‘Tis definitely the age of e-commerce. Why schlep to the store when you can have a new bag or dress delivered right to your door, all with a simple click of the mouse? Between the Gilt Groupes and Ideelis of the world, it’s hard to make a new shopping site stand out as particularly unique. But Olga Vidisheva did just that.
Her website, Shoptiques, offers apparel and accessories in a range of price and styles. Each piece has a certain flair or detail that makes it special, ensuring that your purchase will add a new dynamic to your wardrobe and become something you will turn to again and again.
The proof that Vidisheva got things right? Her relatively new site already has quite a following — and a long waiting list. Pretty impressive considering the flock of e-commerce sites competing for the few coveted spots on the “must shop” list.
We chatted with Vidisheva to find out the history behind the site’s creation and how the Russian model — who the NY Post calls “new face of Harvard Business School” — curates the beautiful selection of merchandise on Shoptiques. Scroll down to read our interview!
1. What was your inspiration to start the site?
Interestingly, the idea and inspiration for Shoptiques.com started in Paris (as many things do) when I was finishing my second year in investment banking. Walking down the streets of Paris, you can not help but be fascinated by the fashion, architecture, style, and…boutiques! I remember stumbling upon a tiny, friendly, original boutique on a random street. I knew I couldn’t leave empty-handed once the owner showed me ‘The Phoebe Cham Pour Schu’ pair of shoes. Sitting in their beautiful box with a hand-crafted bow, they were the perfect memory to take from Paris…and take I did!
I always wanted to return to Paris to that little shop, but never could and they didn’t have an online boutique. Instead, I discovered wonderful little boutiques here in the United States, which all provide the same amazing experience: stunning, hard-to-find, hand-picked fashion with owners who have invaluable advice to help women look and feel beautiful. If you shop at boutiques, you will always look different than those around you, whether at an event or on the street.
Hence the idea for Shoptiques.com was born. To be the first fashion destination to provide women with the amazing boutique experience online and boutiques the opportunity to showcase their inventory to the audience they could never reach. If you live far away, are busy, or simply do not know where the best boutiques are hiding, Shoptiques.com has everything you need for the ultimate shopping experience. It brings fashionistas the best US boutiques online, so that women everywhere can be themselves, and be different.
2. What was your first move once you came up with the idea for Shoptiques?
Right after my trip to Paris where the idea was born, I went off to attend Harvard Business School. I used my second year of business school to refine the idea, create a business plan (I was one of the semi-finalists for the business plan competition at HBS), interview boutiques to understand what exactly is important to them in such a platform and study customers’ needs and wants as it relates to boutique shopping in-store and online.
3. Who are your style inspirations?
It is a very interesting question. I believe my style has been truly shaped by my grandmother. She always made each of the trends her own without caring what others would say or think. She rocked minimalism and boho during the post-Soviet time in Russia and now in the US. Being chic comes from within and from being individualistic and that is what she taught me. If I had to pinpoint celebrities whose style I respect, it would be Mary-Kate, Ashley Olsen and Carey Mulligan. All smart young women who make each piece of clothing their own and dress differently and with individuality.
4. How do you decide what merchandise you want to feature on your site?
Here at Shoptiques.com, we find the best boutiques in each city through referrals, analyzing product uniqueness, customer reviews and suggestions. Each participating boutique brings something different to the site and to every woman that shops here: whether it is one of a kind vintage-inspired jewelry at Old Hollywood or a selection of international local designers at Babel Fair. After that, boutiques select the best items they would like to feature on Shoptiques.com. Boutique owners spend days upon days finding the best local designers, selecting the best inventory and we believe in their power of really truly knowing what women would like to own, so we leave it up to them to select the items, once we have selected those boutiques.
5. What are your future plans for Shoptiques?
I want Shoptiques.com to become a global brand. Wouldn’t it be fun to explore the streets and fashion of Tokyo or Paris right in your home through Shoptiques.com? We’re also helping small unique local businesses compete in the world filled with big corporations, so shopping through Shoptiques helps local boutiques strive long-term. And we help consumers to look different and unique. There are consumers who enjoy shopping and entrepreneurs who start boutiques in every country and city, and we want to facilitate the creative exchange of style and self-expression everywhere.