Stylebook app has become one of the best selling apps in iTunes for its quick and easy usability, as its efficiency. Loved by users all around the globe, I decided it was a good idea to organise a chat with one half of the app-co founder duo, Jess Atkins…
Hi Jess! Can you tell me (and my readers) a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Jess Atkins – formerly Moore, but my co-founder Bill and I were just married in September. I’m 27 and have a BFA from NYU in photography. I worked in magazine publishing prior to working on Stylebook I. Currently, Bill and I live and work in Princeton, NJ.
Firstly, CONGRATS on being newly weds! How does that feel?
Thanks – it feels amazing! We were very lucky that all of the stars aligned on our wedding day, haha! The weather was perfect and the rooms looked exactly the way we wanted them too. We even had a lot of cool photo ops because there was a carnival across the street, and now I’m married to my best friend!
It sounds incredible. What is it like being married to and working so closely everyday to your business partner?
It’s fun! We get along really well, so it’s very easy to work together.
So, back to Stylebook. How did the app first come about?
The initial inspiration came from some of my experiences interning in the fashion closets at Vogue and Modern Bride, where I was tasked with keeping track of clothing samples. A few years later, I needed an easy way to keep track of my own work wardrobe. Around that time, Bill wanted to make an app and I convinced him that a closet management program would be a good idea.
Was it a mutual decision to go into this together?
Well at the time, Bill and I were dating, so we made Stylebook a fun side project. We both had very demanding jobs and wanted something fun to do on the weekends.
That’s certainly different to the usual cinema and dinner dates. What do you do in your spare time?
At the moment, Bill and I are learning to speak Italian and how to cook. We got a million appliances as wedding gifts and we’re determined to use them all! So far we’ve successfully made ice cream, macaroons, lemon meringue pie, and BBQ pulled pork. We’re going to start making healthier foods soon – I swear!
So maybe we can look forward to a food-type app someday?
Hmm that’s a good idea!
Did you think that Stylebook would become as popular as it has done?
Honestly, we didn’t think anyone would even see it. We made it just for kicks and because I wanted to be able to use it myself.
You’ve been vaguely described as the “former Vogue fashion cupboard intern”. Can you tell me what your time at Vogue was like?
It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I worked with three or four other interns to track and record all of the clothing samples that passed between Vogue and PR offices. Our work included keeping written records of when clothes arrived at the magazine, when they were returned, packing suitcases for photo shoots and hand-delivering items to the the offices of Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta, Proenza Schouler, and countless other designers. Hundreds of items pass through every week – we worked 10-hour days. It was hard work, but I learned a lot about being organized and efficient.
That was my first real experience with the fashion industry and I got a firsthand education about who all the important designers were. Some days I would just marvel at how beautiful and priceless the clothes were. I got to handle nearly everything that came in and out of the closet while I was there – including iconic pieces like Alexander McQueen’s famed dried-and-fresh-flower Sarabande gown. I was exhausted at the end but I’ll be forever grateful for that experience.
What was your chosen career path then? Has it changed now since Stylebook?
I always wanted to work in fashion. Initially, I thought I would work as a photo editor or graphic designer.
Do you have any favourite designers?
I love Diane von Furstenberg! I packed a couple of her dresses for our honeymoon – they looked good and were crazy comfortable!
I agree, DVF has beautiful collections each season. They are absolutely fab!
How would you describe your personal style?
I look for simple and patterned items in interesting colours.
Do you have any style icons you admire?
Olivia Palermo, Kerry Washington, Hanneli Mustaparta.
Since creating/publishing the app, what have been your highs/lows?
It’s lovely to get a random notes or emails from someone who uses the app everyday and enjoys it. It was surreal the first time we got an email from someone we didn’t know (I think she was from Germany). I thought, “Wow, something we made is positively affecting a random woman’s life thousands of miles away.” On the other hand, we work our butts off and sometimes it can be difficult to hear negative reactions to the app, but that comes with the territory when you publish something you’ve worked on.
Has creating the app opened any doors for you?
I was on the Tyra Banks Show once, which blew my mind. It was exciting to meet Tyra – it felt like I was dreaming.
What would you suggest to my readers who want to intern at Vogue (or other mags)?
Have a good attitude, be excited, and stay open to learning new things! Don’t ever think that getting coffee is below you or that you know everything already. A professor (at Uni) once told me, “Never complain and never explain.” It’s difficult, but try your best to live by that rule. If something goes wrong, don’t spend 10 minutes making excuses – just do you best to fix the problem with a positive attitude.
Remember that there are limited positions and sometimes you won’t get the exact job you wanted, but stay determined. Keep looking, as there may be something better waiting for you somewhere else.
Can you give any tips/advice to my readers that want to create their very own app just like you and Bill did?
Make something you would use yourself!
If you hadn’t created the app, what do you think you’d have done/been doing instead?
Probably still be working in the Lucky Art Department! However in my wildest fantasy, I’d be an art historian and textile conservationist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
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Follow Jess and her partner Bill on Twitter: @stylebookapp.
Visit their website Stylebookapp.com.