When Stylight launched six years ago, its four founders set out to make it easier for shoppers to discover fashion brands and products online by serving as an aggregator for a multitude of e-commerce sites. Of course, the German startup wasn't the only one to land on this idea. Lyst, one of the more well-known discovery engines out there, launched two years later, in 2010; Polyvore, Pinterest and the PopSugar-owned ShopStyle play in the same space.
Having expanded across Europe, Stylight is now launching in its 14th and potentially biggest market: the U.S. While it certainly won't be the only aggregator on the block -- its competitors have had plenty of time to put down roots -- the startup does have the advantage of presenting a product polished by years of feedback from its shoppers and retail partners, as well as size. Stylight generated upwards of $250 million in revenue for its retail partners last year. (Lyst, by comparison, generated $60 million.) Guenther declined to say how much of that Stylight took home, although he noted that the company is profitable.
Users coming to the site, which houses product from 850 retailers, can create complete outfits and publish those for others to shop (a la Polyvore), or simply go about adding items to their wishlists. About 95 percent of shoppers opt for the latter, CEO Benjamin Guenther says. The vast majority of people creating outfits are fashion bloggers, who can use their Stylight presence to promote their own sites.
Because the inventory of products is so extensive, honing Stylight's search functionality and personalization features have been a huge part of the team's work, Guenther says. In contrast to competitors like Lyst, the site doesn't have a universal checkout, so shoppers are linked out to affiliate sites if they want to purchase anything.
In addition to its 130-person team in Munich, Stylight is opening offices in New York and London to help with its expansion. The site's U.S. launch partners include Gap, Ralph Lauren, Urban Outfitters, Asos and Ssense. The company wanted to debut with wide-reaching and/or multi-brand sites to build up inventory quickly before adding in more niche retailers.
Stylight's official U.S. launch is slated for October 16.