Shortly after raising $32,000 through a successful Kickstarter campaign, Boston based startup Bow & Drape is making a unique foray into the e‑commerce market for made-to-measure women’s clothing.
A good deal of intelligent preparation has gone into the new venture, which has determinedly taken into consideration the fact that men and women tend to shop differently. As canny e‑commerce managers and e‑commerce analysts specializing in the online clothing market will be aware, men find shopping for clothes about as pleasurable as taking a trip to the dentist. They’re happy to enter a few basic measurements online, click on the shirt and pants they like, and be done with it.
Why women prefer shops to the net for clothes
Women tend to see clothes shopping as a social experience. They like browsing through the styles and fabrics on offer in bricks-and-mortar stores, often taking friends along to join in. And sizing is more complicated for women — a waist size of 30 doesn’t always mean that a garment bearing that number will fit properly. Add to that the fact that early testing by Bow & Drape’s founder and CEO Aubrie Pagano indicated that women are more reticent than men about entering their measurements online, and things start to look a trifle difficult for any e‑commerce firm targeting this area.
A stroke of genius
So, how does Bow & Drape surmount these obstacles? Web content managers might want to sit up and listen, as strokes of genius often come wrapped in simple concepts. The site contains six core silhouettes, co-designed with top fashionista Sarah Parrott. Visitors simply place any of the item categories they’ve been attracted to onto the silhouette they like, mixing, matching and customizing colors, fabrics, sleeve-length, hemline design necklines, buttons and trending features like peplums. All told, that adds up to 30,000 different possibilities. Photo-realistic images are instantly rendered the moment a new item or feature is added to the silhouette.
As soon as customers settle on a combo and design mix they’re happy with, they simply select their size and Bow & Drape sends out free muslin “fit kits” in three variant sizes. Women just chose the size that fits best at home and the fully made garment will arrive in a fortnight. Furthermore, returns are accepted if it doesn’t feel right.
All in all, that looks like “problems solved.”