Interview with Adela Hussain, founder of Style Lyrical
Read how Adela Hussain was inspired to launch Style Lyrical, a personal stylist/clothing delivery service, by her own busy lifestyle. And how surrounding herself with fellow entrepreneurs gave her the boost she needed to get the business off the ground.
What’s your career background?
I was a management consultant for 13 years at Accenture, Moorhouse and Sky focusing on company transformations, mergers, acquisitions and launches.
My last role was in the Strategy team at Sky where I worked on the launch of new products and a large-scale digital transformation of some key parts of the business.
Where did the idea for Style Lyrical come from?
Style Lyrical was born out of a desire to help busy women, who feel overwhelmed in the morning while wondering what to wear.
As a former management consultant in London, I struggled to find the time to shop for beautiful clothes at the weekend or online in my lunchbreaks. Instead I would grab a few pieces, every Monday morning, from the same store at Terminal Five in Heathrow on my way flying out to meet clients.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
Whilst still working in my corporate job, I did a proof of concept test and hired a stylist to complete a simple version of the service for a pool of customers. It was a success and that led me to quit my job.
My personal network in London was very corporate-filled which is perfect from a customer perspective, but not great for the entrepreneurial mind-set. So, last year I left London and worked at an entrepreneurial centre called Hubud for three months in Bali.
There I developed my business plan, acquired an investor, launched my website, attracted my first supplier and developed my packaging and branding. My productivity soared and I believe this was down to the fact that every day I was surrounded by driven and supportive entrepreneurs.
What’s your USP?
We are the first service for women in the UK marrying personal styling with clothing delivery. Our professional stylists handpick three outfits that reflect a customer’s personal style and taste from carefully selected boutique brands and deliver them straight to her door.
All pieces are delivered in a beautifully packaged Style Box along with personalised style cards showing how to put each outfit together. Our customers love this and this personalisation makes our service exceptional.
In addition, we allow our customers to take seven days to try on the clothes, decide what they love, then return what they don’t with free shipping.
Who’s your target audience?
We focus specifically for busy corporate women and full time mothers who lack time to shop due to demanding work and home lives. We also cater for women who dislike or feel uncomfortable shopping for a number of reasons.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
We market our service via multiple channels – social media, pop up events, news articles, influencers, corporate events and partnerships.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
Managing a tight cashflow whilst trying to attract a customer base. We are a start up and have deliberately taken the organic route to growing without seeking huge sums of investment up front. I believe in constantly listening to customers and shaping the company as it grows.
This strategy has meant our marketing budget is tight, but it has also taught us to be highly efficient with any expenditure and constantly seek new ways of getting out there.
And your proudest moment so far?
Launching on Facebook via my private network and within three weeks being invited in to style 30 women at Accenture. I’ve been overwhelmed by the support of all my former employers.
Why is work so important to you?
Work is important to me because I enjoy the intellectual problem-solving. I am constantly forced to think, test ideas and work out solutions. The greatest reward is also building a team around me and coaching each team member to grow and develop and take on the daily challenges of a start up.
Who inspires you?
My parents are a huge source of inspiration because, despite their lack of formal education or personal network, they successfully grew their own retail business.
Other sources of inspiration are female entrepreneurs and leaders such as Baroness Martha Lane Fox, Vanessa Vallely and Suzy Greaves.
How do you balance Style Lyrical with your personal life?
Every Monday I set out personal and work goals. Every Sunday I review these and reflect on what worked well and what didn’t during the week. This allows me to see if my work-life balance isn’t working and take action for the following week.
Personal goals are just as important as professional goals as they will help you achieve balance and ensure your energy levels are topped up throughout the week.
What are your three top tips for other aspiring entrepreneurs?
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help and spend as much time as you can with other entrepreneurs either by working for one or working alongside many.
- Get comfortable with the notion of failure otherwise a fear of it can prevent us from seizing opportunities. Take risks and constantly stretching yourself out of your comfort zone to grow and learn.
- Help and support other women who are asking for help. Often helping someone is a selfless act, but I believe in putting good karma out there, as it will always come back to you.
You can find out more about Style Lyrical on their website.