Ordering clothes online definitely has its benefits. Placing an order is just a click away and all you have to do is wait for the mailman to bring the package to you. Most online shops show pictures of models wearing some nice clothes you just need to have. But then you try them on, and they don’t seem to quite fit.
Estonian-UK startup Fits.me has found a solution to avoid this unpleasant surprise: a virtual fitting room. The team recently announced that their product has now expanded to nine countries, including France, Germany, and the US.
Before starting up, founder Heikki Haldre was working in fashion retail and realised that there is a difference between “size” and “fit”. “There may be only eight sizes of garments in a range (XXXL toXXS) but to buy online, customers needed better information than they could get, because fit is a highly personal choice,” said director of marketing Tim Donnelly Smith on behalf of the founder.
Seeing the opportunity for someone to solve the problem, Haldre pulled together a team of experts in bio-robotics and anatomy. The result: Robots that provide photographic images of garments on a specific customer’s size and shape. This way, shoppers don’t need to imagine what a certain piece of clothing would look like on them. All the platform needs are a customer’s measurements. “Clients report that returns for reasons of fit have fallen by three-quarters,” said Smith.
Founded in 2010, the company is headquartered in London but product development and implementation of the virtual fitting rooms is managed from Tallinn. The photographic studio as well as the research and development department is in Tartu. Fits.me also has offices in Paris, Munich, New York and Los Angeles.
As for now, the startup has 23 live fitting rooms and holds contracts with 24 retailers ranging from “high street brands to luxury brands”. Earlier this year, the team reported an investment of over 7 million dollars from multiple investors. Although the company did not disclose any figures, Smith emphasised that “we never do ‘free trials’, nor do we pay retailers to trial our solution.” All their customers are therefore paying customers.
“Our plans are to continue growth trajectory in Europe, and to sign clients in North America,” said Smith, adding that most of the received funding was being used for that. “We are doing exactly what we said we would do (…) and we will aim to begin a Series B funding round within this timescale too.”