OpenStile is a fashion tech startup that aims to give shoppers hand-picked style at their favorite fashion boutiques. We talked with OpenStile’s co-founder, Tamara Austin, to learn more about what they are doing.
OpenStile is a fashion tech service that allows shoppers to book personal styling sessions with Brooklyn boutiques. Shoppers start by completing a style profile to capture specifics about their body, budget, and preferred looks. OpenStile then matches shoppers with boutiques for delightful personal styling sessions. Our goal is to help shoppers find those unique pieces that make them look and feel their best while helping store owners offer a more personalized and engaging shopping experience.
What inspired you to start OpenStile?
I wanted a better way to shop for clothes. I hated going store to store digging through inventory only to leave empty handed. This was a frustration I shared with several friends who all had different styles, body types, and budgets. Having worked in retail, and being the go to stylist for several of her BFFs, my co-founder Sparkle knew how effective personal styling services were. She knew that making this service more effective and accessible at neighborhood boutiques would make it much easier for women to shop local for those unique finds. Together with our backgrounds in tech and fashion respectively, we were inspired to create OpenStile.
What sets OpenStile apart from other fashion tech companies in the space?
Unlike our competitors we cater to the on-demand brick and mortar experience. It is often assumed that the convenience of shopping online would render the in-store experience obsolete, but this hasn’t proven itself to be true for clothing apparel. This is why there’s a trend of online brands such as Rent the Runway and Amazon expanding to physical retail. The new wave of retail requires stores to bridge the online and in store experience. [Editor’s note: we couldn’t agree more!] The online experience needs to be convenient, efficient, and hyper-personal. The in-store experience needs to be engaging and entertaining. OpenStile delivers on both fronts.
Also unlike our competitors we are being built from the ground up with portability in mind. Competitors that offer personalization require you to define your style with them and use it exclusively for their service. OpenStile allows shoppers to share their style needs across multiple fashion retailers.
What has been the hardest obstacle for you in creating OpenStile? What has been your favorite part?
The hardest part was finding the best market to fit the product. We initially did a trial launch with Washington D.C boutiques but soon realized the fashion and personal styling markets were not yet suited for growing a product like OpenStile.
The best part has been meeting amazing creators who are all working on truly inspiring projects. From store owners, to fellow entrepreneurs, to connectors in the fashion tech space there are so many helpful individuals with great knowledge to share. Meeting them has been the best part of this journey.
What can we expect from OpenStile in the future?
OpenStile is excited for growth and you can expect to see us partner with stores for both women and men nationwide. You can also expect to see us expand our engaging and personalized service into the mid-size and big-box fashion retailer space.
What are your favorite styles of the moment?
I’m a huge fan of creative layering and how it really opens up your wardrobe! It’s especially great for keeping warm through the cold weather and for creating an eye catching look from basic pieces.
Learn more about OpenStile by going to their website here.
OpenStile photos by Tarik Carroll. Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.