Six months ago, Vik Venkatraman took the stage at DreamIt’s New York demo day.He pitched a compelling startup that would solve a seemingly impossible problem. Clothes Horse would ensure all of the clothes you purchase online fit.
Venkatraman formerly owned a tailoring company and was inspired to bring clothing measurements online.
He, along with cofounders Dave Whittemore and Will Charczuk, got to work. They reached out to 50 major brands and clothing manufacturers for measurements, from average sleeve length to waist length — because everyone knows a Brooks Brothers shirt fits differently than one from The Gap.
Venkatraman paired manufacturer’s measurements with consumer-submitted body measurements and created a series of algorithms to predict how well an item will fit a buyer.
While the back end is complex, the user experience is a quick and easy three step process.
Upon checkout at partnering sites, users can click a Clothes Horse button, “Check my size.”
They’re then asked for body details and clothing preferences, such as where their favourite shirt is from. A size recommendation is produced moments later. The recommendation engine also tells users details about how an item will fit. It can tell whether the item will feel just right in the chest, very long in the sleeves, or just alright in the collar.
Most people teeter at checkout because they’re not sure if the item will be as great as it looks online. Clothes Horse seems to be just what some shoppers need to go through with the order. Bonobos tested Clothes Horse and saw sales increase 13%.
If Clothes Horse continues to gather data from shoppers, it could provide ecommerce sites with some pretty powerful information about consumers and how to best target them.
Here’s what the Clothes Horse recommendation engine looks like: