Who has more difficulty finding clothes they like: women or men? Stitch Fix, the once-female-only styling service and apparel retailer, has changed its answer from the former to “both.”
In an interview with Re/code, Stitch Fix Founder and CEO Katrina Lake explained that the San Francisco-based startup will be adding lines of men’s clothing products and male fashion stylists to help match the right pieces to the right customers. Though Lake admitted that she’d been chastised for years about starting with female consumers, she said Stitch Fix would be able to apply its experiences for immediate success with male customers.
“Since day one, people have told me you should have started with men,” Lake told Re/code. “People perceive men should be easier, that men will love the convenience of this … I’m proud we did women first because we learned a ton and are better for it. It’s the right time to invest in men.”
That’s not to say that Stitch Fix’s extant female-centric business can’t learn anything from its new consumer base. Mike Smith, the former COO who will run the new men’s department, explained that the company is keeping its ear to the ground for any updates it can make to its shipping processes. The aim, Smith said, was to see how the frequency of male shoppers’ purchases could be tweaked to provide better service to new markets.
“We don’t want this to just be a coastal brand for men’s clothing,” Smith told Re/code. “We also want to serve the guy in Kentucky.”
Smith, Lake and the rest of Stitch Fix will have to compete with a slew of curated apparel subscription services, like Trunk Club and Bombfell. But while the former guarantees that the same stylist will pick the same customer’s clothes every time and the latter keeps prices at or below retail — two things Stitch Fix does not do — Stitch Fix will have to provide exemplary service right off the bat to generate momentum with its new clientele.