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Emily McDonald, founder of The Stylist LA, grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma but moved to Los Angeles at 18 to attend school at USC. While she was pursuing a degree in Business Entrepreneurship, she was also interning in Fashion PR and it was that combination that led to the idea for her company. "I saw how celebrities borrowed clothes from designers," McDonald explained. "I also saw girls at school who needed new dresses for every occasion but didn't want to buy a $400 dress and at the same time didn't want to buy a $20 dress and have it look cheap." She wrote her first business plan for The Stylist LA at her kitchen table while she was still at USC and later went on to attend FIDM. In 2009, her dream company became a reality.
The Stylist LA works two different ways, online rentals or actual showroom appointments where the client can try on different dresses and either leave with her choices or reserve in advance. After it is worn, the client simply drops the dress in the mail and The Stylist LA will have it drycleaned upon its return. With popular brands like Boulee, Parker, Naven and Nightcap, there are dresses available for any occasion from a wedding to a weekend away in Vegas. Rental fees range from $30-$85 and dresses can be out for 5-7 days.
On paper, people might compare The Stylist LA's dress borrowing to Rent the Runway but that is where the similarities end. "We focus more on personal experience," McDonald says of her services, which often include trunk shows and pre-selecting items to help the client narrow down their choices. "While Rent the Runway targets the masses, our clientele is already trendy and fashionable. These are fun, west coast girls who just want access to these brands and don't want to buy a new dress every weekend."
We met up with McDonald, who's company just celebrated the opening of a brand new Venice showroom, at one of her favorite juice spots in Playa del Rey where we talked reality television, LA dating and embarrassing fashion moments.
What are you drinking today?
"The Green Machine. I love all green juices."
What's your favorite children's movie?
"Beauty and the Beast."
Paper or Plastic?
Describe a typical night out.
"We make dinner and drinks at our house and go out in Manhattan Beach. Then, probably end up at Shellback playing flip cup."
North Bay or South Bay?
What is your all-time most embarrassing fashion moment?
"Oh this is good! My friends in Oklahoma will know what I'm talking about. I wore one of those Juicy [Couture] terry cloth dresses with lace-up heels that laced up around my ankles. It was my friend's 19th birthday party."
Hollywood Bowl or Staples Center?
"A Celine bag."
Beer or Wine?
What's your favorite reality show?
"It's usually the Bachelor/Bachelorette. Right now though, I'm really getting addicted to the Real Housewives of Orange County."
Which Housewife is your favorite?
"I love Heather!"
What is the last song you listened to?
"Miley Cyrus' new song. We Can't Stop."
Christmas or Fourth of July?
What is the best vacation you've ever been on?
"My best vacation was when I was 23, I went to Italy for two weeks, my little sister was studying abroad. We traveled around and I was obsessed with Venice. I drank so much wine, ate so much pasta and shopping the leather mart in Florence is just ridiculous."
Magazine or Blog Roll?
What was your last big purchase?
What is the next book on your to-read list?
"The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. But I read a lot of business books, I'm a nerd."
Fries or Salad?
What is your Coffee Bean order?
"Large iced non-fat sugar free vanilla latte."
What has been your worst LA dating experience?
"I went on a date with this guy, he didn't order anything to drink and when it came time to order food, he ordered a salmon-wait, he's going to read this. But, he ordered 'salmon salad, dressing on the side, salmon cooked in no oil.' I had pizza! I was like, 'we're never going on another date again.'"
What quote are you living for right now?
"I really like 'Luck is what you make it,' because I think you make your own luck."
· The Stylist LA [Official Site]
· Yulia Drummond Loves to Hike, Still Checks Out Library Books [Racked]
· Khue Trihn of Rising Sun & Co. Likes to Bend the Rules [Racked]
· Ripley Rader Is a Girl's Girl, Loves Sequins and Nights Out [Racked]