The new trend in e-commerce – a virtual personal shopper
Online retail clothing brands are responding to a generation of busy people who find it inefficient to go to a store, a mall and especially to several stores. They offer an online, personal stylist to provide you with clothing choices designed with your preferences in mind – curated commerce. They offer you clothes in your size that work together and are available. You can skip the stores for your kids as well. A new group of children’s clothing start-ups wants you to spend more time with your children at the playground and less time in the dressing room.
MM LaFleur asks: “Which of these looks would you wear?”
No shopping necessary. Get started with your stylist by answering targeted questions.
MM Lafleur (NY) was founded by friends who struggled to find affordable work appropriate clothing. MM strives to “Take the work out of dressing for work.” You can simply order clothing online from the MM brand of high quality women’s clothing, but the big value-add occurs when you connect with an MM stylist who ‘curates your closet’ by keeping track of which clothes you own and suggesting complimentary pieces to update your look. MM offers women’s clothes from size 0 to 16 and dresses suitable for maternity.
Confession of a proud mom, my daughter is the CMO of MM Lafleur and has been with the company since early days.
They have pop-up stores around the country and showrooms in NYC and Washington D.C. so you can try clothes on and see which styles suit you. See recent coverage in the Washington Post.
Stitch Fix (SF), offers to be ‘Your partner in personal style’. It was started by HBS grad, Katrina Lake, and sells clothes for both women and men. Similar to MM Lafleur, you fill out a survey of your preferences, and Stitch Fix will send you a box of clothes. You pay for what you keep and return the rest. They make their own clothes (Stitch Fix brand). They’ve been in the press for raising private equity money and are one of the darlings of e-commerce in the Bay Area right now.
Rent and wear all the latest fashion, without ever stepping foot inside a store
Wear, return, repeat.
Access to 100’s of brands
Less clutter, more fashion.
10x the clothes for 1/10 the cost
We do all the laundry
Enjoy a smaller fashion footprint
Le Tote (SF) curates prominent brands of women’s clothes which you can ‘borrow’ and return. They have a subscription model where you pay a monthly fee ($39). They send you a tote full of clothes which you are effectively renting. When you want a new look, you return one tote and receive another. I have to cop to being luke-warm about wearing clothing a stranger has worn and returned in a tote, but lots of people are finding that this works well. If you fall in love with items in your tote, you can buy them at an insider’s low price and send back the rest of the collection in your tote. They offer totes full of maternity clothes which might make sense as rental clothing since you only need them for a few months. In the old days, we just passed them around among friends. Stories in the press report that they have raised $27.5M so investors think this is a trend in retail.
Trunk Club (Chicago) offers a range of brands like Theory and Vince for you to purchase. This is a similar model to MM LaFleur and Stitch Fix – ask for your preferences, send you a box of clothes, you keep what you like and return the rest – but using the same brands you would find in a store. It was initially for men, but they’ve now launched women’s. It was started by one of the co-founders of Bonobos (cool men’s clothing) and was acquired by Nordstrom in 2014 for $350M. Headline – Brick and Mortar retailers are trying to catch-up with these online start-ups.
Rockets of Awesome (NY) is ‘re-imagining’ how parents shop for kids (sizes 2-14). You answer questions online about what your child likes (and dislikes). Four times a year, (each season), Rockets of Awesome will send your kids a selection of eight to twelve stylish pieces of clothing. Rockets of Awesome manufactures the clothes and they claim high standards of durability, quality, comfort and awesome. Everything is easily mixed and matched and under $40. Your children try things on right at home and you send back what you don’t want. No membership fees, no shipping.
Mac & Mia offers stylish kids clothing without the shopping. You help your child fill out a style quiz, just like on the adult sites. Request a box of 6-8 pieces of clothing hand picked by your stylist. Shipping is free. You pay a stylist fee of $20, but it can be applied to the clothes you buy. If you like anything enough to keep it, the stylist is free. They claim to carry high quality brands with an average price point of $35 for apparel and $12 for accessories. Fifteen percent off if you keep everything in your box.
Maisonette World (NY) is a new company offering luxury children’s brands from clothing and furniture to toys and accessories. They do not provide a personal stylist, but I thought that you would want to know about them. They have a great site and offer curated collections by partnering with children’s boutiques like POSH in Brooklyn and choosing a handpicked selection of items from a range of brands.
Online shopping offers all kinds of new possibilities. See our article about online consignment stores.
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