Outfittery is a successful Berlin based start-up company founded launched in 2012 by Anna Alex and Julia Bosch. With 300 employees and over 500.000 customers it has become a model of merging fashion and technology with premium customer service.
Black and Paper sat down for an exclusive interview with Outfittery co-founder Anna Alex at her office in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district.
What inspired you to start Outfittery?
We were inspired by a trip to New York. A friend of ours, a successful business man, booked a personal shopper; it was common there but not in Germany. He was very happy with this experience. It took him a few hours. He was well-dressed and extremely satisfied.
We started to think how could we transfer this type of customer experience to the online world with the advantages of e-commerce.
Did you have a background in fashion?
No, we did not. We worked for Zalando. E-commerce was our background. The people with fashion knowledge are our stylists.
Why do people shop online?
In my opinion it is about convenience, easy, and fast. Our clients really appreciate the convenience. They do not have to shop or look over many blue shirts. We have the right shirt for them.
Who are your typical clients?
Busy business men who are between the ages of 30 to 50, many with families. They have one thing in common, they want to look good.
How do you compare shopping online to being in a brick and mortar store?
Outfittery is a creative shopping space. We do not see ourselves as an online world or a brick and mortar world. We combine the best of both words. We take the personal service and contact of the physical store and combine it with the convenience of the online world.
We do not overwhelm the clients like so many stores and sites. We provide what is relevant to the buyer.
Are there certain preferences your clients like?
Many of our customers are looking for an outfit for a particular occasion. We have a wide selection of looks from sporty to casual chic.
Have you had demanding clients?
All of our clients are demanding. (Small Laughter) They should be! They have high expectations. In a certain way a friendship develops between the stylists and the clients. For the first box sent to the client, the selections may not be perfect, but by the second or third box everything is usually 100% right.
What has surprised you the most since starting this company?
We did not think men liked talking about fashion so we gave the stylist guidelines; all initial client calls should be no longer than 5 minutes. Then we got feedback from our clients. They liked the conversations with the stylists and wanted more time to talk about their preferences. For example; some said they played football and wanted more leg room in their pants. Our stylists learned many details in longer conversations.
Is Outfittery a tech brand or a fashion brand?
That is a good question. It is neither. Outfittery combines fashion knowledge with the support of technology and data.
As a woman has it been hard setting up a startup business?
Setting up a start-up is difficult regardless if the founder is a man or a woman. It is true, there are too few women setting up companies and there are a lack of role models. In the German and Berlin start up scene there are some strong women running their own companies. I am very happy about this and extremely supportive.
Who is your favorite fashion Designer?
I like Scandinavian designers and styles but I am always changing styles. At Outfittery we like to take on young brands. It is exciting discovery new labels and fashion designers.
For more information go to: Outfittery