As a Personal Stylist, I've been paying close attention to the increase in online styling services infiltrating the industry. With the success of companies such as Stitch Fix and Lookiero, and now Amazon jumping on the bandwagon, its hard not to wonder if traditional Personal Stylists are about to be replaced by algorithms and online Stylists. I decided that the only way to determine how much of a threat these services could be to my business was to try them experience them myself. And here's what I found...
So I decided to try Stitch Fix given it is the leader in online styling services. If you don't know about Stitch Fix, it's an online subscription service where an online stylist sends you out a selection of items based on your preferences. So how do they know your preferences? They have you complete and questionnaire of about 40 questions about your life, your style, your problem areas, your color preferences etc. There's also a section for you to add any other details that might be helpful for them. Your answers are analyzed by an algorithm that selects your wardrobe. Your online Stylist then adds a few personal touches and viola! Your box is on it's way to you. So did I like my box? There were a couple of items that were on trend and I would wear, however there were also items that didn't match my personality or work for my body shape. Also, if I wasn't a Personal Stylist, I would have no idea how to wear these items with things already in my closet and how to accessorize in the best way.
My experience with Stitch Fix actually was a positive one for my Personal Styling business. It helped me realize all the ways that working with a Personal Stylist is a much better option for many than an online Styling service:
1. We are 'personal'- We connect with our clients and are able to find out valuable information through conversation that an online questionnaire will never reveal. We also build a relationship with our clients.
2. We educate - Our services are about educating our clients and teaching them how to build outfits that work for them and how to use their clothes to improve their confidence etc. We teach them how what works for their body. There's no education with an online service.
3. We use 'real' analysis - Body shape analysis is crucial to creating the right proportion and balance for your clients. It also allows use to draw attention where our clients want it to be. Online styling is analyzed by an algorithm that does not analyze body shape. We also also use color analysis to find the perfect colors for our clients not just their favorites.
4. We create organisation in our clients lives - The extra services we offer such as a closet detox is valuable to our clients. We save them time and help them create order in their personal style.
5. We offer a complete service - The services we offer usually go beyond simply finding new outfits. We offer so much more to make a complete experience for our clients.
6. We offer a styling process! We don't simply choose outfits!
I'm sure if I think about it, there are so many more benefits to working with a Personal Stylist than an online Stylist, but I think you can see my point, that we are not being replaced anytime soon. Will we have some competition from these services? Absolutely! But the market is big enough for both of us! And for every person that wants the convenience of an online styling service, there's a person that prefers that personal connections and service! And don't forget! You can also add a virtual styling service to your business to provide the best of both worlds. ☺️
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