Data and Fashion: The Perfect Pairing
I like it when apps and services help make me more productive, and I LOVE it when they improve my life. Startups that make our lives easier are everywhere, and one in particular caught my eye recently (thanks to their brilliant use of data).
Stitch Fix, an eCommerce start-up, has created a new clothes shopping experience. It’s an online styling service that’s personalized to your taste, lifestyle and best of all…your budget. After you complete an initial style profile, outfits ship directly to your door and in the custom printed carton are printed personalized style tips (see that use of old school print is the perfect blend for this print geek).
And, bonus! You only pay for the items you keep and ship the rest back in a prepaid envelope. There are no membership or monthly subscriptions to buy either. It has been awesome.
So what does data have to do with all of this? Stitch Fix, a company started by Harvard MBA grad and millennial Katrina Lake, found its niche by pairing an army of stylists (over 3,000) with an arsenal of data to deliver outfits, accessories, and shoes that match the profiles of their clients.
With client data that includes body dimensions, pattern preferences and what clothes buyers keep, Lake’s company has been able to create algorithmic sophistication resulting in shockingly accurate predictions of what Stitch Fix subscriber’s like. I know this firsthand. It’s kind of magical. Today, 24% of customers stick with the subscription service for at least nine months, according to one analysis of sales data.
Lake started Stitch Fix because she was looking for employment at a similar cutting edge retail company but one did not exist. So she created one.
As traditional retail is crumbling in front of us more and more, Lake’s San Francisco-based styling company earned $730 million in revenue last year, according to Inc. Magazine.
If you’re wondering how Stitch Fix competes with the big guys like Amazon, the answer is really straightforward. As awesome as Amazon is, there’s the downside of having too many options: Shoppers don’t want to read thousands of jeans reviews. The consumer would much rather just put on a pair of jeans that fit and look fabulous in them without leaving the comfort of their homes. Stitch Fix has become that curated experience.