By Daisy Kendrick
Six months ago, StyleUp founder Kendall Herbst came and spoke at one of Haute Fashion’s meetings to describe her career in fashion before becoming an entrepreneur. Whilst pursuing a degree at MIT, Kendall was inspired to create a website for women who could sign up and receive a daily email with an inspirational outfit tailored to their local weather and sense of style. Now, half a year later, I was lucky enough to catch up with Kendall to track the progress of the StyleUp.
StyleUp has experienced a rapid 20% increase each month in subscribers, has several college ambassador programs, and in total has tripled its user base since being accepted on a Y Combinator program which invests money in start up companies like the StyleUp. In January Kendall made the bold move to relocate to California to work intensively with Y Combinator on an accelerator program to get StyleUp in the best possible shape and maximize its full potential. The successful expansion has been primarily by word of mouth and frequent press exposure. Kendall said “Women who discover StyleUp tell their friends and this has become a very positive chain.” The StyleUp has been featured on many blogs, fashion sites and mentioned by people like Adelle McElveen (Google’s shopping editor). The website is constantly improving by becoming easier to use and now includes a new rating system that actually takes your opinion into consideration.
Despite the massive growth rate, Kendall still manages to personally reply to every “special event request.” After replying to over 550 to date, Kendall stated “I take it very personally when a women sends a request for a specific event; I really want to give her the best experience so I provide her with three outfit ideas. It really is my favorite part of the site!” As the site expands, the system will have to become more automated but Kendall is committed to providing that personal connection which no other fashion magazine or blog is doing. The StyleUp team still consists only of Kendall and her partner (co-founder and CTO) Ryan Choi but now has ten college ambassadors on board to lend a helping hand.
Aside from the daily emails, Kendall also created the StyleUp blog that features amazing women that you might see walking down the street who have really amazing careers and still manage to dress great. Kendall will stop anyone who catches her eye and ask them their style secrets, profiling from ELLE magazine editors to people outside the fashion world. It features a nice range of women who all share a common thread, that “a woman must always be fashionable.” The blog also highlights trends and affordable things to shop for. Each trend is not for everyone but the purpose of the blog is to provide an education about fashion. Kendall’s background experience as a fashion editor taught her how to handle lots of trends at once; therefore, styling different age groups is not a problem. She realizes that an 18 year old will have different taste than a 40 year old mom!
Kendall will graduate from MIT in just under a month and plans to work on StyleUp full time. With her new business skills, Kendall now describes StyleUp as her dream job: “I get to do my two favorite things on a daily basis: editorial fun fashion and use business techniques to become a CEO.” Most people wonder when a version of StyleUp for men will be launched, but for now Kendall gets more meaning from helping just women. In just half a year it is clear the StyleUp has grown immensely and without a doubt has tremendous potential. The ultimate goal is to get every woman using StyleUp, be inspired by her daily dose of style, and connect with affordable brands.
Be part of this fashion revolution and sign up for StyleUp’s daily emails now! Also follow on Kendall on Twitter @kendall_to_go and Instagram @thestyleup.
If you are interested in becoming a college ambassador for the StyleUp, feel free to email Kendall at firstname.lastname@example.org with a short paragraph explaining why you would be a great fit for the StyleUp.