We all know that finding clothes that fit is a major pain point for consumers. Rackery is a fashion tech startup that created an app to help their users find clothes that fit across a range of brands and retailers. We spoke with Rackery’s Founder, Raghu Murali, and Fashion Lead, Bharathi Gudi, to tell us more.
Rackery is a search engine app that finds the best-fitting clothes for users from more than 100 brands. It is the first app that provides recommendations and ratings based on what fits users. Using Rackery is easy and free – users just enter some basic details, give us their measurements or upload photos (yes!) and view a list of brands, along with fit ratings and size suggestions.
What inspired you to start Rackery?
When I (Raghu) was in management consulting, I would visit Thailand frequently, and got many made to measure shirts from a local renowned tailor. I was really impressed with the fit, and then started realizing that most of my ready-made shirts did not fit well, except for slim fit styles. I remember walking into the store of one of my favorite brands, and starting looking around for a slim fit shirt in my size. Much to my dismay, I could not find a single shirt in my size. It was then I realized that, with shrinking inventories across the board in brick-and-mortar stores, online shopping was the way to go.
But with online shopping, going through each brand’s or retailer’s website to find my size was a painful process. The other alternative was to stick with brands I knew well – but this meant having no variety in my wardrobe. I looked around for apps that would make the shopping process easy but there were none that fit my need. I then launched a survey of 100+ online shoppers, asking them what was their primary reason for not shopping online – 80% of them said it was a concern for ill-fitting clothes. That’s when I decided to launch Rackery.
Tell us about your PhotoFit feature
The PhotoFit feature came out of our own frustration of not having a measuring tape handy whenever we needed it. We would ask so many of our friends to try out Rackery only to be told that they did not have a measuring tape. We were on the verge of ordering a thousand tapes from Alibaba so that we could give them for free to our users. But we realized that this was not a scalable approach, and started brainstorming on other approaches. After considering everything from videos to photos to using a ruler, we finally landed on letting users upload their “selfies.”
With PhotoFit, users submit 2 photos of themselves by following some basic instructions on Rackery. Our algorithms aided by fit experts then scan the photos and recommend well-fitting brands and sizes. It is as simple as that!
What value does Rackery have compared to other companies in the fashion tech space?
Let’s say I (Bharathi) am shopping online for a well-fitting dress – traditionally I would need to visit multiple brand or retailer sites, look through their sizing charts, and see who provides me the best fit, how expensive they are, and what kind of sales they have going on. With Rackery, we bring all this information together in a single place – the user can focus more on which color or style of an item to get rather than worrying about size.
We are the first portal to let users choose from a growing list of fashion and mainstream brands. We add value in the most critical part of a user’s e-commerce journey and promote brand discovery as well as reduce the need for returns. Of course there are search engines like Google but they do not take size into consideration. Size and fit are especially big pain points for online retailers and marketplaces – both of them have to deal with dozens or hundreds of individual brands. Other fit-focused players are either mostly b2b (TruFit) or take a social approach (Fitbay).
What has been one of the most challenging parts of getting started? How did you overcome this and what did you learn?
Our concept demands a lot of experimentation, and in the process of implementing them we faced challenges every step of the way. Firstly, we created what we call a brand database. For months, we visited retailers’ physical stores and measured individual garments by hand to get an in-depth understanding of sizing – this is in addition to collecting sizing charts available online. We analyzed, studied and compared different sizes and fits to recognize variations and tolerances in garments. We spoke to many industry specialists to get an insight into sizing and fitting standards. All this took way longer than expected, and significantly slowed down our product development – however, we felt that getting an accurate brand database was more important than launching Rackery prematurely.
Secondly, developing the PhotoFit feature was more complicated than we had imagined – the human body is a complex shape, and trying to model a 3D object in a 2D photo requires much empirical analysis and advanced algorithms. We had dozens of human testers and took multiple variations of photos for each of them, including 3d scanning. In achieving these milestones, we realized we are very thorough in our development and constantly had to step back to ask ourselves how perfect the product needed to be – only when it got to reasonable tolerance levels, did we decide to make it public.
What has been one of the most rewarding aspects and why?
Since our launch of Rackery, we are noticing a growing number of users visiting our website and downloading our app. In addition, we are observing users returning to our website on a regular basis and spending time either browsing through their list of favorites, or clicking through new brand recommendations. This shows Rackery is creating brand awareness and shoppers are exploring new brands that they haven’t shopped at before. A few of our users have given us glowing testimonials on how Rackery is helpful to them and how Rackery has guided them to shop more confidently online. Such highly positive feedback from our users make us feel even more motivated to keep improving our product and the momentum going.
What’s next for Rackery?
We have received feedback from users stating that they would love to receive help for bottoms – e.g. denims, pants, shorts, and skirts. In addition, there is also interest from users on seeing individual boutiques and designers. We need to evaluate these and other inputs from our users before deciding on adding new features to Rackery.
Learn more about Rackery by visiting their website here and watching the video below.
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.