Social media is filled with fashion inspiration, but so far there haven’t been tools available to regular women who want to get styled or made up like a celebrity. Likewise, few stylists have online platforms that allow them to field and work with clients virtually. Glamhive is a new site that aims to connect women with stylists and makeup artists, in real time, to help them create and shop for specific outfits or looks.
The idea came to founder and chief executive officer Stephanie Sprangers after years of working for affiliate marketing and digital rewards sites such as MyPoints.com. She initially started the company as a place for a consumer to share images of their outfits and get rewarded for the purchases they drive. Taking the fashion blogger phenomenon and making all fashion lovers “bloggers” with a referral commission, Sprangers soon realized that more women actually wanted to connect with the stylists they followed in Hollywood and on Instagram.
“I realized that there was no way for regular consumers to access stylists online. There was a gap between the personal shopper in a department store, an automated style questionnaire, or a robot ‘chat’ on a e-commerce site,” said the Seattle-based Sprangers.
Given the ample talent pool of programmers in her hometown, Sprangers developed a platform where stylists could offer their services and communicate in real time, cull pieces from hundreds of online retailers and send buyers outfit images with links of where to buy specific pieces at any price point. The stylist receives an affiliate commission on all purchases, while clients receive points to use toward more styling sessions.
Glamhive recruited celebrity stylists such as Tara Swennen, who works with Kristen Stewart and Julie Bowen, and Jeff Kim, who works with Michael B. Jordan, as well as others from around the world who have built Instagram followings but not the means to connect with potential clients one-on-one.
Each stylist has a page where they can share a profile and portfolio, as well as social media images, along with services offered and rates. For example, a 30-minute video session could run from $150, after which the stylist and client can exchange photos, messages and links to shop retailers ranging from Nordstrom to Neiman Marcus to J. Crew. Follow-up sessions to create more individual outfits start at $25.
“As much as we all live for doing red carpet, I like to put my hands in different pots. I like the access it gives me to people who aren’t necessarily in the industry,” said Swennen. “I got into the business because I like the idea of making people feel empowered and I like dressing real women with real sizes and real issues.”
She added, “It’s a great resource considering the ebb and flow of our business and if we have a window of time we can be helping someone in Minnesota or Texas find that perfect work or wedding outfit at any budget.”
The company’s platform development and launch was funded by investors including Jonathan Sposato, chairman of PicMonkey and Geekwire; Marc Kwiatkowski of Facebook; the Seattle Angel Conference, and a syndicate of other early-stage investors.