For some of us, going shopping is an event or experience in itself: whole days are set aside and devoted entirely to pounding the pavement looking for the best deals and taking in the atmosphere of each store. However for others, particularly young male professionals, whether it’s buying groceries or clothes, shopping is a dreaded chore.
That’s why text-based personal shopper startup BEAU Shopper recently launched in New York City, home to millions of such men.
The idea for the service, which allows customers to text clothing-related shopping requests to a personal shopper, came from CEO Yazid Aksas’ experience with his other business BEAU, which makes custom clothing for men with fit issues.
“We realized a lot of our clients needed assistance for everything else in their wardrobe and were asking us for advice and guidance. We decided to offer a personal shopper service that is easy and friendly to use, all by text messaging,” Aksas said.
A customer can text BEAU a fashion request, whether they be specific down to the colour and brand of an item, or more general, like “I need three ties that go well with blue shirts.”
Aksas said that the main difference between BEAU Shopper and its competitors is that while the others are logistics companies and delivery services, BEAU can offer its users fashion advice.
“Our team knows very well what they do. You don’t want the same person who picks up a latte for you to be the one you rely when it comes to style,” he said.
BEAU Shopper also differs in that it is targeting a very specific niche; where other apps allow users to buy all kinds of items, this service focuses on fashion for young men, a group not stereotypically seen heading to clothing stores in droves – at least not voluntarily.
“We are excited about it because it fits with this generation’s needs,” Aksas said.
The startup, which is backed by VC investment, was recently launched in New York City, for the time being focused on servicing the tailoring business’ 4000-strong customer base.
If the stereotype of the young man who hates shopping for his own clothes is to be believed, the service offered by BEAU Shopper is a valuable one. While an app-based service would have allowed for easy integration with the BEAU tailoring online store and other features to enhance the shopping experience, stripping all the extras away and limiting it to texts makes the shopping process seem as easy and quick as possible. After all, customers would have chosen to use the service because they don’t have the time or desire to browse, whether it be in store or online.
A fee of $25 is charged per shopping request – including delivery and tip – which is down on the minimum $90 charged per hour by most personal shoppers in New York.
The shoppers, who BEAU states have all graduated from “top fashion schools”, shop at major department stores and exclusive boutiques, according to budget.
Though expansion into different cities is on the table, Aksas said the startup isn’t looking to hurry anything.
“We want to fine tune our service and establish ourselves as a great and reliable wardrobe assistant for the busy men out there.”