The premise of Intro, an app launched on November 17, is that it opens doors. The goal is to lower the barrier between an aspiring entrepreneur, designer or stylist, or simply a person with a self-improvement goal, and the experts in the corresponding field. Among included fields are home, wellness, career and business, style and beauty, and astrology.
For example, for $189, you can get 15 minutes of face time via the app’s interface with stylist-turned-entrepreneur Rachel Zoe. For $199, you’ll get 15 minutes with interior designer Nate Berkus. Meanwhile, $99 will get you 15 minutes with OG “Queer Eye” star Carson Kressley. And for $150, ThirdLove founder Heidi Zak — who, notably, is donating 50% of her sessions’ proceeds to nonprofit I Support The Girls — is all yours. Longer sessions are available but, of course, cost more. For example, an hour with Berkus is $759. This is still significantly more affordable than the typical cost of working with people at the top of their respective fields, according to Intro.
To put Intro to the test, and seek some professional advice, I tested out the service via 15 minutes with Zoe. Contrary to popular belief, Zoe hasn’t worked as a stylist for a number of years, but recently has been dabbling in her original profession once again. “The Rachel Zoe Project,” Zoe’s Bravo reality show, wrapped in 2013. And in 2019, she sold the fashion and lifestyle website The Zoe Report to Bustle Digital Group. Today, she has her hands in a number of businesses and is an investor in Intro through her investment fund Rachel Zoe Ventures.
Given her involvement and stake in the company, Zoe participated in pre-launch trials. One of her first calls was with a woman and her nephew who were starting a brand and seeking advice.
“Rachel was pretty impressed by [the experience],” said Mobrem. “She gave this lady her address and said, ‘Send five samples, and I’ll give it to the five best stylists in L.A.’”
Others, like myself, just want the chance to ask the star stylist what to wear. That kind of conversation, Zoe said, is easy and fun — to her, talking what-to-wear is second nature.
When I asked Zoe about how I should go about getting out of loungewear and finding fashion inspiration after 20 months spent in “soft” clothes, I expected a sort of tough love, suck-it-up answer. Instead, she told me there’s never been a better time for casual dressers. Casual styles have never been more fashionable, she said, and she encouraged me to go with it. A great coat ties even a simple look together, anyway, she said.
There was one burning question I had to ask Zoe — the woman who introduced the very concept of a stylist to the general public: What’s suitable to wear on date night? On a recent first date, I wore vegan leather leggings, an oversized sweater and a pair of boots, to the horror of my friend. (Also, I am the first to admit my style has never been less exciting.) Upon texting her the details of my look, she replied, “You wore a sweater on a date?!” and immediately DMed @matchmakermaria, who backed her up. I laughed, ready to concede my defeat, and perhaps go shopping for “going out tops.”
“What do you think is an ideal first date outfit? Should it be casual or sexy?” I asked Zoe. I was very ready for Zoe, a woman who famously does not wear flat shoes, ever, to chastise me. Instead, she told me a story about how her sister met her husband on an airplane while wearing pajamas. It’s better to meet someone looking how you do most days, rather than meeting them as the “two-hour” version of yourself, she said.
Ultimately, for something as personal as styling, 15 minutes of digital face time will never match the hours spent in person with a professional. But, if you need help picking a new sweater or settling a fashion debate with friends, then 15 minutes on Intro may just do the trick.