The clothing as a service business model is not disruptive for clothing retailers says CaaStle founder and CEO Christine Hunsicker. “It’s completely accretive and one of the big things about this technology is that it’s not disruptive. It’s not a disruptive model that’s threatening their businesses.”
CaaStle is a fully managed service that allows retailers to offer Clothing as a Service (CaaS) to their consumers. CaaS is an access model that they say has “transformative benefits” for retailers and consumers. CaaStle says it simply provides technology, reverse logistics and managed services to help retailers participate in the new economy.
CaaStle founder and CEO, Christine Hunsicker, recently discussed her CaaStle and why clothing as a service is not a disruptive model threatening retailers:
Enables Clothing Retailers to Rent Clothing on a Subscription Basis
CaaStle is a fully managed service that allows any retailer to offer a rental subscription service to their customers using their inventory. We are completely behind the scenes and nobody knows we exist. We are the people building the front end consumer experience, we’re handling the logistics and were handling the technology and the algorithms. We just take the clothing and the consumer list from the retailer and make it all happen.
What we found is that fundamentally consumers rent very differently than they buy, so most of the things that you buy, and if you think about your own wardrobe, are gonna be the basic core and the staples, things that you can get a lot of wear out of, and that makes sense from a cost per wear perspective.
When you rent you tend to go more towards the fashion and the trend. For a company like Express or like Ann Taylor or like New York & Company they’re going to continue to sell just like they always have. What they’re doing now is increasing engagement with their brand and increasing that brand loyalty through renting more of the fashion pieces.
Our Clothing as a Service (CAAS) Technology is not Disruptive
It’s completely accretive and one of the big things about this technology is that it’s not disruptive. It’s not a disruptive model that’s threatening their businesses. Right now it’s an opportunity for these retailers to jump on board and increase the number of new consumers they have and increase the spend that consumers have with them. It’s a significantly more profitable business and has very high engagement rates.
It’s everyday clothing. You can’t be concerned that you may snag it or tear it or spill something on it, there’s going to be some damage that happens. We want the consumers and the retailers want the consumers to be very relaxed and comfortable in the clothing. It’s actually part of the service fee, there’s no nickel and diming for extra insurance. It’s going to happen that occasionally the clothing comes back damaged, very rarely though.
We get paid on a per consumer basis so we’re completely aligned with the retailer to help them grow their base and maintain their base and have very happy consumers.
We’re Building this Company to Take it Public
As far as the Eloquii acquisition ($100 million) by Walmart, they have this strategy with Mark Lore (Walmart CEO) and under Andy Dunn to bring in a bunch of brands and expand their consumer base. As far as straight retail goes you saw it with Bonobos and Eloquii and ModCloth, this is just another step in that in that path.
I think it’s great for the plus-size consumer. I think it’s great for the Eloquii customer. They’re going to be able to leverage the Walmart supply chain and logistics and deliver a better experience probably at a lower cost point.
When it comes to, do we want to be acquired? We’re building this company to take it public. We don’t want to be acquired by any single player largely because we believe in fragmentation. If you believe the industry has been fragmented and will remain fragmented and if you want to impact the tremendous part of the economy you need to be a platform underlying all of the brands and the retailers as opposed to being a singular consumer-facing brand.