Curated fashion startup Stylistpick taken over by Hallett Retail


London-based curated fashion startup Stylistpick is being taken over by Hallett Retail, to become the online outlet for the British wholesaler.


Stylistpick – the startup that has attracted big-name investors

Stylistpick has offered its users shoes and accessories, personally put together by a stylist, for the past three years since German founder Felix Leuschner launched the startup in London. Despite its unoriginal business model, the company managed to convince a number of big-name investors that it could stand out from the competition: it counts Index Ventures, Accel Partners and Passion Capital among its investors. At last count, a total of at least $19m worth of funding had been provided for the startup.

Now, Stylistpick is changing owners. From 1 August, Hallett Retail will take over the startup. The team will move from their current location in Clerkenwell, North London, to the Hallett Retail offices in Finchley. Hallett Retail's own offering, which is similar to Stylistpick, is likely to merge into the startup in the transaction. Noticeably, Fuse Fashion was barely active in the shoe segment, while Stylistpick has been focusing on this area lately.

The challenge of getting shoe subscriptions right

Recently, Stylistpick gave up on its subscription model to concentrate on positioning itself as an online shop that offers a wide range of products. The startup began by selling shoes and accessories ranging in price from £4 to £119 but recently broadened its selection to include clothing and swimwear.

"left"] As for how much money passed hands in the takeover, we didn't get an answer from either party. Although Stylistpick currently counts about one million registered users, the buying sum is unlikely to have been a significant amount.

We hear the startup has been in financial difficulties lately – which makes sense from what we've seen happen in Germany. Here, the challenges of the curated fashion business model have already claimed one startup – Team Europe’s ChicChickClub. Even the US-based original ShoeDazzle has been suspiciously quiet lately.

Charming in the short term, difficult in the long term

In the end, the user numbers for subscription models – in particular the revenue per registered member – haven't increased enough to promote growth. Generally, subscription models appeal to the initial excitement of the user when they discover new fashion. While this tends to work well for the first delivery, each subsequent order becomes more difficult as customers tend to become more critical and have higher expectations that the products will be individually tailored to suit their tastes. As user numbers grow, the tailoring process becomes more difficult.

Any changes for Stylistpick?

A number of brands from Hallett Retail are already on offer on Stylistpick, including the Young Fashion Labels Closet, Cutie and Pippa Dee. After the takeover, the 36 brands currently on Fuse Fashion will become available on the Stylistpick platform. At the moment, Hallett Retail doesn’t seem to have a new concept for the future of the startup – though it seems unlikely that we'll see any dramatic changes to the business model.

Translated by Michelle Kuepper

Image credit: Flickr user zitona

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