Are Clothing Subscription Boxes Right For You?

Subscription personal styling and shopping services are popping up everywhere, and while they are a great idea and most likely satisfy your need for efficiency, are you really getting what you need when it comes to fulfilling your personal style and having a wardrobe you love?

There is something to be said about these companies given Stitch Fix has raked in nearly $1 billion in sales and recently filed for an IPO. They set out to solve a consumer issue and it seems like a lot of people had this particular one. Bingo!

So why would someone hire a personal stylist or shopper when they can pay $20 to get a box full of items curated from their style profile and measurements delivered straight to their doorstep? Check out three of my top reasons below on why a more tailored experience might be right for you:

Live Interactions are More Valuable

Working with a stylist or shopper in person provides a more valuable experience. There are several layers to someone’s personal style that may not become as transparent through an online questionnaire or phone call.  Los Angeles stylist, Lauren Messiah, stated in a NYT article discussing this topic, “What I do for women as a personal stylist, a lot of it isn’t even about the clothes. Working with a stylist is more about figuring out who you are, and then dressing yourself accordingly.”  Working with someone in a personal setting really allows you to dive into your goals, intentions, and problem areas that will allow you to create solutions for developing your best wardrobe possible.

It’s Not a Numbers Game

When I first got the idea to start my own business, I started looking for “stylist” jobs just so I could keep something more consistent while still gaining the experience I wanted. I noticed that so many companies now have shifted the title “sales associate” to “stylist”, “style advisor”, “personal stylist”, etc.  I also have talked to several people who have worked for these box companies and say that it is very numbers driven and they are expected to hit quotas and sales goals each month.   While it's only smart for a large company to set up these type of goals for their “stylists”, I can only imagine that the stress of hitting a number could impact someone’s ability to truly understand their customer's needs and wants and focus on providing them the best experience possible.  This is part of the reason I charge flat rates for all of my services. I want to enjoy the time with my client, get to know them, and make sure I fulfill exactly what they hired me for- not to check my watch every half hour or notice them doing the same.

360 Point of View

You learn someone's objectives from observing their current state and developing an understanding of where they want to go. Most people hire a personal stylist or shopper because they are unhappy with their current situation, but how can you impact the status quo when you don’t know what it is? Working with someone in person allows the stylist or shopper to see the whole picture. I often will go into client’s closets to see what they currently own and come up with the best recommendations for items needed to enhance their current wardrobe and overall look. Having this insight allows me to do my job better, and having a deeper understanding of my client's problems and goals as a whole will help me provide them with a more customized and beneficial experience.  

With all of this being said, the subscription model does work well for a lot of people hence the success of these companies, but it’s important to have the right expectations and understand the experience you’ll receive versus working with someone one-on-one whose sole focus is YOU.