Fashion app pioneer on the front foot

16-Fashion app pioneer on the front foot

Frances Mao


(Australian Associated Press)

When ex-fashion rep Jess Wilson was just 21 she took a one-way flight to Silicon Valley, plunging headlong into the tech world.

The former PR who’d worked on seating plans for New York and Paris Fashion Week shows decided she wanted to get in front of the change she saw happening from the back rows.

“Over around three years the whole first and second rows changed. I saw that online was moving forwards and print was moving backwards,” she said.

That desire to capitalise on digital change – which had upended a whole hierarchy as fashion bloggers were seated in front of magazine mavens – drove 23-year-old Wilson, who describes herself as an opportunist, to start her own app, Stashd.

Since launching in November 2013, the fashion discovery and shopping tool has reached users in 94 countries, and landed partnerships with ASOS, Net-a-porter, and Farfetch.

Using the addictive swiping action made infamous by dating app Tinder, Stashd allows users to flick through about one million different fashion items like a game – left to trash the product, right to “stash” it in a virtual wardrobe and a tap to buy.

Items can range from a $2,278.94 A.L.C Stagler Shearling Jacket to $40 ASOS pleather boots.

It’s random, unpredictable and the discovery element makes it addictive.

Stashd has recently also added e-retail behemoth Shopbop and luxury cosmetic brand Estee Lauder to its books, while three more major labels are due to be revealed soon.

Wilson’s success as a fashion tech entrepreneur sparked interest from the producers of a reality TV show, with cameras capturing the nitty-gritty of a rapidly scaling global startup.

Wilson, who is currently filming the reality series, says the show has received interest from a few international distributors already.

Once the show gets picked up, she plans to open Stashd up to broader investment capital opportunities.

Currently, Stashd takes a six to 20 per cent commission of each sale, and its those sales that have funded the business so far.

Wilson attributes her startup’s rapid growth to her determination to succeed on a global scale from the get-go.

“Even in the concept stage I never wanted to grow it out of Australia, and then do the US and the UK. I wanted to start off with a global footprint which is why we started off with Net-a-porter and ASOS who ship globally,” she said.

Her ultimate dream is a for a global virtual reality mall, where every store can be accessed from a smartphone on one app.

In the meantime, Wilson wants to refine Stashd’s offerings to curate them around different occasions.

Collaborating with influential fashion bloggers mining the data that’s been generated by her app to develop a trends-forecasting tool are also on the horizon.


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