Online fashion retailing is possibly the most exciting space in the digital universe at the moment. Big tech companies like Google and Samsung are moving closer to the luxury world with exciting new wearable devices, and there are innumerable new businesses trying to carve out a niche in the sector. There are still gaps in the market to exploit, though, and one company doing just that is Thread.com. Originally a menswear specialist, Thread (founded by Kieran O’Neill) is reinventing how people pick out new clothes, backed up by intelligent data use that tailors what it offers to the consumer (no pun intended!). This combination of cutting-edge tech with a slick fashion offer has led to Thread’s reputation soaring. So, is this firm the hottest new property in fashion etail?
Based in Shoreditch, Thread.com has placed itself at the heart of London’s most fashion-conscious and tech-savvy area. Thread’s business model revolves around sending customers ready-made outfits. Partner brands include ASOS, Calvin Klein, Grenson and John Smedley (as well as innumerable other labels), meaning that Thread’s product range varies greatly but still remains exciting. What really sets Thread apart is its roster of high-profile and knowledgeable stylists, who edit their suggestions week by week in order to learn from what users like and dislike. It’s a smooth operation that results in great loyalty and customer retention, as its list of backers indicates. Investors like Andrew Jennings, LoveFilm founder William Reeve and start-up accelerator YCombinator have all seen the potential in what Thread offers.
As well as its personal touch, Thread backs up its fashion credentials with a high-end technical operation. As O’Neill says in this Business of Fashion article, “there is a wave of new technology where you have humans and machines working together to do things far better than either could do alone.” This outlook has resulted in Thread being able to ‘learn’ from its users, with the use of its stylist-centred model just one way of converting casual interest into real-world purchasing. The company has recently adapted its offer to cater to women, too, and I’m sure that the model will be equally well-received in the future!
MBS has written blogs about similar companies to Thread before, but I don’t think I’ve come across a business that has been able to monetise and expand quite so quickly, all the while retaining a start-up, entrepreneurial ethos. I think this success is because Thread takes the ‘curation’ model and turns it on its head, getting stylists to curate products for an individual and enabling the individual to curate their own selections independently. This results in only the very best content being put in front of the end user. As well as this, the delivery and styling services around the clothes themselves are free, adding up to a great end-to-end model. With competitors including Net-a-Porter, the competition is stiff, but Thread’s wonderful niche is likely to stand it in good stead for the future!
According to GQ, Thread.com is “your new go-to guy” for fashion styling and retail. Its unique business model and stellar first few years in business have put it in a great position to snare new markets, but which other brands are breaking new ground in this sector? Let me know at email@example.com, and have a brilliant weekend.