Liylah combines designer gown rental, gown consignment and the personal shopping experience in one place for the modestly dressed woman.
We asked Shirah,CEO of Liylah if she has had any experience in the fashion industry. (because nobody likes a 'hairdresser with bad hair '...)
“I’ve been dressing women for over 15 years.” I opened a trendy maternity boutique in Pikesville, Maryland in 2000. Besides the brick and mortar store we were the very first maternity e-commerce site, back when if you skipped the ‘www’ you weren’t finding the web site. ( I know, I'm getting old!) I did everything from styling customers to many buying trips to designers and everything in between!
After about 10 years I sold the business and was home with my baby for a few years. When it was time to get back to work, I decided a simple fashion related job would be great. I went to work at Nordstrom. They are big on promoting within so they make you start from the bottom . I started in the lingerie department fitting bras ( knowing how to fit women in the right bra is a game changer!) and moved on a few weeks later to the contemporary designer departments. A few weeks after that I was promoted to a Personal Stylist based on my proven ability to wardrobe clients and the quantity of my repeat customers.
After a few years I realized that I was so limited wardrobing customers within the walls of Nordstrom so I went out on my own to develop a Personal Stylist business independently so I could style my clients with clothing from countless stores and price points.
I’ve been a stylist ever since and have a solid repeat business solely based on word of mouth. I have never had a need to advertise . I love my clients and have formed close relationships with them! After all as a woman, our body image and wardrobe choices are one of the most intimate parts about us!”
Well that answered that! But before we moved on from that part of the interview we asked Shirah what kind of feedback she gets from her clients.
“ I think the most common thing I hear from my clients is “I just don’t understand ..how did you KNOW this would look so good on me?? I NEVER would have picked that out on my own!”
Next up we wanted to know about Liylah.com which is Shirah’s next big venture and the hot topic amongst most modestly dressed women now!
We walked into this interview knowing it’s an evening wear rental site but that’s about all we knew. So we asked her how modestly dressed women have found formal dresses in the past before Liylah.com?
Here’s what she had to say:
“Some do the running around at regular retail stores , purchase a sleeveless plunging neck sheer gown and have it altered at a seamstress by adding sleeves, building up neck lines and lining sheer fabric. When it’s all said and done, they realize it looks nothing like it did to start and are no longer wowed with the dress.
The other avenue is having a gown made from scratch. This really involves pristine communication between the customer and the seamstress and entails countless dress fitting appointments and panic when it’s not ready until right before the event, which unfortunately isn’t a rarity!"
“In my experience as a stylist, 9 out of 10 women who have a dress made find it emotionally and physically draining and disappointing and vow…. never again !”
Liylah came about because my primary concern for my clients as a stylist is to simplify and overall enhance their lives by wardrobing them. When I wardobe my clients in gowns or cocktail dresses for an event I have to be cognisant of many points. The dress has to be the perfect fit for their unique body type . It has to be at a price point they are comfortable with. It has to be a style that’s fitting for them AND needs to meet their modesty requirements. To find a piece sitting on a rack that meets all of the above is a virtual impossibility. I constantly needed to alter the dress in some capacity which meant dealing with alterations and fittings for my clients. No one enjoys the process. And even the few that don’t necessarily mind the process certainly don’t want to wear the same dress again. Or maybe they don’t even have a choice if they’re in a wedding party and are bound to a color. So either way something had to be done to change the system.
I remember standing in my client’s closet zipping this beautiful lace gown that I brought her for her friend’s wedding .
I said to her - “Sarah, Imagine an experience where from the comfort of your home you could view designer gowns that are ready to wear totally modest and at affordable prices? Somewhere you would have a stylist there for guidance if you need it".
And then I pointed to 4 gowns hanging in her closet (that I brought her for past events) and said - AND what if on that same site you could consign those gowns , make some money back ?!
And she seriously turned to me and responded “Yeah, in a perfect world!” and continued looking in the mirror.
So I said “No really Sarah, The gown is delivered to your doorstep ready to wear . No more pouring money into a dress you wore once. Your time, aggravation and disappointment will be replaced with ease, peace of mind, looking modest, and at the very height of fashion!”
THIS is Liylah.com
Rent the dress. Own the night.