Aina Barker and Bhavna Suresh are the co founders of StyleBank, an on-demand fashion rental service. We spoke to them about their journey and inspirations for coming up with such a kickass idea for a startup!
Aina has 8 years experience in Digital Marketing and Fashion Editorials. Bhavna, on the other hand has 5 years of experience across Business Development roles.
Read on to know why these two brilliant women chose to startup and what all they did to make it a successful venture.
1. Why did you choose to startup?
We never intended to become entrepreneurs, it happened to us. StyleBank as a concept came from a very personal space for the both of us. As two young urban women, we realized we were spending too much money keeping up with fashion, fast fashion to be precise. We wanted to find a solution. The concept of StyleBank had taken over our lives. It was all we thought about.
I guess when an idea captivates you so much, the only way out is for you to go give it a real shot.
2. How is it different than any other job you have previously had? What difficulties did you face?
We’ve both had core corporate jobs as well as worked at multiple early stage start-ups. Stretching the envelope was ingrained in our working ethos. We understood the importance of bootstrapping but creating a venture that you call your own is so much more than all that – It’s learning to think ahead, and create value. It grounds you as an individual because you very quickly realize all achievements and losses are part of the journey.
The biggest challenge so far for StyleBank has been category awareness and education. Fashion rental is so new that most people are completely unaware of how it works or have misgivings about it. The concept of owning is so deeply ingrained in us that it overshadows the value proposition of renting. Most people are hesitant to even try, we have seen women who love the collection but need that bit of extra push to trial. The solution to this has been to spend that extra time and personally connect with our audience and customers. We talk to every potential lead and explain how it works and why they should try it. The wheels are slowly beginning to turn, and we see more women opening up to this new type of consumption.
3. What has the journey taught you so far?
Patience and Resilience.
We strongly believe that these are the two virtues that make an entrepreneur successful. It is the only mantra there is, and we have begun taking baby steps in the right direction. We are doing better every day.
4. An incident from your journey in a startup which stood out the most, and probably changed you both as individuals.
The big moments have been the small wins. Our first few return customers or customers who have been satisfied and vocal of their appreciation. The most exciting moments have been instances when we encouraged a few customers to deviate from their fashion comfort zone and try something that they never thought they would wear. They came back saying things like how confident and beautiful they felt. That for us is huge because it is exactly the vision we have for StyleBank, for every woman regardless of her size, to be able to play and experiment with fashion. Renting allows you to do that.
We love it when our customers explain to us how great they felt wearing a StyleBank outfit – It’s what keeps us going, it’s what makes us LOVE what we do.
5. Anything else that you would want to share with our audience?
StyleBank is an on-demand fashion rental service that is based on the fundamental that fashion keeps changing, so why buy when you can rent. Most young women only wear a statement outfit once or twice -Our value proposition to them is that they can rent and wear 10 garments for the price of purchasing one dress.
Renting a great international brand or designer garment from us is as simple as logging onto www.stylebank.in, selecting what you want in the size you require and choosing your delivery time-frame. We deliver in 4 hours or the next day. Every StyleBank garment is laundered at FabricSpa who are our official laundry partners. We charge no security deposit. Customers keep the garment for 48 hours from the time of delivery and post which our logistics team collects the garment from their doorstep.
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Read more such inspiring stories: Choosing the startup life over a corporate job: Wioleta’s inspiring story