We’ve been meeting so many awesome stylists out there, wouldn’t it be great if you could hire them to help you get dressed for your cousin’s wedding from the comfort of your own computer? Or you’re an oh so talented fashionista who happens to live in Montana, how will you meet clients? Oh wait you can! Meet Style Me Perfect founder Carrie Johnson. She’s created a “personal” virtual shopping experience to bring fashion talent right to your desktop or door.
Tell us about Style Me Perfect
SMP is an online platform that connects wardrobe stylists/personal shoppers, makeup artists, and hair stylists with clients across the U.S. + U.K. Each of the professionals we represent, offers in-person services where they live (some are willing to travel), as well as customized, online services. Our services are tailored to fit the specific needs of our clients, and our mission is to help them define their own, unique perfect. “Perfect,” to us, is not an aesthetic, where lipstick, pearls, hairspray, and prim, boring pumps come to mind. To us, “perfect” is a very individual, personal, organic response to something that feels exactly right. Our aim is to help our clients achieve this in the vast, and sometimes overwhelming, realms of fashion and beauty!
“Perfect,” to us, is not an aesthetic, where lipstick, pearls, hairspray, and prim, boring pumps come to mind. To us, “perfect” is a very individual, personal, organic response to something that feels exactly right.
How did the idea come about?
An out-of-state friend of mine had an important event coming up, and asked if I could recommend some online stores, as she lived in a pretty small town. I did, and she immediately responded that all the stores looked amazing, but she felt really overwhelmed by the mass selection. Would I mind picking out 2 or 3 dresses, and pairing them with some accessories? While shopping for her, it hit me that this type of service could be really helpful for busy women in general, and/or women that just don’t feel confident shopping/styling themselves. So I ran with the idea!
How did you build the actual platform, did you use a template or have a developer?
We were very fortunate in finding a brilliant branding/development team here in our small town that worked very closely with us in creating logos, forms, building our beta site, and our initial web design. My brain-iac husband taught himself to code, so as we grew, and constantly changed, his new skill helped (and still helps!) us tremendously in keeping our costs way down.
How were you able to grow from one stylist to a global community and have women sending applications daily?
Our blog! I call myself the reluctant blogger, and am kicking myself for not starting it when soooo many people at the very beginning told me to! It’s an amazing resource not only to expound on what your brand actually is, but to advertise, and gain traffic by promoting it via social media. Lesson learned: when the same advice or ideas are repeatedly given to you by many different sources, don’t hesitate; go for it!
Our blog…It’s an amazing resource not only to expound on what your brand actually is, but to advertise, and gain traffic by promoting it via social media. Lesson learned: when the same advice or ideas are repeatedly given to you by many different sources, don’t hesitate; go for it!”
How many people do you have working for you and how much do you still do on your own?
We have a stylist team of 14, but my husband and I are the only admin, which means he wears about 4 hats, and I wear about 17. We have many, many stylists that have applied, and continue to almost daily, but it takes a lot of extra time to email, interview, and then even more time to integrate them into our site and process, once hired. So, finding the right time to start that long process has been tricky. I’ve been very impressed with a lot of resumes that have come our way, so it’s definitely something I’m excited to tackle – I just need about 4 clones to do it!
My husband and I are the only admin, which means he wears about 4 hats, and I wear about 17.
How does the platform actually work for virtual styling?
Our process goes like this: The client fills out her event-type/sizing/style-preference forms, selects the stylist she wants, and then submits. The stylist receives her client’s forms, lets her client know when she can have the work completed, calculates the time she thinks it will take her to complete her client’s wishes, and then bills her client. The client can request changes, but if happy, the client pays by credit card via the emailed invoice. The stylist then goes to work shopping online, and then styles a look or looks via Polyvore, which is emailed to her client with styling notes. Each item is hyper-linked in the Polyvore lookbook, so the client can buy anything she likes. If she wants something re-shopped, she can request that, too, at no extra charge.
Here is an example of a typical Polyvore lookbook that we create – I just put together a breezy look for a summer rooftop party….
My favorite part of our service is that, over time, a stylist is able to build a “Polyvore Closet” for her client, filled with images of actual items the client owns (images sent by client), or of things she has bought. So, stylists are able to create looks using the client’s existing wardrobe, as well. I love this so much!! It makes it so easy to help clients pack for trips, pull looks for work or upcoming events, and suggest new items to update their wardrobe, or really polish off a particular look. It’s super fast for the stylist to style this way, too, so it becomes even more affordable for the client. Win, win.
Our online beauty service works in a very similar way, where makeup artists and hair stylists can shop makeup and hair products to either complete a client’s look, or help a client up her beauty game in general. Our beauty stylists always give detailed notes, tips, and video tutorials to help their clients achieve their new looks on their own.
How is your platform an asset to stylists starting out or looking to make some extra cash.
SMP is designed to be a turnkey business platform for stylists to use – especially if they don’t have a website, or a professional way of billing clients for their services. Our blog and social media outlets are there to help promote them as well. We also act as a mentoring resource they can utilize, as we’ve learned a lot of tips and tricks over the years, developing the fairly new concept of online styling. For more established stylists, that already have their own websites and blogs, we simply become added traffic flow for them.
SMP is designed to be a turnkey business platform for stylists to use – especially if they don’t have a website, or a professional way of billing clients for their services.
Where do you want to see it go in the next 5 years?
I’m really excited about the idea of expanding our same concept into interior design and event planning. It’s crazy – we’ve been receiving resumes from interior designers and event planners already, and we haven’t advertised this at all (other than having a “coming soon” page up for each on our site)!
How do you structure your time as far as family time and work time?
My husband and I get up and work on SMP together in the wee hours of the morning to get the critical bulk of the daily work done before our kiddos wake up, and before my husband has to leave for his “real job.” Then, throughout the day, it’s just a matter of budgeting a few minutes here and there – all day long – keeping up with social media, texts, and emails. We’ve learned that we could literally sit down and work on SMP 24/7, and there would still be a mile-long to-do list, so we decided to be very committed at turning off the “work switch” at the same time everyday. In practical terms, my work/mom days are divided into specific time frames, which is both reassuring (I love a good routine), and stimulating to me – like a how-much-can-I-get-done-in-this-set-time-frame game challenge. It keeps me efficient, balanced, and sane! I absolutely love the discipline and creativity involved with working on SMP, but being able to turn it off each day to focus on our family, and to do that enjoying-life thing is so essential! I love the balance we’ve been able to create – it’s just perfect for us.
we decided to be very committed at turning off the “work switch” at the same time everyday. In practical terms, my work/mom days are divided into specific time frames, which is both reassuring (I love a good routine), and stimulating to me – like a how-much-can-I-get-done-in-this-set-time-frame game challenge.