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Luxury Personal Shopping Is the Future Two New Fashion Apps Are Counting On

Against a challenging landscape for department stores and fashion e-commerce giants, two new apps aiming to make luxury personal shopping easier held buzz-building launch parties during Paris Fashion Week on Sunday.

First up, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler, Sarah Andelman, Alexis Mabille, Rickie de Sole, Tina Leung and more gathered to celebrate The Floorr.

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Cofounded by Net-a-porter vets Lupe Puerta and investor Carmen Busquets, The Floorr bills itself as the first global engine for personal shopping entrepreneurs to better serve the industry and end customers.

“When big businesses like Farfetch and Matches fail, that leaves a lot of clients, and it’s a great opportunity.…Luxury is all about loyal clients,” said Busquets.

“And it leaves a lot of personal shoppers,” said Puerta, who was behind the Extremely Important Person loyalty program at Net-a-porter, and said personal shoppers and stylists drive as much as 15 percent of luxury goods sales.

She created the software and platform to leverage that, onboarding retailers including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Browns, SSense, Net-a-porter, Matches, Chloé and Ferragamo, so that all of their inventory is displayed in one place. The app allows personal shoppers to have their own profiles and streamline their process, pulling from a vast selection and communicating to customers via in-app chats, mood boards, looks and more.

The idea “is that personal shoppers are becoming brokers in fashion,” Puerta said. “They want a place where they can earn from anywhere in the world. We’re allowing them to work in a very agile way so they don’t have to be sourcing all the time, they don’t have to be creating PDFs and DMing all the time.”

The Floorr has about 200 personal shoppers on the platform who can each generate a net of $1 million to $4 million a year, she said, and may have anywhere from 10 to 100 customers. The app has Hollywood stylists and Hermès sourcing experts among its ranks.

“People look up to Hollywood stylists and they want to work on dressing people for the red carpet, but even those working with major celebrities understand there is a lot of low-hanging fruit for them, and we are that platform where they can manage everyone else they don’t have a major project with,” she said.

The Floorr has about 200 personal shoppers on its platform.
The Floorr has about 200 personal shoppers on its platform.

The Floorr is an intermediary, and does not handle inventory, sales or shipping; that’s up to the personal shoppers. But when there is a sale, The Floorr takes a small commission (8 to 20 percent) that varies from brand to brand.

“A huge number of personal shoppers now work freelance. And we’re not just looking at them, we’re looking at the whole entire shop-floor workforce, which is one of the biggest workforces in the world. We want them to have a tool in their hands, even if they’re on the shop floor or online, so the minute they have a customer in front of them, they can come to our global inventory feed and close the sale and still get the commission.”

Certainly, shoppers could benefit from smoother customer service, or in some cases, any customer service, too.

“I remember many years ago…my father said people are going to pay a fortune for service and service is going to be the most wanted thing,” said Busquets. “It’s becoming like that.”

Meanwhile, at Café Lapérouse, Ashley Graham, Brooks Nader, Alejandra Rojas, Jonathan Simkhai and others gathered to celebrate the launch of Vêtir, the AI-driven smart shopping app, digital closet and styling platform created by industry vet Kate Davidson Hudson.

Kate Davidson Hudson
Kate Davidson Hudson

After gaining experience working with VICs, or very important customers, at LuisaViaRoma, Davidson Hudson started developing the app two years ago to create a way for clients and their personal stylists to shop without the bounds of geography or physical touch points.

“We have a lot of VICs, especially in the U.S., shopping across different e-commerce platforms…and that model is being rethought before our eyes.…But there’s also this emerging micro ecosystem of personal sourcers, Gab Waller and Front Row Live, for example, who VICs are turning to. Then you have your favorite in-store associates. So Vêtir is really built around the idea of synchronizing everything into one interface,” she said.

Vêtir allows users to upload the contents of their closets to the app (Tom Brady’s four closets are currently being uploaded, Davidson Hudson said, noting they created a software that silhouettes items to make them more appealing.) Then they can invite their favorite stylists and store associates to send personalized shopping recommendations and outfits, even adding them to a personal calendar or packing list.

“We have a lot of celebrity stylists like Erin Walsh who, when Anne Hathaway is on a press junket, will put in an outfit at 9 a.m., at noon, at 3 p.m. and it shows up in her calendar as a link. You open the link and it opens right to the outfit page on the app. And some of our VICs who have multiple homes or have a home manager, that’s a really useful tool in terms of packing lists. Or they can scroll through their different closets and everything’s aggregated and categorized there. The huge interface is a giant data play, because behind the scenes, the AI really is learning your personal preferences and shopping habits,” she explained.

A custom algorithm is created for each user. “Meaning if someone’s chatting with their stylist in the app and they say, ‘I really don’t like my arms, please don’t send me anything shorter than a short sleeve,’ the AI tracks that prompt and it will never show you anything that is sleeveless.”

The app is set up with three carousel feeds, one populated by human touch, which is a stylist who will add suggestions and notes like “this new Gucci top would go great with the vintage Gucci cardigan in your closet for your trip this weekend.” The second carousel is an AI feed that pulls out arrivals from brand partners based on your preferences. The last feed is a general new arrivals feed.

Vêtir is also inviting top personal sourcers to curate drops, for must-have Alaïa flats, for example.

The app operates on a marketplace model, with different retail partners plugging into the back end. Net-a-porter is the exclusive multibrand partner for the first year, and mono brands Altuzarra, Gabriela Hearst and others are linked through their Shopify accounts. There’s a universal shopping cart “which was really important for us to build. Instead of sending you off to another site, we wanted to control the experience. And it aggregates all of your order details in one place and uploads it to your closet with meta-tags,” she said.

Vêtir is also licensing its tech pack to e-tailers to offer to personal shoppers, who can access analytics in real time, and use the interface to service one or all of their clients at one time. And that data is owned by the e-tailer, even if the personal shopper leaves.

The app is free to users but gated at the moment, and stylists must have a $2 million minimum book to qualify to be on the platform. There is currently a wait list of 79 stylists to join, she said, likening the app to “Uber for stylists.”

Vêtir is also beta-testing a patented technology for shoppable video that lets stylists be in their atelier or a store, take video with a timestamp and link embedded, so a client can buy in-app. “It’s a way for them to scale their business beyond their timezone and physical restraints,” she said.

The goal is to sign all the top luxury, prestige and jewelry brands, and one day to open up the app to high net worth clients who don’t work with personal stylists.

This is the next generation of the box styling model, Davidson Hudson stressed. “We don’t touch inventory, which is the problem with a lot of what we’re seeing in the market now — the return issues with Farfetch and YNAP and Matches. With the mono brands becoming so strong, we’re there to service them and connect the dots with their VICs.”

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