Scrolling through photos of artfully arranged coffee tables, perfectly symmetrical acai bowls and seemingly impossible yoga poses on social media, it’s easy to feel like that aspirational lifestyle is beyond reach. But newly launched app ShareStyle could bring you a step closer.
The brainchild of Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones, co-founders of AllBright, a funding platform for female-led businesses, ShareStyle is a digital marketplace for lifestyle services. Through the mobile app, you can access expert help from an army of personal stylists, nutritionists, photographers, interior decorators and other creative professionals on demand. As Jones explains, it’s like having a little black book of coveted contacts – names that those in the know would normally try to keep under wraps. “Debbie and I started chatting and we thought: ‘wouldn’t it be great to have access to the people who can help you make those aspirational images from social media a reality?’” she says.
Like many other platforms that form part of the growing sharing economy, ShareStyle allows people to book services as and when they need them while enabling service providers to pick how much work they take on. It will also allow the providers to set their own rates and let the market decide if they’re reasonable, side-stepping one of the thorniest aspects of the sharing economy: staying competitively priced while paying people a fair income. “So many people are choosing to have flexible or plural careers – my nanny is studying psychotherapy, for example – but the trouble is they’re often underemployed and struggle to find work,” says Jones. “We think people should be paid fairly for their skills.”
As for the app’s clientele, the founders had a clear picture of who they would be from the start. “Sitting in Soho House, I see my target audience all around me: professional, time-poor but with enough disposable income to surround themselves with beautiful things and achieve their lifestyle goals,” says Jones. But ShareStyle isn’t just for the immaculately manicured Soho House set: prices range from £30 to £300 per hour, depending on the professional’s experience. “It’s more about having a certain mindset rather than your income level,” she says.
And to give their new venture the best start possible, Wosskow and Jones have assembled something of a dream team by plucking talent from the social media world and other sharing-economy businesses. Alexandra Cappy, former head of operations at Uber, has been appointed managing director, while Jo Lavender, former UK head of brand at Pinterest, will act as chief marketing officer. “Alexandra brings her experience with Uber to the table – a brand that’s built a playbook and then rolled out city by city – while Jo understands from her time at Pinterest how to build a community and listen to your audience,” says Jones.
Having launched ShareStyle in London on February 5, the duo plans to scale the business in the UK and build up a roster of professional providers before conquering the US market in cities like LA and New York. “A product won’t necessarily change your life but spending time with an expert might,” says Jones. “People are seeking experiences these days and ShareStyle caters to that.” With so many heavy-hitters backing the venture, we’ll certainly be keeping our eyes on this one.