Online marketplace Stylewhile said it inked a deal with Seychelles to begin offering the footwear brand on its site.
Stylewhile, based out of Helsinki, launched in 2012 as an iPad app done in conjunction with Saks Fifth Avenue as a way to let shoppers mix and match different products from retailers before making a purchase. But the process was complicated by too many steps, explained Stylewhile chief executive officer Jutta Haaramo. Still, the technology garnered interest from brands interested in selling directly through Stylewhile rather than working through another commerce layer, she said.
Haaramo, who comes from a gaming background, wanted to apply a similar playful aesthetic to the buildout of Stylewhile. Users can create a digital model based on their measurements that can then be used to “try on” different garments sold via Stylewhile.
Shoppers also have the ability to connect with designers sold on the site or share their outfits with other users. Although there are existing players on the market that allow for mixing and matching of outfits — Polyvore being one of the more established players — Haaramo said Stylewhile’s point of differentiation is at the transaction level, which does not involve shoppers being directed away from the company’s site.
“The purchase experience is very different,” she said. “Any other major e-tailer or any retailer would be our competitor but we also want to focus on the playful part of shopping so we really wanted to create the interaction there.”
The company has about 40 designers live on its site, including contemporary lines such as Study NY and Motumo, along with leather-goods brand Twisted Aristocrat. Much of the focus has been on emerging brands, with Seychelles representing a more established player partnering with the relatively young company.
Stylewhile initially launched with a European site that had been in beta mode during the summer. It’s now officially launching in Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia with news of the Seychelles deal.
Stylewhile, to date, has raised $1.5 million in outside investment from Lifeline Ventures, Reaktor Polte, Harwick Overseas and Royal Majestics.