Jessica Wilson, the CEO of fashion app Stashd, was one of two dozen start-up founders from the Asia Pacific to receive support from EY to accelerate their business growth plans. Last month, she attended a strategic growth forum in Rome as part of EY’s 2017 Asia-Pacific Accelerating Entrepreneurs program, which provided participants with mentoring, coaching and opportunities to network. For Wilson, it was a chance to develop her leadership skills and ‘deep dive’ into the strategy of her start-up.
Launched in November 2013, Stashd gives users access to a ‘global, digital fashion mall’ on their mobile phones. Taking inspiration from Tinder’s ‘Swipe’ UI, users browse through fashion and beauty products, swiping left to discard items or right to stash items in a centralised virtual wardrobe, where they can be stored for style inspiration or purchased.
An avid online shopper who’d produced runway shows for the Australia, New York and Paris fashion weeks, Wilson’s vision for Stashd was a one-stop-shop for fashion: “I wanted to simplify and centralise the mobile shopping process for millennials, who were finding the experience frustrating,”
Last year, Stashd launched into China off the back of Wilson’s appearance on The Next Unicorn, a Chinese reality TV series in the vein of Shark Tank, where entrepreneurs pitch their startups.
Wilson spoke to Dynamic Business about the growth of her start-up and her recent participation in EY’s 2017 Asia-Pacific Accelerating Entrepreneurs program, which involved a strategic growth forum in Rome.
Dynamic Business: Why did you apply for EY’s Accelerating Entrepreneurs program?
Wilson: I applied to gain insight into how to continue our global expansion and network with the up-and-coming global business leaders. I think it’s the responsibility of all founders to carve out time to actively invest in their own personal growth – businesses rarely outgrow their founders and core team, thus its important to keep growing and learning.
Dynamic Business: What do you think convinced EY to accept your application?
Wilson: Our presence in the e-commerce space and recent launch in China. In just under three years, we’ve grown a business with a user base spanning 136 countries, with offices in Australia in Shanghai. We’ve also been featured as one of Apple’s best new apps in 12 countries and has access to over 4,000 fashion and cosmetics brands. As the company’s non-tech co-founder, I have learned a lot during this time about running and scaling a tech business.
Dynamic Business: What do you hope to gain and what did you come away with?
Wilson: My main objective was to deep dive into our strategy with mentors and fellow attendees who had already scaled a successful fashion or e-commerce business internationally.
I learned a lot from Ex-Zalora CEO Michele Ferrario, who is the co-founder of StashAway, as well as business founders who’ve had successful fashion e-commerce exits. I find that making connections with people who have relevant first-hand experience leads to the best feedback.
Dynamic Business: Where is Stashd on its growth journey and where to next?
Wilson: We’re are currently securing new shareholders to gain access to a wealth of experience and opportunities in Australia and China. We’ll also continue to ensure we provide millennials with the go-to location for shopping the latest fashion from around the world on their mobiles.