Style Theory: Revolutionizing the fashion industry with Google Kubernetes Engine

About Style Theory

Style Theory is a subscription-based fashion rental service that offers the chance to build an infinite wardrobe of high-quality designer pieces affordably, conveniently, and sustainably. Founded in Singapore in 2016 by Raena Lim and Chris Halim, it counters today’s throw-away culture by encouraging its growing base of more than 130,000 fashion lovers to rent, not buy.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Singapore

Style Theory saves costs by migrating to Google Cloud and improves time to market for new product launches by using Google Kubernetes Engine to create a more efficient infrastructure.

Google Cloud Results

  • Reduces time to market from days to minutes
  • Helps enable better decision making processes with the right data
  • Improves delivery accuracy by 99% with Google Maps Platform
  • Simplifies new hire onboarding processes with a single sign-in

Helps reduce operational costs from $1,400 to $30

Fashion is arguably one of the most dynamic and innovative creative industries, but it’s also known as the second largest polluter in the world. This is the insight that spurred the founders of Style Theory into starting their subscription based "fashion rental" business in 2015. The idea? Let fashion lovers rent clothing the same way they would buy it online, and thereby tackle the issue of waste and pollution one piece of clothing at a time.

"We started by targeting working women who have a lot of clothes in their wardrobe but still feel like they don't have enough to wear," says Hengky Sucanda, Head of Engineering, Style Theory. Three years later, the company is evolving into a business that goes beyond clothing rental services, starting with a designer bag consignment service. While this is only the beginning of more to come, everything it does goes back to its business philosophy of helping the environment. "We are really looking into sustainable consumption, and want to ensure that our service, regardless of what the product is, continues to stay true to our philosophy," says Hengky.

Optimizing operations and cost savings with Google Cloud

To set itself apart from its competitors, Style Theory is always innovating and experimenting with new ideas that address the lifestyle needs of its customers in a sustainable way. Whether it's launching new services or improving workflows, the company is constantly testing and developing new data chains. Since it migrated to Google Cloud in 2017, it has been able to cut its deployment time down from days to just minutes, allowing for more time to spend on improving its services

"It used to take us hours or even days to develop a new data value chain, but with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), it only takes five to 10 minutes to build a new environment, where data developments can happen in parallel," says Setyven. He adds that the speed of deployment frees up time for analysts to think more creatively around solving business problems, rather than being held back by issues relating to infrastructure.

"Google Kubernetes Engine really helps with continuous integration (CI). It has simplified our deployment process significantly, enabling us to deploy more frequently. This is helpful as we are able to market specific features easily and quickly, to continuously improve the user experience for our clients," he adds.

Before GKE, Style Theory only had one server, so there was often a long queue causing a bottleneck in the system. Now, its analysts and engineers can run separate environments whenever they need to, or even have two environments running concurrently if they are working on different sets of data changes.

On top of this, since using BigQuery, the company has lowered its operating costs significantly. "We reduced our monthly costs by 15 times. Spending less on infrastructure means that we can spend more on our customers by growing our apparel collection," says Setyven, Head of Data at Style Theory. He adds that with Google Cloud, the company can also store its docker images for deployment purposes without paying for any third-party service, something that was not possible before.

"Google Kubernetes Engine really helps with continuous integration (CI). It has simplified our deployment process significantly, enabling us to deploy more frequently. This is helpful as we are able to market specific features easily and quickly, to continuously improve the user experience for our clients."

Hengky Sucanda, Head of Engineering, Style Theory

Using data to understand customers better

Singapore and Indonesia are two very distinct markets, so Style Theory takes on a different business approach in each country to cater to its customers' needs and lifestyles. "In Singapore, the percentage of women in the workplace is a lot higher than in Indonesia. As such, we get many subscriptions around the workwear collection in Singapore. Meanwhile in Indonesia, we have to provide a larger range of hijab collection because many women are Muslims," says Hengky.

With so many variables in large markets such as Indonesia, it uses BigQuery to extract and analyze data to help with its future planning and decision-making processes. "As we continue to grow, understanding the market better is a priority for us. Through BigQuery, we can easily analyze data and determine what the next steps are for us in terms of expansion and identifying our target market," says Hengky.

Style Theory is also looking to move beyond its subscription model and rent on a per need basis. Clothing rental subscription is not something that people are familiar with in Indonesia, but they are willing to rent on demand when the need arises. "One of the gaps we've identified using BigQuery is that there is a market for on demand rental in Indonesia, especially for formal wear. People shouldn’t need to buy a special dress just to attend a wedding, for example, so catering to needs such as this is something we are now looking to bring to the Indonesian market."

Another problem that Style Theory faced when it launched its service in Indonesia was delivering the products to the right address. But since using Google Maps Platform, the company has managed to improve its delivery accuracy by 99%. "Unlike Singapore where postal codes pinpoint exact locations, addresses can be quite difficult to find in Indonesia. Maps SDK for Android and Maps SDK for iOS, together with Places API help solve this problem by allowing customers to drop a pin on their location, so that their items can be delivered to the right place," says Hengky.

Improving internal processes with G Suite

As the company grows, the number of employees and inventory increases. Using G Suite has helped the company keep its internal processes organized as it continues to scale.

"We depend a lot on Sites to provide the onboarding material for new employees. Having a single sign-in with the Gmail address also makes the onboarding process really simple," says Sucanda.

"As we continue to grow, understanding the market better is a priority for us. Through BigQuery, we can easily analyze data and determine what the next steps are for us in terms of expansion and identifying our target market."

Setyven, Head of Data, Style Theory

It also uses Docs, Sheets, and Slides for its everyday operations, because having everything in the cloud means that employees can collaborate easily when working on documents. "We share a lot of information and upload all our files on Drive. This has made it a lot easier to manage our projects, as we can consolidate or separate the individual projects accordingly. Having everything in one place also means that we can monitor our costs better as we have visibility on all the moving pieces," says Sety.

"With proper infrastructures in place, we’re ready to grow our business in new directions, delivering a more sustainable way to consume goods in the region and internationally. We’re already looking into building user-generated content within our app and pairing it with Google AI," says Hengky.

"Unlike Singapore where postal codes pinpoint exact locations, addresses can be quite difficult to find in Indonesia. Google Maps Platform helps solve this problem by allowing customers to drop a pin on their location, so that their items can be delivered to the right place."

Hengky Sucanda, Head of Engineering, Style Theory

About Style Theory

Style Theory is a subscription-based fashion rental service that offers the chance to build an infinite wardrobe of high-quality designer pieces affordably, conveniently, and sustainably. Founded in Singapore in 2016 by Raena Lim and Chris Halim, it counters today’s throw-away culture by encouraging its growing base of more than 130,000 fashion lovers to rent, not buy.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: Singapore
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Try Kubernetes Engine, BigQuery, and other Cloud Platform products with $300 in free credit and 12 months.

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