US online personal styling service Stitch Fix has launched in the UK today, after opening its head office in London’s Holborn in August.
Founded in 2011 by US entrepreneur Katrina Lake, Stitch Fix UK sells third-party men’s, women’s and children’s brands. The UK launch is the first foray overseas for the San Francisco-based company.
Stitch Fix UK is launching with around 60 brands, both UK- and US-based, including Whistles, French Connection, All Saints, Oasis, Warehouse, Monsoon, Phase Eight, Sweaty Betty, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Joules, Rag & Bone, J Brand, Free People, Scotch & Soda, Tiger of Sweden, Jack Wolfskin and Jack & Jones.
In the UK it employs a team of 50 personal stylists who hand pick clothing for customers based on an online questionnaire about their preferences, size, style, lifestyle and budget. The £10 signing-up charge for a stylist can be credited against any items purchased.
Price points range from £20 for a T-shirt to £500 for a men’s jacket.
After receiving a box of five pieces of clothing, customers can pay for the items they want to keep and send back the others. If customers want to keep all five items, they receive a 20% discount.
Postage is free. The service will also be available via click-and-collect locations across the UK.
Stitch Fix UK is not a subscription service, and customers select the frequency of their packages: monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly or on demand. Customers have to opt in to receive regular shipments, not opt out.
Brands have their own “vendor portal”, which allows them to access information and feedback on their product.
Rachel Stack, former head of womenswear buying at BHS, buying director at River Island and Miss Selfridge and most recently fashion director at Shop Direct, is vice-president of product and trading at Stitch Fix UK.
She told Drapers: “I think Stitch Fix can be as successful here as it is in the US. We have more tech-savvy customers in the UK, so it could resonate even more here than it does in the US.
“Our unique selling point is the personalisation model and the fact that we have 50 stylists all over the country who understand their individual areas. I don’t believe other models have this.
“Every box is personally tissue wrapped using recycled material in a nice box with a graphic logo, and a stylist message with style cards showing ways of wearing the product. It really feels like a gift in a box.”
Stack added: “Our head office in central London is home to our buying, design, merchandising, technical and customer experience teams. We also have a warehouse near Leicester where the stock will be held, packaged and then delivered to customers.
“We’ve done as much as everybody on the high street can do to prepare for Brexit. We have a balance in brands, from countries further afield to Europe. We may well have a distribution centre outside the UK in the future, but at the minute a lot of our brands have distribution centres outside of the UK. However, we have the innovation ready should we need to.”