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Turn sassy the e-way

You either have it or you don’t, whoever said this about style couldn’t have been more right. Today, as we are plagued with a dime-a-dozen fashion websites, magazines and well-groomed celebs, a woman’s desire to look stylish is at its pinnacle. But looking suave comes at a price, thanks to the high-end brands and personal stylists’ exorbitant fees. However, two new websites — 20Dresses.com and stylecracker.com — help you up your fashion ante at an affordable price. 

The USP of these sites is that they have professional stylists on board who recommend you to make changes in your wardrobe based on your personality.

All you have to do is just log on, become a member, fill a fun quiz about the kind of outfits and accessories you like to wear for different occasions and voila, you are presented with a wide gamut of choices that you can opt for. 20Dresses.com has its own clothing range called 20D and accessories, which are curated from across the globe, apart from sourcing from vendors and wholesalers. For a basic fee of Rs 499 on stylecracker.com, you can get personal style and beauty advice from stylists 24/7 and also access the directory of stores from where you can get the outfits suitable for you. For a premium fee of Rs 1,999 you can avail a personal stylist’s service who visits your home and gives you tips and tricks to make the most of your present wardrobe.

Customer is the queen
Explaining how 20Dresses works, the site’s CEO Sumant Kasliwal says, “Our target audience is females in the age group of 18-30. Our stylists assess the consumer’s personality and then recommend her the products that suit her. A customer connects with our stylists through one-on-one discussions, online chats and emails. 20Dresses is a personalised e-commerce site wherein you become a member free of cost and can buy the products we hand pick for you.”

The site, which had a beta launch in October 2012 and started operations in January 2013, boasts of a customer base of 40,000 registered users.

“Consumers came to know about us through social networking websites. But we got maximum leverage through word-of-mouth publicity. While Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore are our largest markets, two-tier cities such as Jaipur and Vellore are our fastest growing markets. Our target is to increase our subscriber base to one million by December,” says Kasliwal.

Kasliwal, a chartered accountant who has worked earlier with Star India and Microsoft, decided to start 20Dresses.com after conducting a market research for two to three months. “We realised that though there is a plethora of websites today, yet consumers get confused with the wide range of options on offer. We wanted to build one-on-one relations with customers and understand their needs. Also, in India, when women go for shopping, they always like to take along their mothers or friends to seek their consultation. We wanted our stylists to do that job on our site.”

Elaborating his future plans, he states, “We want to make our label 20D available at retail outlets and also launch our third party retail outlet very soon.”

At your doorstep
Archana Walavalkar, the co-founder of stylecracker.com, describes her site as a personalised styling service that follows a subscription module. “People can log in daily and get style recommendations. They also have a personal stylist 24/7 who helps you reuse, revamp and restyle your wardrobe. Also, depending on your budget and body shape, we recommend you brands and shops for you.”

Stylecracker.com, which is currently having a test run, will be launched officially on May 1. Apart from offering an online service wherein you can hire a personal stylist, the website also has a blog that features make up and beauty tips. Walavalkar’s team boasts of seven stylists who have earlier worked either in fashion magazines or TV commercials. “Though all of us have different style quotients, at the end of the day we want to have one voice while servicing the customers. We want to strike a balance between helping the consumer look a certain way within a limited budget without making her look too unreal. Also, we had been building the database of shops since a year. We want it to be the little black book for everyone.”

Though right now stylecracker.com is focusing on women and is available only in Mumbai, in the near future Walavalkar wants to expand it all over India and also cater to men and children.

Personal styling is here to stay
Both Kasliwal and Walavalkar concede that personal styling is here to stay. The former says, “It’s a popular notion that personal styling is only for the affluent. We wanted to democratise the style domain. After all, today women have become more style-conscious and lay a lot more emphasis on how they present themselves.”
Walavalkar, who has worked with a leading fashion magazine and also styled movie stars, couldn’t agree more. She says, “Though magazines offer you a plethora of options about the accessories and outfits that you can wear, nothing is customised for you. Finally it boils down to the common woman who has real curves, has flaws to hide and has her own aesthetic sense. Through stylecracker, we want to make style readily available to everyone.”  

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