Stash Or Trash Your Fashion Finds With The Swipe Of A Finger – Forbes
Jessica Wilson dropped out of college after her counselor told her that she “didn’t have it in her” to make her dream fashion career a reality. Then Jessica dreamed even bigger, connected the dots between fashion and technology and is now the 22-year-old cofounder of Stashd, an iPhone app that lets you stash or trash your favorite fashion finds with the swipe of your finger.
“Stashd brings ‘browsing’ and fashion discovery to the digital space, changing the way shoppers (women and men) engage in online shopping,” says Wilson. “Stashd presents the user with a singular item and a choice to either swipe left to trash the item or swipe right to stash it into a centralized virtual wardrobe. The wardrobe can be shared with friends, purchased and used for style inspiration.”
Stashd is fun, simple and has an addictive swiping motion made famous by Tinder. But the story I want to tell is about Jessica Wilson, the young woman who made it happen, a woman in tech who isn’t a techie:
Jessica Wilson: I grew up on a farm in Australia. When I was 16 and in 10th grade, our school didn’t allow us to have after-parties, so I started organizing events at my farm. Soon kids from other high schools were hiring me to throw parties on my farm. I did that for over two years and went off to college to learn about event production. I had this heavy interest in fashion and wanted to do an internship producing runway shows. My career advisor said I’d never get a job in fashion because I didn’t have contacts and I “didn’t have it in me.” I literally knocked on the doors of every fashion house in Sydney. Finally I got my break — an internship at a fashion house that turned into a full time job. I dropped out of college and went on to freelance with designers in Australia, New York and Paris, co-producing shows and working with leading PR and event companies.
I started working out of Fishburners, a tech coworking space and entrepreneurial community in Sydney. Being 22 and connected with social media and how the platforms are progressing, surrounding myself at Fishburners with the latest technology and working within the fashion industry, I noticed patterns and innovations within the tech and fashion worlds. From fashion bloggers with large online followings being seated in front of magazine editors at the fashion shows to the latest iPhone apps, I saw a shift and began to join the dots.
At Fishburners, I sat right of Pete Neill, a self-taught iOS developer who has sold successful apps and is passionate about teaching kids how to code. I started talking to Pete about innovative ways to connect fashion and technology. Pete and I bonded over our shared interest in how the two very different industries are merging together to compliment the other, and within six weeks Pete built Stashd. In the beginning I would talk about fashion and he would have no idea what I was talking about, and he would talk about coding and l would have no idea what he was talking about. But together, we figured it out and have taken Stashd to where it is today. Pete is now teaching me how to code because I want to know how things work.
That was November 2013. Today, Stashd has users in 85 countries, has had 500,000 items ‘stashd,” been featured within Apples Best New Apps in 11 countries and within the top 10 Lifestyle apps in five countries. We’re affiliated with top-tier, global shipping online stores like Net-a-porter, Mr Porter, Sense.com and Farfetch.
Denise Restauri: You find gaps in the market and find ways to fill them. You are determined and passionate. What keeps you challenged and motivated?
Wilson: I like the challenge of changing the way in which we think about approaching a problem and viewing it as an opportunity. The entrepreneurial role is all based around solving a problem. With the shift in the fashion industry and the introduction of technology within the retail sector, it has just been identifying the problem (opportunity) and then working to solve it!
Restauri: Let’s talk funding.
Wilson: We are currently bootstrapping. Pete does all the major aspects of the coding and I’ve built an amazing board of advisors. I currently do all the PR, marketing and strategy whilst learning to code. I continue to produce and freelance fashion events in New York, Paris and Australia. The projects I work on compliment Stashd because they keep me directly involved with fashion. One of the great things about working at Fishburners is the support of the co-workers, the community – we help each other. We are starting to seek investment to grow the team.
Restauri: Where you want to be in six months from now?
Wilson: I want to become affiliated with more stores — both the online end of brick and mortar and online retailors and boutiques that align with what our users want and continue to ‘stash’ into their virtual wardrobe, essentially acting as a buyer.
I am developing strategic alignments with style opinion leaders to incorporate into the app to leverage sales and increase consumer validation on selected items. I plan to really grow the tech side to become an accurate tool for trend forecasting on a global scale, saving retailers large sums by reducing wasted stock.