It’s no secret that many girlfriends and wives still dress their male partners: 26 percent of women believe their other half doesn’t have a clue when it comes to clothes or general style. This may be one stereotype that actually still holds true, with women taking the cake for the most purchases in-store and online, driving three quarters of all retail spend.
With countless online fashion stores and style services offering women tips and tricks, there is definitely a fashion gap when it comes to men. Sydney startup Kent and Lime is looking to fill that gap by providing men their very own fashion kits catered to suit their style and the current fashion trends.
Founder of Kent and Lime Will Rogers said the startup was created as a mechanism to help guys find the right clothes without having to go in-store and look for them.
“We try and take all the noise out of that process and send them a box of clothing that is hand picked by one of our style advisors,” he said.
Customers enter their details onto the platform about their style and what they typically look for. Based on those details, Kent and Lime refine their style into five different combinations, including staple brands like Ben Sherman, Scotch and Soda and The Academy Brand. There’s a mix of Australian labels and international brands, making up 70 percent of what guys say they would wear.
Based on the data that is individually collected from the customer, Kent and Lime’s style team ships out a box of clothes, comprised of different combinations that can be interchangeable. Within the box eight different items from shirts, pants, blazers and shoes are offered to lend a style hand to those guys who typically hate shopping, have no style, or like many of us are completely indecisive.
Rogers said the boxes contain around $1,000 worth of clothes and accessories and expresses that the customer is under no obligation to buy anything. Kent and Lime is a try before you buy service, encouraging men to make a decision in a more relaxed environment without the typical pressure of a retail environment.
Of course, to ensure that unwanted clothes are not damaged and returned safely, Kent and Lime includes a return and insurance fee that customers are required to pay before their style box is shipped out.
Rogers explained that the idea for Kent and Lime was born out of his own style dilemmas – not being able to make a decision under pressure.
“I was that guy, I am that customer that we target. I had an event and I was in a busy job so I rushed down to the local department store and quickly tried to buy this white shirt for an event the next day, but I couldn’t quite find the white shirt,” he said.
“If anybody has tried to buy a white shirt, there are like 60 different options, different colours of white and collars. There was no one to help me…so I kind of bought the first white shirt that I could get and went to the event, but I didn’t really feel that great and it felt like a rushed decision.”
For men that still want that personal aspect, Kent and Lime also has a physical store in Sydney, giving customers the option to meet their stylist and talk about options and styles over a drink.
“We’ve got a big changing room, nice couch, drinks, you can put your own music on, you can do what you like,” said Rogers.
Collecting data and manually picking a style may seem unscalable, however Kent and Lime is testing the use of an algorithm that can understand basic qualitative data.
“We get data about what they want to begin with, then data about what they like and didn’t like, then that starts to seed the algorithm. This is so that when we have customers who are similar to other ones, we can start to refine that selection really quickly,” he explained.
Since launch in July this year, Kent and Lime has received $350,000 from an angel investor to help put the concept in motion. Rogers believes one of the most successful aspects of the business is the bespoke style algorithm and based on how it’s working for men, Kent and Lime may look to create a service for women and children as well.
“Based on the research we’re getting women have the same problems, just in a different aspect, so we’ve got some exciting plans on how to connect women with our services,” said Rogers.
Looking outside of Australia, Rogers said he is interested in entering the Southeast Asian market, which has a fairly westernised culture. Cities like Tokyo and Hong Kong are quite similar to Melbourne and Sydney in terms of being fashion forward and early adopters of new technologies, and Rogers believes they will make for an interesting first international testing ground.
Image: Kent and Lime Team. Source: Supplied.