Tuesday, April 10, 2012

New Website Turns Shopping-Phobic Men Into Fashionistas

It's no secret that, generally, men aren't as fond of shopping as women. Many would probably prefer to have their clothes shipped to them rather than going out to buy them. And this is just what Frank & Oak, a startup based in Montreal, Canada, is offering – a convenient, painless shopping experience for men ages 20 to 35.

Similar to a personalized men's fashion magazine, as CEO Ethan Song put it, Frank & Oak publishes a new collection on its website every month. Members receive an email newsletter with a selection of items based on their style and preference. They can choose five pieces from the collection, which are then delivered straight to their doorstep so they can try them on. If they like something, they pay for it and keep it. Otherwise, they simply send the products back. The service is free and there is no pressure to make a purchase.

Unlike some fashion websites that dictate what their audience should be wearing, Frank & Oak does it the other way around and pays attention to what appeals to their customers. “Our clients play an important role in the direction of our products,” Song says.

And because Frank & Oak is not merely acting as a curator but also designing and manufacturing the garments, they are able to offer exclusive, quality items at affordable prices. Everything for sale is $50 or less.

According to Song, “Everything is shipped directly from us to the client. It's almost as if we design the product and the client receives the product directly from the manufacturer. By doing that we're cutting out two or three layers of cost.”

Within a week of opening its doors to retail indifferent men last February, Frank & Oak has already admitted 12,000 subscribers. Still, the startup is limiting its membership base due to inventory reasons.

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