Written by Alexandra Ryan
There is one thing on my ‘To-Do List’ that I absolutely hate. Hate is a strong word but it’s true. This task is not difficult to accomplish, it doesn’t take hours, nor does it cause me any physical pain. Regardless, every time I have to go to the Post Office, UPS, and/or Fed Ex to return another failed online purchase, I cringe. Below is a summary of how my last return went down.
Day 1 Receive dress in mail. Excited. Rip box down the middle and destroy it like an animal in heat. Try on dress. Dress does not fit. It is too small even though I ordered my normal size. I feel fat and angry. Return policy: Merchandise must be returned within 14 days. They provide the shipping label. I destroyed the box. Great.
Day 2 -6 Procrastination stage begins. I have 14 days. I can do it tomorrow. I’m tired. I wish the dress fit. Was it really that tight? I’ve had a long day. I’m hungry.
Day 7-9 Ignore the dress
Day 10-12 What dress?
Day 13 I have a sudden rush of panic while I’m at work. At first, I don’t know why and then I remember the stupid dress. I look up the return policy again. As long as the date is post marked on the 14th day, I can still get a refund. I’ll do it tomorrow.
Day 14 at 9:30pm: $#%#%# !
Day 24 Try on the dress for the second time. Maybe I can make this work (no). It’s not that tight (it is). Maybe I can have it tailored (a task I hate just as much as the Post Office). I’ll sell it on Ebay (this will never happen). Dress hangs in closet and never sees the light of day.
This ridiculous scenario happens more than I’d like to admit. As a stylist, one would think that I would be an online shopping wizard. I am for other people (shameless self promotion), but not for myself. It’s tough out there! Every brand sizes their clothing differently, and I hear these crazy stylists use clamps and pins and stuff to make things fit the models perfectly! Am I a size 6 or a size 8...or a UK 18? A small, medium, or a large? If the model is 5ft-10in with a 24 inch waist (how is that even possible i hate her) and she is wearing a size 4, then I must be a size 10?? Anytime I shop online, I either order the wrong size, the wrong fit, or I get frustrated and I don’t order anything at all. I know I’m not alone here. I know you shop online too. You order the wrong size, the wrong fit. I know you hate going to the post office just as much as I do. This is why I want to introduce you to my new favorite friend...
Enter Fit Valet wearing superman cape!
I discovered Fit Valet a few weeks ago. Fit Valet’s goal is to help women navigate the world of online shopping. They really want to help women avoid that dreaded trip to the Post Office. I signed up by entering my height, weight, and body shape. At first, I had no clue which body shape to choose, but they have pictures and descriptions to help. Then, I entered my current wardrobe needs - skinny jeans, cool sweater that’s warm, but doesn’t make me too hot. The next day I received an email from Fit Valet with suggestions for a complete outfit tailored to my body and wardrobe needs - top, jeans, shoes, and accessories! The items ranged from a Net-a-Porter APC marigold sweater to an Old Navy basic black tee. I’m very picky when it comes to my clothing, but I have to say that I really loved their suggestions! I haven’t purchased anything because it’s Christmas time and I need to buy gifts for other people, but I do look forward to their emails.
Guess what? The Fit Valet team is coming to Boston! They are hosting a special fashion event at Mint Julep in Harvard Square this coming Thursday, December 13th from 5:00pm to 9:00pm. There will be complimentary cocktails and Mint Julep is offering a 20% discount! You should venture to Cambridge, get crazy with Fit Valet, and pick up a new hot dress for that upcoming holiday party. Stop it. You know you need one.
And another thing....I was lucky enough to sit down with the founders of Fit Valet to learn more about their business. Here is a snapshot of the interview.
Who is Fit Valet and what do they do?
Fit Valet is a new kind of retail e-commerce experience. We’re an interactive website that takes into account specific details of a user’s profile to provide the best clothing recommendations possible. We’re a team of people who are passionate about style. It’s a complicated web between style, fit, and body image, and we want to give women the tools they need to find clothes that fit their body and style no matter who they are. We’re like the good friend that knows you well and helps you be your best self every day you walk out the door. Our goal is to know our customers better than any other retailer out there, and help them look and feel fantastic in the clothes they wear.
How do I sign up?
- Go to our website - www.fitvalet.com
- Enter your height, weight, and body shape and we’ll do the rest
- We compare your inputs to a database of over 10,000 people to accurately predict your measurements and find you outfits that are guaranteed to look great.
How do you recommend clothing/shoes/accessories?
Our stylists, of course! We believe in being a personal styling company that uses technology as a tool, not a tech company that tries to recommend clothes. Each of our outfits is hand picked to work together for women just like you. Computers are great. However, have you ever seen a well-dressed computer? At Fit Valet, our stylists are central to our recommendations, and they use computer algorithms as a helpful tool, not a crutch. Each recommendation has been handpicked for you, by a real person, not an algorithm. At the same time, we have some of the most fashionable computer programmers in the industry, including Erin Depew and Gilad Barash, who are helping our stylists make amazing recommendations.
Do you work with specific stores?
We have hundreds of retail partners. We pride ourselves on recommending outfits from all kinds of brands and retailers, at all styles and price points, to provide the best possible looks. We’re an independent site that recommends clothes based on style, not business arrangements.
I get so many daily emails and I delete 90% of them. Why should I open Fit Valet emails?
Because we don’t believe in a one-size fits all policy. Our emails are personalized, tailored to you. Nobody else in the industry can do this. We’re here to help you look your best every day you walk out the door. We’re like a good friend - the more time you spend with us, the more and better help you’ll get. We pride ourselves on building strong relationships with our customers, and our emails are a conversation with those customers, like a daily check-in. Plus, they’re fun - a little fashion inspiration on your lunch break, who doesn’t love that?
I have to say that I have opened every single one of Fit Valet’s emails. It’s exciting to see what they pick out for me. Once the holiday season is over, I will definitely treat myself to a Fit Valet wardrobe suggestion and I’m looking forward to letting you know how it feels. In the meantime, I hope to see you at Mint Julep this Thursday!