Unlike women, most men don’t see shopping as a social activity. As a matter of fact, for various reasons ranging from lack of time, no idea what type of clothing look good on them, lack of confidence in their capacity to wear styles that look good on them, issues with body image that stem from being overweight or underweight, a lot of men hate shopping.
Brian Spaly, co-founder of venture-backed clothing company Bonobos, has taken on the reins of what used to be an ailing Trunk Club as CEO. Trunk Club, founded in 2009 with a business model that ended up in quality control and customer service nightmare, has since flourished under Spaly’s leadership. Trunk Club’s target clientele are, well, men, especially executives who value time over money. Trunk Club doesn’t charge for a fitting and consultation. Just like Barney’s or Saks Fifth Avenue, the company makes money by buying in bulk and selling at retail. But what makes Trunk Club’s existing business model stand out is the customer service layer that gives them an unfair advantage over their peers.
So generally, once a client steps into a Trunk Club office (that is, if he’s got the time to do so), he is greeted by a sales person who also happens to be a professional stylist. The stylist then asks questions regarding his lifestyle, work, what he does with his time, what he wears, how he wants to look, etc. The fitting process is an opportunity for the stylist to further profile his customer and know his exact measurements. Depending on the client’s needs, the stylist can work with him on a recurring basis.
Now, if a customer can’t be bothered to step into a Trunk Club store, the company sends a box of items for him to try on and play with. If none fits or he doesn’t like any of the items, he simply puts everything back into the box and returns it at no charge. The stuff he feels like keeping, he keeps, a nd once the box finds its way back to the Trunk Club headquarters, his credit card automatically gets billed.
If the stylist’s service is free and a client gets custom-selected items delivered at his door anytime he feels like it without being charged a cent more for any item he chooses to buy, why would he shop anywhere else? Exactly the words Brian Spaly would tell his staff every morning.