Launching personal styling website MenStyled at the end of last year, Kieron Watts and Stephen Kelly speak to Victoria Jackson about how they are successfully mixing the one-on-one service of a traditional bricks and mortar offering with the responsive technology of online.
Where did the idea of MenStyled originate?
SK: While it’s great so many guys spend so long online, we really wanted to put the ‘personal’ back into personal shopping. We want to get to know our clients personally to really help identify their needs.
I was approached one summer by loads of different guys via Facebook asking for help and advice for their wedding suit and when helping realised how little they knew. I knew that Kieron and I could offer our expertise and educate guys while helping them feel more confident in what they wear and how to shop.
KW: As the menswear personal styling market is growing, we saw a need for a service that mixes current technology in the form of online consultations, inspirational social media content and traditional face to face personal styling and personal shopping with myself and Stephen.
How well does a personal styling service work online?
KW: Some guys simply don’t have time to shop and don’t necessarily know what they are looking for and how to put stylish looks together. We have been in working in the industry for 10 years; along the way we have observed and are still observing how gents shop, dress and approach style on a daily basis. We do know that guys want to look great without all the confusion; explaining and offering styling tips in a clear and concise way is where MenStyled comes in.
SK: I agree; styling can work well online in this new digital age, but we also think that all this living online means people are losing that personal touch and are often just fed algorithm suggestions from a computer without anyone taking the time to get to know them and understand their specific needs. We wanted to change that, and offer truly bespoke experiences to our clients, tailored to them personally.
Who is your average customer?
KW: Our average customer is aged 25-45 and based in London; our clients are looking for a quick and knowledgeable styling advice of stores to shop in.
SK: As Kieron has mentioned, at present they are guys that work a lot and their free time is precious so they don’t have or don’t want to waste time shopping but still want to look great. We also have clients that are a bit older and more assured in what they wear but are looking for new brands or want a slight change in style or direction.
What challenges have you faced launching the service?
KW: We faced the challenge of getting the aesthetic of the website and mobile just right at this stage of MenStyled, to ensure our online visual represented what we want to do as a company.
SK: Starting a company is always a slow process and we’re currently working to raise our profile and gain new clients. Getting the word out there about who we are and what we do is a slow but key thing for us, along with getting our work to the guys that are after our services, even if they’re not yet aware of it.
Where do you look to for inspiration?
KW: We both attend fashion industry events together such as London Fashion Week Men’s to see selected shows and to also connect with showroom brands that we feel are right for MenStyled. We still find inspiration from street style globally. I also like to attend exhibitions on menswear, fashion, art, design and photography. The most recent one was the Malick Sidibé one which was so stylish, great photography and style.
SK: I like to travel and take a lot of inspiration from that, as well as classic movies and art. I also like researching different sub-cultures and the energy they had as well as a sense of unity within the ‘gang’ of their subculture. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are also great for inspiration as you can find really niche looks and designs from all over the globe. Whether it’s The Sapeurs or a new rap movement in LA, energy and different people’s perspective always inspires.
What’s next for MenStyled? Would you ever look into launch a WomenStyled counterpart for example?
KW: We only launched MenStyled at the end of last year so we are currently focused on developing the business. We have already spoken about a women’s version of the site. This is a definite possibility for in the future.
SK: As Kieron mentioned, we’re walking before we can run but it’s a definite possibility as the business grows. We have already linked up with some womenswear stylists to assist a bride whose groom used our Wedding Service and both the bride and groom wanted the service so we always adapt to cater to anyone. At the moment it’s more specifically aimed at guys but we’ll never turn away a request or idea.