Get to know a Toronto startup: Stylekick
What are the chances that the pair of jeans you just bought online will fit like your favourite worn in pair? Not good. In fact, 40 per cent of apparel purchased online is returned, and 75 per cent of those returns are because of a poor fit, according to Stylekick. The new Toronto-based search and comparison engine uses your wardrobe as a guide to help you buy the right size online.
Unlike other online fitting applications, Stylekick isn't interested in your personal measurements, your height or your weight. Through a simple two-click process, users can add items to a virtual closet and track down new clothing to suit their size and taste.
I had the opportunity to chat with Stylekick co-founder Natalie Grey about how her startup plans to simplify apparel e-commerce.
How did you develop the idea for Stylekick?
I used to go to school in the states, as did one of our other co-founders. He was at MIT and I was at NYU. Online retail south of the border is like crack to Canadians. You don't have to worry about expensive international shipping. We were ordering everything from protein powder to shampoo, gadgets, and books. We were even carrying stuff back across the border for our friends who wanted products they couldn't get in Canada.
The only tricky part we found was when we wanted to get clothing. We eventually stopped ordering because what we were getting was dramatically different from what we were looking at online. We saw room for improvement.
So how does Stylekick work?
Stylekick is a search and comparison recommendation engine that marries the fit benefit of shopping in store with the ease of style searching online. Say my favourite pair of jeans are Guess black denim. They fit me perfectly. We take the item that you have at home and directly compare it to the items you want online.
A pair of new jeans online may fit tighter in the waist or longer in the leg. We have the data to run a comparison and recommend a size that will most closely match the pair you already have. We ask our users about something they already have in their home. Something they've warn, judged the fit, and most importantly decided not to return.
How do you know the measurements of the jeans I have in my closet?
After you sign up at Stylekick.com, you can add items you currently have in your closet. We already have the measurements. All you need to do is tell us the size and we can use the data on our back end to run our algorithm to tell you what else might fit you.
Why is this better than a 3D scanner or body measurements?
We don't take point-to-point measurements and try to predict your style. It doesn't matter if my waist is a 29 and my chest is a 34. That doesn't really translate into how I like to wear my clothes. I may like a baggier or tighter fit. It's very difficult to translate measurements into style. All the information that we need about your body measurements and how you like to wear your clothes is implicit in the clothes you routinely wear.
How do you plan to monetize Stylekick?
In the near term, referral income via affiliate income programs. We expect four to 10 per cent of referred sales. Once we gain traction we will be offering our solution as a white label to brands. All the while, we are collecting data on shopper preferences which we can sell to brands and retailers.
Have you made any partnerships with clothing brands?
We've had overwhelmingly positive feedback from top executives at The Gap, H&M, Perry Ellis, and other retailers that will ultimately become our customers. Stylekick currently draws from 20 popular e-commerce brands.
What's the next step?
We will be incorporating a bookmarklet browser plug-in that will help users add things to their closet without navigating away from their current page. We will also be adding a social layer into the closet, so when you add your favourite pair of jeans you can share your picks with other users. It will be great for gifting. If you want to buy your significant other a present and wanted to buy a shirt for example it would show you what size to get and maybe suggest items that would compliment your selection.
Writing by Jeff Lagerquist
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