A platform to review clothing for women of different shapes, sizes, and ages.
Fit and Flatter is an online shopping tool built on a comprehensive network of clothing sorted by body types. The company was founded to achieve the goal of building a website and associated mobile application which will serve as the go-to place for finding the most complimentary clothing based on body type.
Clothing sizing is not one size fits all across clothing brands. Most people have some pieces that are Smalls in one brand and Larges in another. Fit and Flatter's goal is to create a comprehensive network of clothing reviews sorted by body types so customers can more easily determine what different clothing items will fit them like.
Fit and Flatter is an online clothing review service and shopping tool which, among other things, delivers increased sales and exposure to clothing retailers, designers, and fashion bloggers. The platform offers easy-to-use functions for users, letting them simply click on a photo of their body type and leading them to a feed of options for that figure (while still having the option to take a quiz to find their body type if needed). Other unique components include connecting them with retailers in a completely new way and allowing them to read a detailed review of garments before purchasing them.
I was the Founder, Creative Director, and sole owner of Fit and Flatter.
My process was to build the company from the ground up including: research and analyze the market and competitors, apply for a provisional patent, recruit a platform designer, sales, and marketing.
The fashion industry is a $1.2 trillion international business.¹ The sector of the fashion industry 3 focusing on women’s unique body types, however, is currently disorganized and unsuccessful. Therefore, the market opportunity for Fit and Flatter is substantial. The current market trend for addressing this problem is styling companies. The most well known companies, StitchFix and Trunk Club, focus on stylists picking out clothes for consumers with the help of algorithms. Everyone wears clothing, but the fashion industry does not cater to everyone. One of the key success factors of Fit and Flatter is addressing a need that is almost completely neglected by the fashion industry. ¹.https://maloney.house.gov/sites/maloney.house.gov/files/documents/The%20Economic%20Impact%20of 3 %20the%20Fashion%20Industry%20--%20JEC%20report%20FINAL.pdf
It is important to note that Fit and Flatter has many different forms of competition. As it would be impossible to include all competitors here, I have narrowed it down to the most relevant four competitors.
Due to the unique nature of the company, the number of direct competitors in the market is small. Fit and Flatter is approaching dressing unique shapes in a totally new way. The most comparable direct competitor for F+F is Fittery.
Unlike Fit and Flatter, Fittery is geared towards men. The system works by directing consumers through a series of questions about their size and shape, then leads them to clothing options from brands partnering with Fittery. After a garment is chosen, users are then linked to the brand’s site where they can purchase the garment.
Fittery approaches solving the fit problem in a very similar way to Fit and Flatter, but is centered only on retailers suggesting their clothing to consumers. Furthermore, Fittery does not show their site users what they would look like in the clothing suggested on their site. They only show one photo and it’s just a typical model figure in clothing.
Indirect competition for Fit and Flatter comes in varied forms. The main competitors are styling services and shopping centers, whether online or brick and mortar. The biggest competitors include:
Styling Services - The biggest competitors are styling service companies. Companies like StitchFix, Trunk Club, and Snap and Style send users clothing they select for them based on their measurements, budget, lifestyle, personal taste, and computer generated algorithms.
Online Marketplaces - Online “malls” like Lyst and Net-A-Porter offer consumers the experience of a physical mall, online. Lyst offers users a personalized feed based on their favorite designers and brands. Online marketplaces are free to use and most have a universal shopping cart.
Traditional Brick and Mortars - Traditional brick and mortars must also be considered competition for Fit and Flatter. Traditional shopping allows users to actually see garments and try them on immediately. Primary Research
In order to gain first hand experience, I recruited and conducted interviews with potential users. First, I recruited users through word of mouth and conducted interviews, lo-fi concept testing, and surveys. Affinity Mapping On what they would use Fit + Flatter for:
On the frustrations they face when shopping:
On how they traditionally shop:
Fit and Flatter is concentrating on unique needs that the market is currently neglecting. Nonetheless, it is vital to Fit and Flatter to validate assumptions. During development, prospective users were asked various questions and participated in usability testing. By testing the target market periodically, the company will continue to improve the system.
There are three main target markets for Fit and Flatter: 1) consumers, 2) bloggers and influencers, and 3) brands and clothing companies. The platform will serve as a virtual shopping center for brands to connect with consumers, an avenue for bloggers and influencers to connect with their followers and fans in a whole new way, as well as a promotion tool for both. It will also serve as a place for consumers to shop in a whole new way. As a part of the launching marketing strategy F+F will focus on partnering with small clothing companies, brands, fashion bloggers and influencers. The small size of these entities ensures a higher probability for successful collaboration. Fit and Flatter will differentiate the partnerships by targeting different styles, consumer bases, and voices. However, each partnership will have a common theme of a body positive message and quality content.
There are three main target markets for Fit and Flatter: 1) consumers, 2) bloggers and influencers, and 3) brands and clothing companies. The platform will serve as a virtual shopping center for brands to connect with consumers, an avenue for bloggers and influencers to connect with their followers and fans in a whole new way, as well as a promotion tool for both. It will also serve as a place for consumers to shop in a whole new way. As a part of the launching marketing strategy F+F will focus on partnering with small clothing companies, brands, fashion bloggers and influencers. The small size of these entities ensures a higher probability for successful collaboration. Fit and Flatter will differentiate the partnerships by targeting different styles, consumer bases, and voices. However, each partnership will have a common theme of a body positive message and quality content. Table: Target Market Traits
To best reach the consumer target market, personas were developed for each diverse market segment. It is important to note that in each consumer profile an online voice is noted. The following table describes each voice. Table: Online Consumer Voices
Fit and Flatter User Personas
Refining the Problem Statement
After researching the problem and talking to potential users firsthand, I wanted to make sure I was clearly articulating the problem(s) I was trying to solve. I framed these in 4 "How Might We..." statements before I went any further into crafting a solution.
How might we destress the shopping process?
How might we help customers find clothing that fits the way they like easier?
How might we reduce the amount of time spent shopping for clothing?
How might we help clothing brands better serve their customers?
Design and Ideate
My next phase of this project was to ideate solutions to the problem based on my research and How We Might Problem Statements.
The key user flow is as follows:
Lo-fi Solution Mockups
High Fidelity Prototype
Creating a fleshed out version of the platform after establishing the key features and red routes was the next step in my process. My goal was to create an engaging, accessible, and inclusive design that solved the user problems. To create the best user experience possible, I worked with two platform developers to make the first prototype and further iterated the high fidelity prototype myself.
Upon initial testing of the first prototype, we found many little bugs and a few critical bugs that we iterated on for 8 months until the prototype was ready to launch. Misrouted buttons, format issues on different devices, and user flows intuitive functions like signing up were the key issues we improved.
Reflections and Next Steps
After a long development phase iterating the prototype many times, the biggest "next step" was to launch the product and see what real users thought. Some reflections:
Launching earlier on may have provided quicker, more intuitive iterations of the platform
Prioritizing the mobile-first experience will be more beneficial for future iterations
A way to implement a Universal Shopping cart in the future would provide another revenue stream for the business in the future
Creating an explore page could help users connect with others who have similar styles and body types