Monday, January 18, 2016

Stitch Fix vs. Trunk Club -- the same, but different

Subscription boxes are all the rage these days. From clothes to food, makeup to shaving kits, jewelry to pet treats, there's a box (or boxes) for everyone! Personally, I hate shopping in-store, mostly because it means dragging my kids with me. Oh, and dealing with people. I'd much rather order online, have it shipped to my house where I can try on items without my 4 and 7-year olds bugging me when I'll be finished.

After years of sticking to Old Navy, Gap, NY&Company and a few other retailers, I discovered the wonderful world of fashion subscription boxes. Not only do I get to have the items delivered to my home, I get a "personal stylist" to help me build the wardrobe I want vs. the wardrobe I can find.

I started with Stitch Fix about a year ago after seeing super cute items my friends were receiving. I was leery of the service -- I'm nearly 5'10" so finding items long enough for my frame is a constant challenge. The service costs $20 to receive. You start by filling out a personal style profile complete with age, height, weight, sizes
A sample style option on the Stitch Fix Style Profile
you wear, etc. and then goes a step further by showing you sample styles and having you rate them -- hate it, don't really like it, like it, and love it. Hate your stomach but love to flaunt your legs? You can tell your Stitch Fix stylist! Have an aversion to pink? There's a spot to check that off as well. You can even set your spending limit per category, but as with everything in life -- the more you spend, the better the items you receive! It is highly recommended you build and link a Pinterest board dedicated to the kinds of clothes you like and/or any celebrity style icons you have.

Once your profile is complete, you schedule your "fix" using an interactive calendar. Your Stitch Fix stylist will then select five items for you which can consist of tops, bottoms, dresses, outerwear, jewelry, handbags, and in some markets, shoes. You will receive an email when your fix is in progress so you can add any last minute notes, as well as a shipping notification complete with tracking number. Once it ships, you can "peek" at your fix by clicking on the checkout link but be warned -- even if there is a photo provided, the color or pattern may not be accurate. (If you have an iPhone, there's also an app!) After you receive your fix, you have three business days to decide what items you want to keep and you can return the rest in the postage paid bag. If your fix is a 5/5, meaning you keep all of the items, Stitch Fix will give you 25% off your order. Your $20 styling fee is also deducted from any items you choose to keep.

The service relies on a computer algorithm which takes your Style Profile, feedback on the items you receive (the more specific the better), Pinterest board, and your note to your stylist into account. There are many Facebook pages dedicated to the service as well as buy/sell/trade (B/S/T) pages, sorted by size. There's an ongoing debate about if you sell an item to someone else if it messes with your personal algorithm and, ultimately, messes up your style.

For the most part, I've been happy with Stitch Fix but recently my love for it started to wain. As such, I sought out an alternative service and after some researching decide to try Trunk Club.

Trunk Club provides fashion subscriptions for men and women.
Trunk Club is similar to Stitch Fix in that it delivers fashion straight to your door. The big difference is that you get to correspond by email or phone with an actual person who gets to know you and doesn't rely on an algorithm to select items for you. Don't get me wrong, my Stitch Fix stylist has gotten a sense of what I like, but being able to call and speak directly to my Trunk Club stylist provides an added level of personalization. In addition to the stylist, Trunk Club allows you to upload as many photos of yourself as you'd like so your stylist can get a sense of your body type, coloring, and style. You can also provide links to several Pinterest boards.  Trunk Club doesn't cost anything to use -- you only pay for what you decide to keep --  and you receive ten items. There's no "keep all" discount though. The biggest plus to a semi-control freak like me is that your Trunk Club stylist sends a preview of a handful of items (s)he has selected which you can veto before they arrive at your front door. A lot of the items are brand name clothes/accessories (think Lucky Brand, Kate Spade) so they can get pricey, but, as with Stitch Fix, you are able to set budget restrictions. Once your Trunk arrives, you have 10 days to decide what you want to keep and send the rest back with a UPS paid shipping label with pick-up service.

Both services provide incentives if you share a personalized referral link that others use to sign up for the service as well. Stitch Fix provides $25 for someone who signs up and orders a fix, Trunk Club offers $50 for anyone who signs up via your link and spends $50 with the service.

Here's the bottom line comparison...

Stitch Fix                                  Trunk Club
$20 styling fee                          No fee
Uses algorithm/stylist combo  Uses stylist you can correspond with directly
Sends 5 items                           Sends 10 items
3 days to decide                       10 days to decide
Link to one Pinterest board      Link to multiple Pinterest boards
No preview of items                Preview of items with ability to veto
Returns via USPS                    Returns via UPS
$25 referral credit                    $50 referral credit

So there you have it! For now, I think I'll bounce back-and-forth between both services to build my dream wardrobe. Do you have another service you like to use? Did I miss a key selling point for either service? Tell me in the comments!