Personal shoppers for the masses. It is a trend that has picked up speed in recent years. These days you don’t need an AMEX Centurion Card – also known as the black card – to gain access to highly sought-after stylists and trendsetters. Personal shoppers, also known as style or image consultants, have a keen eye for the latest trends and are a simple click away.
The rise in online retail sales year over year coupled with the fact that most consumers spend a great deal of time online, has made the outlet for online personal shopping a viable business opportunity. For busy consumers that don’t have the time or patience to hit the mall, or scour the hundreds of fashion blogs for inspiration – these new digital style connoisseurs will do it for you. All the while, removing the guesswork from finding the latest trends and providing affordable style solutions based on individual preferences.
So why do consumers opt for digital styling on-demand? It’s simple. A for-hire freelance personal shopper will run approximately $60 to $80 per hour. And most personal shopper packages can range from $750 to $3,500 depending on the client and experience level. Harvard MBA grad, turned chef and serial entrepreneur, Divya Gugnani alongside co-founders Mariah Chase and Christian Siriano recognized the tremendous market potential and capitalized on this growing trend vis-à-vis the 2010 launch of Send the Trend.
When she’s not advising startups, juggling appearances on MSNBC: Your Business, contributing to The Huffington Post, Todayshow.com or MSN’s Glo she is busy perfecting the art of the fashion trend.
Learn how Divya, a venture capitalist with a culinary flair refocused her winning formula to take the online fashion world by storm. Honored as a 2010 Game Changer by The New York Enterprise Report and recognized as one of the Top 50 Outstanding Asian Americans in business, Gugnani shows no signs of slowing down. And on top of it all she’s made time to send fashion conscious consumers the latest trends.
Company: Send the Trend
Founder, Age: Divya Gugnani (34), Mariah Chase (33), Christian Siriano (25)
Location: New York, NY
Startup Year: 2010
Startup Costs: 300,000
How I Got Started: As an entrepreneur (Founder of Behind the Burner) and author (Sexy Women Eat, Harper Collins), I hardly had time to hit the stores and shop. More importantly, when I did shop I never had a clue what to buy. No time to read the magazines stacked up on my nightstand to figure out what’s fashionable either. Further, as a working woman running a small business I couldn’t find good personalized shopping options on a budget. My friend, Mariah Chase, fashion industry veteran also felt these pain points. So, along with fashion designer Christian Siriano we co-founded what became Send the Trend, the eHarmony of accessories.
Visitors of Send the Trend take a quick style survey (6 questions/1 minute) and we serve up choices of the season’s best accessories- scarves, sunglasses, jewelry and more. Our curated items are personalized through our style survey and sell for $29.95 per item including FREE shipping. So, now you can update your look on a budget and feel totally on trend with the hottest necklaces, earrings, scarves and more.
Best Success Story: We have visitors from every single state in the US. We get orders from women at military bases and stay at home moms in the Midwest. We love our customers. Since we’re a startup on a budget we are so honored by our customers who have spread the word about Send the Trend to their family and friends. The day we were featured on the TODAY Show our site crashed from all the traffic. We posted an update on our Facebook fan page telling people we were working on the site and would have it back up soon. One customer wrote:
Congratulations. Marketing at its finest and kudos to you for keeping people updated. Yep! I was one of those jamming up the system. Sorry. I’ll wait to get online just to help you out!
I was so touched. It warmed my heart. Someone got off our site so others could get on. That’s customer loyalty at its best!
Biggest Startup Challenge: Fulfilling orders. We are trying our best to keep up with the demand.
#1 Tips for Newbies: Hire for attitude and aptitude. People with a positive attitude and raw intelligence and can figure out any task and do any job well.
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