Men realize that our outfits makes an impression, and that bad fit sends the wrong message. We want to look great, but over 80% of us hate shopping for clothes. In a world of Airbnb and Expedia, we want a fast, efficient way to find the best value. Instead, we waste hours traveling to stores and trying things on in the fitting room. It's time for a better solution, that brings Power to the People
You may not be familiar with Rich Barton, but you've probably used his platforms. As a young product manager at Microsoft in the early '90s, he was frustrated with travel.
When I had to book corporate travel, I could hear the click, click, click of the travel agent’s keyboard. I wanted to jump through the phone line and do it myself because I wasn’t getting all of the information 1
He pitched a big, hairy, audacious goal: empowering people to plan and take better trips and build the largest seller of travel in the world. Bill Gates gave him the green light to build Expedia, the leader in online travel.
In 2005, Barry Diller's Interactive Corp acquired Expedia, and Rich moved on. Two years later, while looking for houses for their growing families, he and a friend grew frustrated with real estate.
We couldn’t believe how hard it was to access basic, fundamental information about what the address of a house was, what the listings were, how much they were, what the homes looked like on the inside 2
He set another audacious goal: empower people to make more informed decisions about where to live, and create the largest real estate marketplace in the world. He built Zillow, the leader in online real estate.
In 2007 while getting ready for Zillow's annual reviews, he thought about the value of transparency in salaries and the company's work environment
Critical information about jobs and companies should be available to job seekers and employees so they can make better, more informed decisions about one of the biggest parts of their lives – their jobs.3
He set a third audacious goal: empower everyone to find a job and company they love. He built Glassdoor, recently acquired for $1.2B.
Three examples of a consistent theme:
People ultimately want to be empowered to make smarter decisions — whether that’s for travel decisions, buying or selling homes, finding jobs … or just about anything else. 4
Our audacious goal: empower men to make more informed decisions about what they wear, and create the largest menswear marketplace in the world.
Men's biggest frustration with shopping is finding things that fit. Brands keep critical information about fit locked inside stores. To access this information, men waste time traveling to stores where they suffer through manual trial & error in the fitting room. Most guys lose patience after ~30 minutes and often end up settling for something that's "just okay." We don't have the energy to search at multiple stores and end up exploring only a tiny fraction of our relevant options.
Online retailers try to address this with free shipping and free returns, but 30-40% of online orders are returned because they don't fit. Even if there's no out-of-pocket cost to returning a failed trial, we'd rather not waste our valuable time.
To avoid this hassle, most men find a brand that's "just okay" and keep going back to the well. Brands want to cultivate this dependency, and keep buyers coming back. While this may simplify shopping, we miss out on better fitting, better looking, and better value options from other brands.
Men deserve empowerment to make better decisions. They're not looking to become "cult brand monotheists," as Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn put it. They realize that many brands have similar products, and they're looking for the best value. They're open to working with multiple brands and picking the best option when they're in the market, rather than single-vendor lock-in
We deserve a platform that tears down the walls and connects each of us with our best options. A platform that filters out irrelevant items, and gives each guy the information he needs to find his best value.
Imagine that Expedia & Spotify had a kid who grew up to manage your wardrobe. Searching the whole marketplace in an instant, and returning with a personalized selection. Items that fit the way you want, and look the way you want, from multiple brands, all in one place. No styling fees, subscriptions, or markups. Make a better impression and finish you shopping 10X faster than a trip to the store. Confident that you're getting the best value.
We're in production at my.wardrobeessentialist.com with:
Brands focus on mass-produced goods and search for buyers who will value them. We focus on individual guys, and give them tools find their best goods. No two guys have the identical measurements, office dress codes, current wardrobe, or style preferences. Each user's Online Service is curated for his unique needs, drawing from a comprehensive assortment. It shows the most valuable choices and progressively reveals options based on your needs, vs. just dumping hundreds of little pictures onto your screen.
Our initial service curates based on your individual measurements, and give you an easy way to select styles that are right for you. Over time, the platform will learn more about your style and value preferences, and continue to refine the recommendations. So that you can find your best options in minutes, confident you’re getting great value.
We're early in the journey, but excited about our first step and providing Power to the People in menswear.