Personal stylists are an integral part of the fashion industry, having been instrumental in some of Hollywood’s most memorable red carpet looks and magazine covers. And counting on their services has been restricted to an exclusive group of people — until now, that is, thanks to a new on-demand styling app called Wishi that’s spreading the stylist love to everyone, from New York City to Oklahoma, for a hiring fee of as little as $20.
Clea O’Hana is the co-founder and CEO of Wishi. She is a former stylist for Net-a-Porter and embarked on her golden idea two years ago. The app is fairly simple to use: Download it, fill out a quick questionnaire, set your budget, and get paired with a stylist. Whether you need help outfitting yourself for an upcoming wedding or a complete wardrobe revamp, each session results in three mood boards and three looks. The stylist will continue to send you options until you find one you love the most.
Styling is a rigorous business and not always a lucrative one, especially if you are just starting out. And O’Hana, a stylist herself, saw Wishi as an opportunity to not only help others in her field financially but also to provide stylist access to a wider customer base. Because why should only the rich and famous reap such benefits?
Upon joining the Wishi app, you’re given access (for a fee) to an enormous network of stylists from diverse backgrounds and experience levels. Its top-tier stylists include notable names like Alana Hadid (sister to Bella, Gigi, and Anwar Hadid) as well as editors from Vogue and Elle. The middle tier is composed of many fashion stylists who have agents but don’t necessarily have celebrity or big-budget clients. “The last tier of stylists are the assistants of the editors. They work for Elle or they work for Vogue and they don’t usually get paid a lot, so they do styling out of passion,” O’Hana says.
This spectrum of experience accounts for the varying price levels; you can buy a styling session for as little as $20 in the last tier, or spend up to $100 for a top-tier stylist.
It may be a relief to know that you don’t need to actually buy anything new in a styling session. Instead, you can choose to upload photos of items you already own for the stylist to choose from, or the stylist can source new products across the web. It’s your choice, but it is recommended you do a combination of both.
Video: Courtesy of Wishi
Although one might think the majority of Wishi users come to the app for one-time, special-event needs, most of its users are seeking entire wardrobe changes, with outfits they can wear regularly. “Our average customer is a 32-year-old woman who is working and is a mom and doesn’t really have time to search for the right outfits,” O’Hana tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Today Wishi has more than 200,000 users, all with a diverse mix of style, sizes, and genders. The app has even tapped into the needs of transgender individuals, a group that has been largely underserved by fashion stylists. “There are people that are shy to mention they are trans sometimes. They’re in transition … they’re not even sure where they are yet,” says O’Hana. With Wishi, they are able to receive styling advice without the fear or anxiety that comes with going into an actual clothing store.
For O’Hana, Wishi is coming at the ideal time in the industry because “people are in the habit of outsourcing things,” as many people don’t do traditional grocery shopping anymore, or even drive themselves. But it’s even more about narrowing down the myriad choices in the world. “You don’t know if you should go on Instagram to get inspiration, you don’t know if you should go on Pinterest, you don’t know if you should buy what the blogger is wearing, and it’s so confusing,” O’Hana says. “You get pulled in so many directions.”
At the end of the day, O’Hana thinks that everyone deserves a stylist, just as many people have a go-to manicurist or hairdresser. “We really want to standardize this and standardize this movement.”
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