Data is the thing that allows many of the world’s biggest companies to do what they do. It powers Google search, Facebook ads, and Amazon recommendations. But while we’re accustomed to online services collecting information on us and using it to tailor their websites to our tastes, when it comes to physical goods, we take what we can get. Sure, retailers can do market research to predict trends, but at the end of a season, they’re invariably left with a clearance rack full of once promising products that turned out to be duds. True&Co is part of a growing group of startups that’s using data to make physical products a better fit for their customers. “With all this virtual stuff, it’s so easy to create a uniquely personal experience for every person,” says Lam, “but creating physical goods that also feel like they’re made for you is what’s incredibly fascinating to me.”
The problem Lam is trying to solve is the fact that most women are wearing the wrong bras. The straps slip, the bands pinch, and the cups, well, runneth over. That’s not, Lam says, because all bras are ill-fitting. It’s because all women are different. True&Co’s software has found some 6,000 different body types and counting in its customer pool. Finding the right bra could involve hours in a dressing room, if not trips to different stores, so most women settle not on a bra that fits well, but one that fits well enough. Lam, who was an investor at Bain Capital Ventures before launching True&Co, knew this process could be improved with technology.
The company launched a pilot test of four different bras last fall, which soon became one of the company’s best selling products. Those bras now account for more than a quarter of True&Co’s sales and have helped grow revenue 600 percent in just a few months. Lam is hoping to replicate those results with this new line. “We don’t create anything that’s not going to sell because it’s not going to fit anyone,” says Lam. “We create less waste.”
Novel as True&Co’s approach may be, the company does have competition. One startup, ThirdLove, allows women to take their measurements at home with a body scanning technology app. And recently, even Victoria’s Secret began offering customers a quiz on its website. That other brands are catching on comes as no surprise to Lam. “I look at the old retailers out there, and I see an imperfect model,” she says. “I think this is the way women are going to shop for intimate apparel in the future, and not only that, but I really believe this is the way women will shop for all apparel in the future.”
source: gizmodo.com BY ISSIE LAPOWSKY