Pavel Presnyakov is a co-founder of the Pullquest clothing rental service. Brands, stylists and fashion editors of glossy magazines use this service to find the appropriate outfit for celebrities, filming or red carpet.
In a short time, the startup managed to become a functioning online platform with regular bookings. How they did it and how Pullquest works, Pavel told in a blitz interview for L’Officiel Online.
Why did you decide to do business?
This was a long-standing desire back in the days of the institute, at the age of 17 I accidentally went into business – I founded a company with friends that organized sports events. It was a very interesting and exciting experience and quite a successful business for our years, but for the next 6 years before moving to the USA, I was engaged in sales and international business development in technology companies. And the decision to start doing Pullquest just allowed to use the accumulated expertise and become an entrepreneur again.
How does Pullquest work? How popular is the platform among fashion insiders?
Our service can be compared to Airbnb, only for renting clothes for fashion professionals: celebrity stylists, fashion editors, costume designers, etc., who need outfits for filming for work. It is much easier for them to book a thing online than to drive around the city in search of a suitable item.
On the other hand, brands spend a lot of money on PR so that celebrities appear in their clothes at events or, for example, on the set for fashion publications.
We help them meet online – brands and PR showrooms pay us to be able to get the attention of stylists and editors, who in turn get a more convenient way to find the right outfit.
Why did you choose such a narrow niche?
We originally planned this as the first step to enter the market – there is rather weak competition in this segment, while it has a huge impact on the entire industry. All players look at the celebrities and brands that dress them.
In addition, having started working with expensive brands, it is quite easy to then attract more democratic brands that want to be in the same row with them. Moving from the bottom up would be practically impossible.
How is the work process going? Here I am, a stylist, I want to rent some dresses for shooting. You act only as an intermediary, then do I negotiate directly with the brand?
That's right, we only act as a technology platform. Thus, we do not have our own inventory and we do not participate in communication between the parties.
Everything is arranged in much the same way as in any online store. The stylist finds the necessary items and adds them to the basket, but instead of paying he indicates all the information about the upcoming project – a list of participants, what kind of event, dates, etc. Then the brand or showroom receives an application, they see the information provided by the stylist and make a decision whether they will provide the requested things. If they agree, they both receive a letter with contact information and they agree on how to transfer the things.
What happens if the item is damaged or lost during the shooting? Is there a letter of guarantee that the stylist signs when renting? Is there a deposit amount?
Standard practice is for the publication that organizes the filming to provide a letter of guarantee. But even when this is not the case, when booking, the stylist sees the market value of all things, and also accepts the terms of the agreement, which says that in case of any damage it will need to be covered. In addition, you need to link your credit card to your account, so if something happens, we charge it.
It is a well-known fact that no one wants to share their contacts. How did you, an outsider, manage to establish contact and attract the attention of stylists and photographers to the project?
At the initial stage, we used the contacts of my business partner – she used to run a small clothing brand and already knew some stylists. And then we decided to involve in the team someone who already has all the necessary contacts. For example, we brought in stylist Jane Fonda and Kate Winslet Tanya Gill as advisors, as well as stylist Keanu Reeves and Robert Downey Jean Young. This helped us a lot in getting users to the platform.
In addition, from the very beginning we made a bet on the fact that we need to attract the top players in the industry, because everyone else will follow them. And so it happened – for the opportunity to work with stylists from The Hollywood Reporter's top 25 ratings, brands wanted to be on the platform. And due to the presence of some popular brands, many eminent stylists have joined.
A somewhat relevant platform now, after the worldwide lockdown? Have you started filming teams and renting things again?
Now the online presence for many brands and showrooms has become much more relevant than before. Several companies that had hesitated for a long time finally decided on the article by our clients, someone new came.
In terms of reservations, everything practically stopped in April, but now it has already begun to recover. So, for example, in June there were already 3 times more bookings than in May, and almost reached the level of autumn 2019. True, so far this is happening only due to filming for publications and media, no social events, which accounted for a large share before. until it passes.
In addition, we are now launching a new direction – a section for buyers, where they can order their favorite collections in bulk. Due to the cancellation of trade shows and conferences where retailers have bought in the past, many brands want to be able to accept bulk orders online by the fall.
How many people use the platform on a daily basis?
In terms of days, the statistics are now not very representative, but in general, 400+ stylists are currently registered on the site who work with such celebrities as Celine Dion, Zendaya, Ariana Grande, Cate Blanchett, Dakota Fanning, Penelope Cruz and many others. Reservations are made almost daily, and there are several dozen requests a day.
What brands do you work with?
On the other hand, we have about 80 brands and PR showrooms. Among the presented ones there are both completely exclusive couture brands from the Middle East, such as Hassidriss or Jean Louis Sabaji, and more democratic ones, such as Rebecca Minkoff, The Kooples and Furla.
What future do you envision for the platform? Will it be international?
The platform is already international – we have brands from 7 countries. And when the wholesale section is fully operational, the geography will expand even more – after all, buyers will be from all over the world.
Our global vision for the future is to create a service where a designer can solve all his business problems in one place – organize PR, work with distributors, communicate with suppliers, etc. Thus, we want to simplify all non-core work for a creative person … And now we are concentrating only on fashion, but in the future we want to cover other industries as well.
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