Retailers Turn to Analytics, 3D Tech to Promote Fit, Reduce Returns

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had had a dress made for them,” she says. “I have vintage dresses of my grandmothers and they fit great. The experience that my grandmother had available to her we just don’t have any more.”

Those women asked Guthrie about handmade dresses made for work, eventually leading her in 2015 to found Kit, an analytics-based clothing label, with her college roommate, a former Army officer. (That’s where the name “Kit” comes from.) Guthrie spent the first year taking measurements of any consenting women that came in her path.

“Any bachelorette party I went to, ‘Step right up. I want to measure you.’ ” she says. “I was looking for a diversity of builds. In exchange for leading a strategy planning process for women in a roller derby league in Austin, I was measuring women on skates. I had a bikini waxer I really liked—you really trust a woman giving you a bikini wax—I trained her and she measured a bunch of women for me.”

Those measurements gave Guthrie the foundation upon which to build Kit’s “fit algorithm.” Guthrie says she spent months with the mantra of: “Oh, it’s so nice to meet you. Can I measure you?”

Kit has no sizes. In its “off the rack” category, the site offers a variety of dress and blouse styles, with a few skirt options, which are available in about 20 kinds of fabric. The shopper chooses, say, the A line sheath or a safari dress and then can pick from around eight to 10 fabrics. Depending on the garment, Kit asks for a preference on sleeve or hem length, pointed versus mandarin collar, and the like.

“A 5’7” woman with a long torso and pear-shaped figure, who weighs 140 pounds, creates a fit profile, and we then are able to go into our data sets and find the perfect avatar for her: someone who is that same height, weight, and build,” Guthrie says.

Instead of sizes, Kit works with five core body types: hourglass, straight, pear, apple, and busty. The algorithm is continually updated through additional measurements taken for Kit’s custom orders, she adds.

The startup initially funded lines through Kickstarter campaigns, raising $8,600 to develop “The Staple Tee” and nearly $7,000 for “The Perfect Lady Blouse.”

Guthrie says the company has raised about $140,000 from friends and … Next Page »

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