For the third and final installment in “Behind the Buying” I spoke with a friend about Stitch Fix, a local start-up that has the potential to disrupt the way women shop. In case you’re not familiar with the company, you take a comprehensive – yet fun – style survey, pay $20, and then they send you 5 items to try on. You send back what you don’t like, and pay for what you do. If you do buy, you have a $20 credit towards your purchase.
For this conversation I chatted with Laura, a friend with similar sartorial tastes, and from whom I would borrow clothes in college.
Adelle: I’m curious what you think, because you’re fashionable too and for me I love the idea of somebody suggesting stuff to me but then it’s like, well, for people who already know what they like…
Laura: It’s one of those things I’ve always liked, the idea of a personal shopper like at J. Crew or Bloomingdales, but I always feel like I would be self-conscious. What if I don’t want to buy the stuff? What if you try it all on and you’re like, this is great but I don’t want to spend $200 on a pair of pants? So I like the idea of Stitch Fix because you can try on the stuff in your house and it is kind of is like having a personal shopper. You can try it all on and send back [what you don't like]. In my packet two things were horrendous. I [thought], I don’t understand how you could expect me to wear this.
AM: In what way? Short? Tight?
LO: One was a striped dress but barely covered my butt. I was like, you should call this a tunic, this is not a dress.
AM: I also had a “dress” that was really a tunic.
LO: I’m not sure how it’s any different than blindly ordering clothes off Gap or Banana Republic and then returning them. But then I guess this dress I bought was from a designer I hadn’t heard of.
AM: Did you recognize most of the labels?
LO: There was only one, Collective Concepts, which I’ve seen at a bunch of boutiques in the Marina. The dress I ended up buying was from Greylin which is not a company I knew anything about, so that was cool.
AM: Do you think the stuff you got made a difference trying it on at home? Because the stuff that I got when I saw it I was like, I don’t really know how this is going to work, but then I [tried it out] and [it was fine].
LO: It wasn’t so much that it made a difference trying it on at home, but the dress I ended up picking was the kind of dress I never would have picked up off the rack. So that was cool.
AM: What was different about it?
LO: I would say a littler girlier than I normally go with dresses. I probably would never have picked it up, but then I did and [it was] actually pretty cute. It was not so nice that it’s a nice dress, and not so casual that I would think to wear it to work. It’s a little bit frilly. If you take off the jacket it’s a spaghetti strap dress, so not really work-appropriate but not really a cocktail dress.
AM: I love that you said “not so casual that you’d wear it to work.”
LO: If you’re wearing clothes you’re well-dressed in my office.
AM: That’s what I was looking for, something where it doesn’t necessarily make sense to put it on in the morning, just because. I don’t have the kind of life where I really dress up [but] I wanted something a little bit dressier. Maybe I shouldn’t have said “going out” because my “going out” is still a toned down “going out.”
LO: Your going out is not, “I’m going to going to the club.”
AM: Right. The stuff they sent me… everything was so short.
LO: Have you ever done a personal shopping thing at Anthropologie or J. Crew?
AM: No, because I don’t want to [feel obliged to] pay for the stuff either.
LO: Yeah, I feel like it would be awkward if I was like, I don’t want to pay for this.
AM: I feel like [personal shopping] how the make-up counters used to be, where it’s implied that you’ll buy something. I like the idea [of Stitch Fix] because it has a lot of potential to allow people to discover new stuff.
LO: the dress I bought I really like.
AM: There was one dress that I liked, and I could almost see myself wearing it.
AM: But if I’m going to [buy], I’m going to buy something I’m gung-ho about. But I still love [Stitch Fix] in theory.
LO: I think I’m going to do [another] shipment…”
What do you think about an internet based personal shopping service? Share your opinion in the comments, especially if you’ve tried Stitch Fix or any other personal shopping services. I’m curious to hear what you think!