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Stitch Fix mixes taste and tech to ramp up your style game

stitch fix
Image Credit: happykatie

Stitch Fix wants to be Rachel Zoe for those who can’t afford her.

The personal shopping platform has raised $12 million to make professional styling more accessible and affordable.

Women create a style profile on Stitch Fix and receive a box with five clothing items hand-picked by a stylist, along with styling tips. They can try on the clothes at home, keep what they like, and send back the rest in a prepaid envelope.

Stitch Fix’s styling process combines a personal touch with technology, art with science. Its algorithms factor in over 500 million data points, leveraging customer data and feedback, to find well-matched clothing.

Some women throw on a tee-shirt and jeans and head out the door. Others are passionate style mavens, who spend hours shopping, perusing fashion blogs, and putting together fabulous outfits.

Most of us are somewhere in the middle.

Stitch Fix is for those women who want to look chic and trendy without all the time and effort it often requires.

The company has grown by 500% in the past 10 months, and Stitch Fix said most of that growth has been organic, through referrals and word of mouth.

Men are getting style help through services like Bonobos and Indochino that take the “pain” out of shopping and picking out outfits, but women are a bit more complicated. I’m usually skeptical about Internet services that want to dress me.

Clothing is a form of self-expression — just as much for women in jeans and tee-shirts as for women in Chanel. I have had many conversations with female friends and colleagues about the intersection of tech and fashion, and most agree that taste is difficult to nail down, and choice is paramount.

Stitch Fix’s model takes this into account, without locking you into a monthly subscription or relying solely on algorithms to shop.

The styling service costs $20. Clothing items cost an average of $65, and there is no obligation to buy anything. The $20 fee can be used towards your final order, and if you keep all five items you get 25% off.

Benchmark led this round, and partner Bill Gurley said in a statement that this is the kind of “organic growth” and “margin efficiency” that he has seen at companies like Yelp, Zillow, and eBay. Gurley was an early investor at eBay, Nordstrom, and Twitter. Marka Hansen, the former President of North America for Gap and Banana Republic, also joined the board, along with former CEO of Walmart John Fleming.

Stitch Fix has also made some high-profile hires of execs from Nike, Stella and Dot, and Crate & Barrel.

The latest funding brings Stitch Fix’s total capital raised to $16.75 million. Baseline Ventures and Lightspeed Ventures Partners led the first round.

The company was founded in 2011 and is based in San Francisco.