Fashion app entrepreneur Jessica Wilson always had high aspirations for her business but the speed of her expansion into China has taken her by surprise.

Wilson, creator of the fashion discovery and shopping app Stashd, has showcased her business smarts to millions of TV viewers on Chinese reality show The Next Unicorn.

Dubbed a cross between The Shark Tank and The X-Factor, The Next Unicorn pits 55 start-ups against each other in the hunt for a future A$1 billion ($1.12 billion) tech behemoth - a "unicorn" in start-up language, with A$2.5 million prize money on the line.

Wilson travelled to Shanghai at the show's invitation in January to pitch to its panel of entrepreneur judges - among them an ex-chief executive of online marketplace Alibaba and seed investors in Paypal and Chinese search engine Baidu.


The experience inspired her to transform her business, she said.

"We've completely picked up Stashd, shaken it and tailored it to the Chinese market," she said ahead of the airing of the show in China.

"It's completely translated, in different currencies, with tailored brands that show up.

"China has always been something we wanted to target but I never thought it would be so quick."

The 24-year-old Coffs Harbour native, who left her job as a fashion rep to create the app in November 2013, describes her business as a "global digital fashion mall" that lets users accept or reject clothes by swiping left or right, Tinder-style, on their smartphone.

Partnered with brands such as ASOS, Net-a-porter, Farfetch and Estee Lauder, Stashd gets about 10 per cent of the proceeds of its sales.

21 Apr, 2016 6:00am
4 minutes to read

Wilson said Stashd's "game-ified" shopping experience had no rival in the Chinese tech scene - a valuable asset as a growing Chinese middle-class tunes in to Western brands and trends.

"It's definitely a crowded market in China but I think one of the edges we have is that we have access to a lot of Western clothing - people in China absolutely love their Western brands," she said.

"As well as this, the different user experience of Stashd, the swipe left, swipe right, there aren't apps over in China that are doing that right now."

Wilson said she had been encouraged by the feedback she received from the show's expert judges.

"They believe we've got something special and something that can potentially change the way people shop on mobile, and just having that confirmation from people of that calibre was incredible."