and our customers’ requirements, it helps us keep ahead of the competitors at all times. The way we get pieces on board is also unique. We tie up with people who own these outfits and not only designers. We work on a revenue-sharing model per rental with these clients so every time the piece goes on rent they get paid.
Where are your start-up services spread?
“We deliver pan India, no other rental company does that. The Stylease hereby provides the seller with a chance of recovering a certain portion of the amount spent on these expensive luxury items. At the same time these authentic pre-owned outfits can be bought/ rented by someone who truly aspires to own a designer garment at a price they are now willing to pay for.”
What does it feel to be the founder of your start-up? How does it feel getting up every morning and getting on to work?
Honestly, it’s scary but exhilirating at the same time. The thought of your dream coming true for the larger good of society is insatiably thrilling and is what keeps me motivated to get out of bed every morning. I want to make a difference and until that happens I wouldn’t settle for any less.
Where do you see your business standing in the next 5 years?
As an industry leader bringing every big designer name to every doorstep at a fraction of the price.