Atlanta-based Fittery launched in August 2015 as a shopping marketplace dedicated to helping guys find clothing that fit. Using big data, the brains behind Fittery—like cofounders Catherine Iger and Greg Vilines—can tell any customer who’s willing to provide his measurements a list of brands and specific item
s of clothing that will fit flawlessly. Startup Southerner got a chance to chat with Vilines about this FashionTech startup and its experience in Atlanta’s startup ecosystem.
Let’s talk about the big data aspect of Fittery. Without giving away any of your proprietary secrets, how does it work?
Our approach combines big data with consumer psychology. We’ve spent countless hours talking to shoppers about what they think about fit and their body, and combined that with thousands of data points about actual human body measurements. These two factors allow us to home in on accurately predicting fit in a way no one else can.
Your background is impressive, but decidedly not in fashion. How did you make the jump to Fittery?
I’ve always been passionate about solving online shopping problems. My background is rooted in eCommerce, having worked at HomeDepot.com and AutoTrader.com. My partner Catherine and I both loved shopping online but were frustrated that we couldn’t trust the things we purchased online would fit, and no good solution existed yet in the market. So we decided to solve it ourselves.
How has Fittery grown since it launched?
As soon as we launched, we had retailers asking if they could use our technology for their customers. So we’ve built software solutions for retailers to power shopping experiences on their sites that guide shoppers to perfectly-fitting clothes. We already have partnerships with menswear companies like Twillory, with many more retailers about to launch soon. And since we’ve added software solutions for retailers, we’ve mostly focused on developing partnerships with brands, enabling their customers to find great fits. Those partnerships help bring consumers the Fittery experience through other brands’ portals.
If someone buys a shirt via Fittery, how does that work? Where is it coming from? Whose inventory is it? And how does Fittery make money off that sale?
If a shopper finds a great-fitting shirt via Fittery, they’re directed to the appropriate retailer (J.Crew, Ralph Lauren, Thomas Pink, etc.) for purchase and fulfillment. We make money on commissions driven from our site. For our software products that integrate into retailer sites, we license our technology to the brands on a monthly basis for their use.
Any plans to expand to women’s fashion? Or is that just a hopeless case?
Not hopeless at all! We’re definitely on the path to expand to womenswear, we should be there by the end of the year.
Let’s switch gears a little and talk about your experience in the startup world. Was this your first startup experience?
Yes, after years working with big brands, this is Catherine and my first venture into the startup world. For me, it’s hard to imagine ever leaving the startup space, though. Building and growing a company while creating a great team to work with every day has been so rewarding.
What has been the biggest challenge facing your startup and how did you or how are you trying to overcome?
I think doing a FashionTech business located anywhere but New York has been a challenge, simply for networking reasons. To help build our connections in New York, we recently participated and graduated from the New York Fashion Tech Lab, an incubator focused on connecting fashion companies to mentors and retail partners. It’s been a huge help in bridging the distance between Atlanta and New York.
You’re located in Atlanta; where’s your office and do you collaborate with other Atlanta startups, whether in a coworking space or through a support organization?
We work out of a coworking space called Strongbox West, and also have a partnership with Switchyards, a downtown club focused on B2C startups. It’s been amazing meeting other local entrepreneurs and hearing their challenges, and I think there’s real energy here in Atlanta to solve big problems.
What’s the best thing about Atlanta’s startup scene?
The best thing is the energy that’s growing here…between Mayor Reed’s commitment to growing our tech culture to companies like MailChimp and Pindrop showing off Atlanta’s bona fides, it’s a great place to start a company.
How about the worst thing about it? In other words, what’s missing?