New Executive at Los Angeles Subscription Retailer DailyLook
Los Angeles–based fashion-subscription retailer DailyLook has been using a proprietary algorithm since 2014 to assemble boxes of premium denim and contemporary tops for women who don’t have time to shop.
To lead the subscription retailer’s buying and planning team, DailyLook announced on May 22 that Chris Lepold was hired as the company’s chief merchandising officer. She formerly served as the national merchandise manager for the members-only online-shopping site HauteLook, owned by Nordstrom Inc.
“I’m bringing a robust merchandising experience to this business,” Lepold said. “It’s a merchant’s dream to have this data science behind what we do. It’s driven by an algorithm, but we bring a merchant’s sensibility to it.”
Brian Ree, DailyLook’s founder and chief executive officer, said Lepold will oversee strategy and drive overall brand growth. “She has an ability to implement change swiftly and effectively and brings a perfect mix of art and science to the business,” he said.
Lepold said her top goals are to expand the company in a cost-effective manner as well as improve the DailyLook’s customer experience.
DailyLook made news in 2018 when Forever21 invested $8 million as a quiet investor in the subscription retailer. Despite the investment, the fast-fashion retailer’s styles are not included in the boxes that DailyLook sends to its subscribers on a monthly, bimonthly or quarterly basis.
The retailer deals in premium-denim and contemporary fashions whose retail prices range from $65 to $300. About 50 percent of the retailer’s merchandise comes from contemporary brands and premium-denim labels such as J Brand and Hudson. It also delivers private-label brands from third-party retailers. DailyLook estimated it works with more than 25,000 customers.
Subscription-fashion retailers came to the forefront almost a decade ago when companies such as the San Francisco–headquartered Stitch Fix combined the inspiration of human stylists with algorithms to assemble boxes of clothes to be delivered to consumers across America.
Subscribers purchase what they like in the box and return what they don’t. The element of fashion surprise is part of the box’s allure. “It’s a combination of the convenience factor and the surprise and the delight factor of getting this delivered right to her door,” Lepold said.
At DailyLook, a $40 styling fee is charged for each individual box, which is credited toward any purchases made. A point of difference is that DailyLook offers consumers a preview of the contents of the box before it’s delivered. The previews help cut down on returns, Lepold said.
DailyLook’s main demographic is a suburban woman who loves fashion but doesn’t have a minute to shop. When women sign up for DailyLook’s services, they fill out a detailed 15-minute questionnaire about their fashion likes and dislikes. The information is fed into DailyLook’s algorithm, which then will suggest other items that the consumer would like, based on her questionnaire.
The retailer also has 36 full-time stylists on staff who finesse the content of the boxes sent out. The stylists communicate with the retailer’s consumers through email. Currently, DailyLook is experimenting with chat apps.
Subscription retailers are here to stay, said Paula Rosenblum, a retail consultant with RSR Research, headquartered in Miami. It’s because their business models are based on retailers who thrived long before the Internet and social media.
“I always go back to the Columbia Record Club,” Rosenblum said of the defunct record and cassette subscription service that peaked in the 1980s through 1990s. “It’s a different product, but certain rules still apply. This was a way to get music into the young adult’s home. It was often easier to just accept the record than to turn it down. And the company had other outlets for its products, so it was accretive rather than singular. This is important for all subscription retailers. Do you have other ways to sell your products or are you solely depending on subscriptions? And if all you’re depending on is subscriptions, what do you do with the excess? I prefer to see it as part of an overall business strategy rather than something all on its own.”