The Brain Behind the Stitch Fix
Katrina Lake is an American based Entrepreneur and businesswoman, she is the Brains behind the fashion based eCommerce platform known as Stitch Fix. The platform combines a mixture of algorithms that combine the ideas of stylists with analytical data to come up with a personalized look. She is also the youngest woman to ever take a company public when she led an IPO in 2017. She was able to raise capital for her company and it is currently valued at $2.8 billion.
Katrina spent most of her childhood in the San Francisco bay area but moved to Minneapolis at the age of 15. Lake was a brilliant student and was able to join Stanford to pursue pre-med and economics. She later joined The Parthenon Group, to work as a consultant. It was at this consultancy where she interacted with a number of e-commerce retailers. Her interaction with these companies broadened her familiarity with the e-commerce space before she moved to a private investment firm known as Leader Ventures.
She enrolled into Harvard Business School to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration and later worked as an intern at Polyvore a social commerce platform. The platform was an online mood-board and a fashion collage company based in San Francisco. She also worked as a blogger and in marketing for some time.
The Conceptualization of Stitch Fix
After watching her sister struggle to purchase fashion items online, Lake sought to use her experience from consulting for the retail industry, to come up with a styling solution that was data-driven and would offer a personalized, tailored, shopping experience countrywide.
Even though, Lake was positive that her product was viable in the market her main challenge was convincing investors that the idea was profitable. She had numerous difficulties in raising capital because most of the venture capitalists had a tough time emotionally attaching themselves to the Stitch Fix concept.
She would get responses like “What is the difference between this and the personal shopper my wife see at Saks’. Her response was that Stitch Fix was a product that catered for women who did not have the ability to access personal shoppers. Stitch Fix’s market was completely different to the market’s that venture capitalists were familiar with.
Lake firmly believed that the only way to disrupt the fashion industry was by making personal shopping cheaper and reducing the time it took. This notion was backed up by her ever increasing customer base that currently stands at over 2 million users. Her business was already making insane profits within her fourth year and every time that she was in doubt she would consult with her clients urge her to continue working with her. This gave her the strength to continue looking for funding.
Stitch Fix usually provides its users an opportunity to order fixe hand picked items every fourteen days and every ninety days with half a week to choose what they want to keep. Every “fix” has fee attributed to styling that is refundable as per the customer’s purchase. The products are tailored for each client uniquely on the basis of ideas from real life stylists and a combination of data suggestions. This concept appears to be paying off since 70% of the customers comeback for a return fix in less than three months.
Lake is worth 120 million dollars and is considered to be among the list of the richest self made women.
According to Forbes, Lake is worth $1.6 billion, making her a candidate for Forbes’ list of richest self-made women. Her company is said to be worth 2.8 billion whereby Lake holds a stake of about 16.6%.