How Two BFFs Started a Personal Styling Service Together
If you listen to fashion podcasts on your commute to work and follow celeb stylists on Instagram for the latest trends, you might want to think about a career doing what you love. In this week’s How to Quit Your Day Job series, we chat with Ali Macer and Brittney Ben Moshe about how they started StyleLab, an on-demand personal styling service for men and women. Get a behind-the-scenes look into what Macer and Ben Moshe do for prospective clients. The real-life BFFs dish on how they took their passion for fashion and turned it into a stylish service.
Meet the style Pros: Ali Macer & Brittney Ben MosHe
Both Macer and Ben Moshe had different careers before starting StyleLab, but both had experience working in fashion. Macer worked for brands like Paige Premium Denim and Juicy Couture. Ben Moshe was a wardrobe stylist at Fred Segal. They each had experience starting companies from scratch. Macer and her mom started a medical wellness and weight-loss company, MediLean, and Ben Moshe worked with her husband, who owned retail cosmetic stores. These ventures helped them understand the hard work and risk-taking required to start their own company. When these former college roommates discussed the idea of StyleLab, Ben Moshe says, “Everything clicked and it was a natural evolution.”
1. Find something that doesn’t feel like work. Both Macer and Ben Moshe love the fashion industry, so while there are stressful days running their own company, they love working together on something that truly fulfills them. “Building StyleLab has been so much fun because it is something I am passionate about,” says Ben Moshe. “There are some days it doesn’t even feel like I’m working and that is a great feeling.” Echoes Macer, “No matter how stressful something can get, I remind myself that I’m working with my best friend in an industry I love.”
2. Outline your roles. One of StyleLab’s advisors encouraged the duo to put a founders agreement in place, specifically outlining each of their investment, ownership, and roles. “This is really important for any co-founders, but especially when you start a business with your best friend,” says Macer. “We made a pact that our friendship would come before the company. As long as we had each other’s best interest in mind, we would always find a way to work out any disagreement.”
3. Develop your concept. As the BFFs continued to discuss their on-demand personal styling service, they outlined some key principles that they wanted to instill into their brand. They wanted to provide a service for men and women that educates them on what looks best for their bodies, teach their clients how to be smart shoppers, and keep clothing at affordable price points. They offer styling services at a flat hourly rate for different services and events. “We learned as much as we could about our competitive landscape and the styling industry from the stylist and clients’ perspectives. We gauged interest by performing mini-focus groups,” says Macer. “Define your goals, have a plan, but also be able to pivot,” says Ben Moshe.
4. Find the right team. Hiring personal stylists to join the StyleLab team was an important decision for the co-founders. They wanted to find the right mix of personable, talented, and diverse team members who could represent the StyleLab brand. Within the first few weeks of looking, the duo had more than 300 resumes to scour through. As a result, Macer and Ben Moshe have a wide range of stylists for their clients. “Our stylists come from all different backgrounds, such as celebrity, editorial, film, TV, and commercial, and have experience styling all shapes and sizes with a wide range of budgets,” says Macer.
5. Have a support system. Besides having each other to discuss day-to-day operations, Macer and Ben Moshe rely on the steadfast support of their friends and family. “They let us vent when necessary, bounce new ideas around and offer helpful feedback, and are great brand ambassadors as they know StyleLab just as well as we do,” says Macer. They started a Kickstarter last year, and they were blown away by how much financial support they got just from people they knew.
6. Keep forward momentum. Both co-founders admit that it’s hard to dive in and start something that’s entirely brand new, but for any female entrepreneurs who want to own a biz, they highly recommend to keep going, even when fear sets in. “You will doubt yourself a million times, and fear it won’t work, but be honest with yourself and keep forward momentum,” says Macer. “Be patient. It’s really easy to get ahead of yourself, but make sure to take the proper steps. Make sure you do plenty of research and pre-work before you actually take the leap. It’s important to have all the right information in place,” says Ben Moshe.
7. Love the glow. Working with clients really inspires these two fashionistas to keep working hard on their company. Macer loves seeing the transformations in their clients when they like what they’re wearing. “People just have an extra glow when they feel good in their clothing,” says Macer. “What I love about our job is that we get to work with a range of men and women. We have clients in all age groups, body types, and budgets,” says Ben Moshe. Ben Moshe shares the story of one client, a 60-year-old divorced woman who wanted to get back on the dating scene. “We found looks that would work well with her vision. From there, we styled her for a photo shoot to get great headshots for her dating profiles. It was very rewarding for us to see the transition and confidence gained by feeling good in her clothes. She had a blast,” says Ben Moshe.
Perfect Your Skills
1. Launch a Successful Crowdfunding Campaign ($79): Chris Hawker is known for having record-setting fundraising campaigns through his company Trident Design, so learn from the best. Hawker will teach you how to reach your funding goals, make a compelling video that will garner social media buzz, and attract new backers.
2. Fashion Illustration Online Class ($29): This creative online course with San Francisco-based fashion illustrator Anum Tariq will tap into your inner fashionista and get your ideas on paper. Tariq shows you how to create an art piece inspired by fashion trends and translate fabric and patterns into an illustration.
3. Build Your Digital Brand Online Class ($49): Artist and designer Caroline Winegeart will help you get started on building a website, find the right fonts and colors for your particular brand, and develop a content strategy to keep viewers coming back to your website.
What’s your dream career? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know, and we could feature it in the next column!
(Photos via Honeycomb Studio)