As the digital world expands and the fashion industry’s participation in it begins to explode, it’s inevitable that some approaches will begin to oversaturate the market. A good example of such a model would be flash sales sites. As giant sites such as Gilt Groupe and Rue La La infiltrated the market, other similar sites began to pop up all over the web. That’s the nature of the beast, the nature of evolution – anything once revolutionary will eventually become ordinary.
Another interesting model being employed in the fashion technology arena is the monthly subscription site: fondly called “SubCom,” or subscription commerce sites. Users pay a flat fee every month and receive a product, ranging from one specific item to a goodie box full of surprises. Between the “Mint’s” (JewelMint with Kate Bosworth, StyleMint with The Olsens, and the newly launching ShoeMint with Rachel Bilson) and Kim Kardashian’s ShoeDazzle, celebs seem to be monopolizing the subscription market.
Good news though – here are 5 examples of subscription sites that are thriving under the radar:
Ooh La La!
Panty By Post is a subscription service for – you guessed it – panties! Inspired by French women’s pride in their gorgeous undergarments, the site keeps things exciting as it sends a monthly panty to its subscribers. Women can choose a specific panty or can opt to be surprised each month! The price starts at $16.50/month for a 12 month subscription. An adorable feature of the site is The Men’s Room, which gives a man the opportunity to coordinate sending a panty to the special lady in his life, and coaches him through the process. They also have a wonderfully informative and visually stimulating promo video on the site, complete with French music to get you in the mood.
Get Cool Stuff AND Save the Planet.
Eco-Emi was created to make organic products accessible. While many people have the desire to use green products, Eco-Emi feels they are often too overwhelmed by the selection of products and prices and just give up. What better way to ease into a green lifestyle than by receiving a surprise box of “natural, organic, green, eco-friendly or Fair Trade products” to your door for only $15/month? The box could contain anything from vegan chocolate to organic lipstick and is meant to widen the horizons of a person’s knowledge of an eco-conscious lifestyle.
Make Me Up.
YouTube beauty tutorial sensation Michelle Phan has taken to the tech world with the launch of MyGlam. The model of this site is more similar to the traditional fashion subscription site in the sense that it asks the user to take a quiz then tailors the products that are sent to match her style preferences (think Stylemint). This is more of a “discover the products that are best for you, personally” approach, which instills the trust of the customer. Membership to the site is free and the beauty product subscription is only $10/month. The products also arrive paired with videos from a stylist using the exact products that the customer just received. The site even encourages users to create and share their own videos using the products!
Send The Trend is a fashion subscription site that also features the “take our quiz and we’ll send you an item based on your style!” approach. For $29.95/month, the site will create a collection of accessories (considering your style profile) and you can choose the one that will be sent to you. Fashion experts are available to answer style questions. The site also provides several different ways to accrue credits (which you can use to purchase additional items) all based on inviting your friends to join the site or via a link you’ve shared on Facebook or Twitter. STT takes things one step further and allows users to create a “My Style Store” where the user curates a boutique of her favorite accessories. Every time someone makes a purchase from the specific user’s store, the user earns a $10 credit.
“Turn into a gentleman. One box at a time.”
This sentence appears on the Bespoke Post site and we think it’s quite genius. The name of the box also earns them points: the Box of Awesome. Said box (which costs $45/month) contains hand-picked manly items from “emerging craftsmen and designers.” The process is perfectly geared toward men as well; Bespoke Post informs the subscribers of the monthly pick in advance, and the men can choose if they want it – or not. If they opt out for the month, there’s no charge. This month, the theme is “The Cure” and contains a cured board, cured meat, cured beans, cured preserves, AND a gift card to Lot 18 – a membership-only site that is a vino’s dream come true. (Wait… can women join?!)
Overall, the subscription site is a widely successful approach. Many people would prefer to share with someone else what they find to be beautiful and appealing and then relinquish all responsibility of the search for these items – but all the while, retaining their sense of self and still looking good. Some people like to know exactly what they are receiving; others thrive in the anticipation of being surprised.
The subscription sites also give customers the opportunity to experience a vaster range of products, which in turn benefits all involved. A merger of subscription services and social networking/community creation is the direction in which things seem to be heading, as evidenced by Send The Trend’s virtual My Style Store.
This also leads us into another burgeoning fashion tech model, the virtual stylist… but more on that next time.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.