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Boston is putting itself on the map as fashion-meets-tech innovation hub. From Kendall to Fort Point Channel, here are the start ups that caught our attention.
StyleUp founder Kendall Herbst
"Wouldn't it be cool to get fashion advice when you really need it—in the morning while getting dressed?" StyleUp founder Kendall Herbst kind of read our mind there. Rather than run around in a fluster, we can definitely get on board with the notion of checking our phone (which is happening anyway) for a quick email offering the weather, an inspirational look, and how to buy similar pieces. This simple service is nearly a year in the making, with a second year MIT Sloan MBA student behind it and five years spent translating runway trends onto real women as an editor at NY Mag, Lucky, and InStyle.
While Vogue lends a hand in presenting aspirational style each month, the reality is that most modern wardrobes lack head-to-toe Proenza Schouler outfits and Alexander McQueen clutches. Herbst aims to keep her service relatable and accessible. "We are very open and democratic. No membership, all free. Here is one nice, fun daily email," says the budding entrepreneur. On a foundation of beta testing fifteen friends and bringing on teammate Ryan Choi last April, StyleUp gained traction when it was selected for DailyCandy's "Go Big, Start Small" contest this summer. In addition, a growing college ambassador program—currently at Boston College, Wellesley, and Northeastern—contributed to expanding its user base, subsequently enhancing the community features of the website.
Here is what StyleUp offers in its emails: a daily street style image culled from a curated set of over 100 blogs as well as celebrity shots with similar pieces just a click away from purchase. Talk about smart shopping. As 2013 progresses, expect to see more original photography, as Herbst notes the difficulty of finding snaps in extreme weather (which we are all too familiar with here in Boston).
Over at the website, you'll find a Lookbook.nu-type platform to show off your outfits, dubbed "StyleUps," with voting and commenting built-in. Our favorite extra is definitely the "Special Events" email option, allowing you to log an upcoming occasion, describe the look you want, body features to highlight, and the date to receive your outfit suggestions.
Though she perpetually looks at style blogs, Herbst has a few favorites...
9to5Chic is still edgy and fashion forward but a lot of what she wears is very office appropriate. I've found there to be a huge gap in the market for that. She does it in a really lovely way. My number one go-to.
I also like Fashion Toast. Even if Rumi is a little repetitive, she always looks great and nails her aesthetic. Our customers range from college aged girls to 40 year olds, and on the young end of the spectrum, she is perfect.
Fash N Chips—I think Christine is the prettiest blogger ever. She does a nice mix of dressed down looks with fancy. A lot of versatility.
What are your thoughts on this service? Are you willing to give it a test run? We feel that outfit suggestions are greatly appreciated in these slushy days of winter. Leggings and boots no longer!
· StyleUp [Official Site]