Tech Tastes Wine: Meet Stylepilot CEO Stefan Maurel



Buy tickets here for the next Tech Tastes Wine on Jan 14th 2015

Stefan Maurel was one of our guest speakers at the first Tech Tastes Wine that took place last October at Google Campus. He took time from his super busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.  Stefan worked for one of the most loved automotive brands in France, it was a delight to hear him speak about the menswear e-commerce space, and the exciting times ahead for Stylepilot.

Maya Plentz:  You have an impressive track record, delivering to global brands such as Renault. You had your own tech start-up before and managed global marketing for Blurb. What is like to be running a menswear platform? What are the most extraordinary things you learned about the menswear space that you did not know before?

Stefan Maurel: To be completely honest, this was terrifying but in a good way.  I have been passionate about fashion for a long time, especially the e-commerce sector in menswear. It is a booming market with lots happening for both retailers and designers and it draws a lot of attention as to what the brands have to offer to the modern man. Seeing how the market has evolved radically over the last few years, I felt strongly about delivering a strong business platform where the focus is about the interaction with the consumers and delivering what’s important for men.

I’m always learning something new every day. We have a great team who is passionate about menswear and not just the trend-based fashion but also relating to style which allows us exercise our knowledge amongst ourselves. We feel lucky to be in a city like London, a major fashion hub for both heritage brands and emerging talents who are setting the scene as global leaders (ahead of Paris or Milan).

For me, it is exciting to learn the customer’s point of view and the way men interact with fashion. Men prefer talking about style more than fashion trends and I believe that is the driving force for constant reinvention for the brands. Interaction over all social media channels is something I share a great deal of interest and again there is a prominent difference in how men communicate on social platform from women. One of the interesting example we have noticed is that our audience are more comfortable relating to street style than red carpet looks.

It is also great to know the brands closely and see how they develop season after season through their collections. One of the highlights of running a menswear platform is being able to attend menswear week which broadens your horizon about the scope and possibilities the brands and designers have to offer.

Maya Plentz: How do men shop? How different from women it is?

Stefan Maurel: It is very interesting to see the significant behavioural difference between men and women when it comes to shopping online. Normally guys are stereotyped as the gender who don’t pay attention to their appearance when they are buying an item of clothing and are completely oblivious to the ever changing fashion forecasts. But on the contrary, men are often more style conscious and prefer to have signature pieces they can utilise as essentials in their wardrobe. With womenswear there are extensive choices and can be very experimental with colours cuts and prints. Menswear can be very challenging as the options are more product focused rather than trend based. Men look for some definitive guides as to what will make them look stylish as they generally don’t look for a complete outfit when they shop. This is where StylePilot comes in and we are here to help with the recommendations for the perfect style for any occasion.

Maya Plentz: What is the business model for Stylepilot? How big is the market?

Stefan Maurel: The menswear market especially in UK is having one of the most exciting times right now. Since the launch of our very own menswear week it has been a booming business and has grown by 18% in the last 5 years. The future is even more promising since the growth forecast is estimated at 27% over the next 5 years. So the market is ever expanding and there are many great opportunities for brands, retailers and e-commerce.

Our business model focuses on a multifaceted revenue mix involving search through enhanced profile, tactical promotions and sponsorships. We also look at business intelligence (which involve data reports and consultancy), working closely with affiliate platforms and more importantly advertising that not only targeted as segment specific but also towards non-fashion, advertising e.g. grooming, motoring & lifestyle.

Maya Plentz: Lessons learned from running your own start-up that help you see the bigger picture now, as you approached repositioning the StylePilot brand?

Stefan Maurel: The key focus should always be prioritisation. You have to have a clear vision about where you see your business in the long term but at the same not to be side-tracked with future propositions and hold your focus on the attention to details.

Absolutely essential to learn to say no to being overwhelmed by the day-to-day demands of the business that are not essentially supportive towards the goal. You have to be very agile to adapt your strategy to the business environment you are working in and be open to constructive criticisms; use the feedback to grow and stay focused on the targets you need to achieve. Always make the difference between the ‘nice-to-have’ and the ‘must-have’. Finally, as the saying goes ‘the customer is always right’; put your customer’s satisfaction at the core of your business.

Buy tickets here for the next Tech Tastes Wine on Jan 14th 2015