Items that look desirable on screen but fit badly are one of the dilemmas of online shoppers and retailers. The best retailers have come up with is offering free return shipping, but a lag time of approximately ten days (shipping, credit card processing) remains between dropping a return in the mail and receiving a refund. A handful of startups (Lamoda, Fits.Me, Virtusize, TrueFit) are offering solutions, but most are in their infancy.
Warby Parker integrated a solution to the fit problem since the start of its business. Buyers can select up to three pairs online to try on at home and select one for purchase afterwards. Mott & Bow is doing the same for men’s jeans, even simpler. When a buyer selects a pair, he receives two sizes and can send back the ill-fitting one.
Featured in Time Out, Nylon, Yahoo, Inc., and Men’s Health, Mott & Bow has been lauded for offering good fit, convenience and low prices ($96 for all pairs). Part of that has to do with the fabric imported from Turkey, which has a heritage in creating high-end denim, and the fact that all steps of the finishing process (resin application, spraying, pinning, tying, washing and drying) are done by hand.
Mott & Bow founder Alejandro Chahin also has a heritage in the denim business. His denim experience started with distressing pieces from the family’s denim factory in Honduras. We asked him to tell us about what he learned from developing a new product in the saturated denim market. Here is some advice he has for brands starting out:
– Define the Brand. Chahin believes you need to define why you are unique early on, and find out if your clients resonate with that.
– Know Their Habits. Find out as much as you can about the habits of your target demographic, Chahin says.
– Be Creative in Reaching Them. Once you know their habits, try reaching them through unsaturated media channels, Chahin says. He emphasizes unsaturated channels because most new brands lack the budget to compete with large brands in traditional channels.
What is also striking about Mott & Bow’s business is the simplicity: three fits (skinny, slim, straight) and six washes ranging from a worn-in look to a resin finish. Chahin said they are evaluating whether to add another fit next year.
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