Founder Spotlight: Abigail Victorino of StyleGenie, A Fashion-Forward Solution
By Claudine Ng
The fashion industry is a lucrative venture. Millions of consumers buy clothes for different reasons: expression, impression, influence et al. And thanks to the digital age, buying clothes can now be as easy as tapping the screen on your phone. As such, there has been a rise in businesses covering this industry over the past decade or so. Consumers want the convenience e-commerce offers, and with the fashion industry in mind, numerous fashion e-commerce businesses have popped up. One of them is StyleGenie.
Your online personal stylist
StyleGenie is a personal styling service that is all digital. It matches its customers with over a hundred partner brands through data-driven matching. The process is simple. Customers create an account on the website, answer a quick two-minute style quiz, and choose between the one-time or monthly subscription option. The former is for people with urgent needs, and the latter is for those who want to receive a monthly selected delivery of clothes at their doorstep.
GMA Network Stylist, Ken Batino with StyleGenie CEO, Abbie Victorino
StyleGenie also offers its customers the chance to curate their style via the data gathered and the final say of expert celebrity stylists working with the company. Customers do not only get styled but also have the option of buying to keep the clothes after 14 days. It is a convenient and easy way for shoppers to discover their style without going through the traffic and waiting in line in stores.
Back and forth in the corporate world
Abbie Victorino graduated from the University of Sto. Tomas with a degree in BSBA Major in Marketing Management. Thinking her career would thrive in the corporate world, she worked for MarketConnect, a local marketing communications agency for almost a year. Being an early breadwinner, she also worked as a ramp, TVC and print model. Unfortunately, due to the unstable pay in the modeling industry here, she thought of shifting careers and try a career as a flight attendant based in Malaysia. Shortly, it did not feel fruitful for her. “I wasn’t able to use what I learned in the University, and I was so eager to learn more,” she explained. While the traveling was fun, Abbie was restless. So, she flew back to Manila to start doing marketing gigs.
In 2013, she applied for CashCashPinoy, one of the pioneer & biggest e-commerce sites in the Philippines. According to her, it was an “accident” that she stumbled upon this job, but it turned out that this was actually a great opportunity that opened new doors for her. She handled the fashion category of the e-commerce giant. After leaving her post, she worked as an International Buyer for Zalora Philippines and then as Ecommerce Solutions Consultant at Voyager Innovations where she stayed for almost three years. After back and forth stints in corporate, she knew it was time for her to start a new chapter in her life as an entrepreneur.
Every entrepreneur has a eureka moment. For Abigail, hers was when she was eating her lunch from Diet Diva, one of the healthy meal subscription plans available in the Philippines. She wondered why there has never been a subscription plan for clothes, and from this question stemmed the idea of starting StyleGenie. Her goal was to make buying clothes easier for consumers who are not able to due to numerous factors such as style preferences and lifestyle changes. The convenience this service offers greatly appealed to her; having a subscription plan for clothes offers the flexibility needed by busy men and women. Seeing the potential in venturing to this business, she made a presentation to convince her now co-founders: her previous boss from MarketConnect and her fellow employee in Voyager Innovations.
Left to Right: Steph Oller, Rhijean Sarenas, Abbie Victorino
Abigail’s passion for fashion started when she was a child who loved drawing stick figures wearing fancy gowns. It magnified during her modeling career, where she felt like a mannequin playing dress-up. On the other hand, her other passion, e-commerce, blossomed when she worked at CashCashPinoy. "This is magic," she stated. "E-commerce is the future." Combining her two passions, StyleGenie was able to put itself at the forefront of the local startup scene.
LEFT: Abbie Victorino with Jack Ma, Chairman of Alibaba when she represented the Philippines in Hangzhou, China for Alibaba eFounder Fellowship Program on March 2018, RIGHT: Pitching StyleGenie at the Simona APAC Women Founders Accelerated in Jakarta, Indonesia on March 2019
Abbie Victorino at the CenterStage of RISE Hongkong last July 11, 2019
In many ways, Abbie embodies female empowerment as she transitioned from the corporate world to the startup scene in style. When she was an employee, she only worked for herself and her family. But her purpose got bigger when she became an entrepreneur. Now, not only is she working for herself and her family, but she is also working for her vision, for her team, for Filipinas, and for the Philippine economy. The pressure to be an entrepreneur is insurmountable. But, passion will see you through. It will help you survive and triumph.
Check out StyleGenie here: https://stylegenie.ph/