For years I’ve been laboring under the oppressive yet persistent myth that all women like to shop—ergo, I like to shop. I’m not sure where this idea came from, since I have a policy of buying clothes that are as non-descript as possible so no one notices that I only own six T-shirts and three pairs of jeans (laundry day is always a puzzle of trying to find coverage for a few hours). So for women like me who want to look presentable (dare I say, good?) without the hassle of sifting through endless racks of clothes, there’s CakeSyle, which emerged from private beta Tuesday.
Somewhat reminiscent of a Shoedazzle for clothes—minus the subscription feature—CakeStyle is a personalized fashion platform that delivers a convenient way for women to get the latest styles without trekking off to a department store. The process is simple: you sign up, you outline your fashion tastes with a CakeStylist, and the company sends you a box of clothes and accessories picked just for you. You pay for and keep what you want and send back the rest.
Founder and CEO Cecelia Myers tells me that each box contains roughly four to six outfits and ranges from $2,500 to $3000, with the average client typically keeping several outfits. The accessory choices are especially popular as they’re fairly versatile and can be worked into several different outfits.
While CakeStyle is not a subscription service per se, customers have the option of receiving quarterly boxes so they can update their seasonal wardrobe. Myers says a number of clients use CakeStyle on-demand when they need items for a specific event.
CakeStyle raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Sandbox Industries, a Chicago-based VC firm and business incubator, and has been in private beta since August.
The personalized shopping service trend is catching on fast with sites like ShoeDazzle and JustFabulous. But the difference between something like CakeStyle and something like ShoeDazzle is it virtually eliminates checkout panic and shopping cart abandonment, since the items are already in your home. In essence, it shoulders every burden of the shopping process, from drawing customers in, to getting them to try on clothes, to getting them to buy. You already have the items in your home--you simply have to make the passive choice of whether or not to keep them (and if you decide to send something back, the onus is on you to take the time to repackage the items and ship them off).
In September, Trunk Club—a personalized shopping service for men—raised $11 million in a round led by US Venture Partners. The concept of Trunk Club is virtually identical to CakeStyle, but for men only, with the average box of clothes totaling some $1,500. Interestingly, when I talked to Trunk Club founder and CEO Brian Spaly about whether or not Trunk Club would expand to include women’s clothes, he said he’s open to the idea but doesn’t see it materializing any time soon. Why? Because women like to shop and men don’t.
It will be interesting to see if CakeStyle can prove him wrong.