Junk in Your Trunk Club, Part II

Yesterday, Trunk Club and their unique business model was the topic of discussion. This innovative model cuts out the process of going to a store and selecting items. Instead, clients can work with a stylist via phone or e-mail and have items delivered to try on and either keep or send back.

Intrigued by this opportunity, I went forward and ordered a “trunk”. The items I received were nice. I liked the styles. The items all went together well. The sizes were mostly right and fit well. Then, I looked at the prices. For eight items (3 l/s shirts, 1 s/s shirt, 1 sweater, 2 jeans, 1 pants), at full retail price, I was looking at a bill >$1,000. Those that know me know that I rarely pay full retail price and would not ever spend $1,000 on eight items of clothing. So, I sent the box back (postage paid by Trunk Club) and opted out of future service.

While I still like the prospect of selected items that can enhance and build my wardrobe, I am not willing to sacrifice my wallet for it. I am not cheap; I just know that there are better offers/deals/promotions out there to make the purchase more value oriented. Having previously run the wildly popular DealTaker.com website, my next step was to look up all of the items on my invoice online and see if I could source them in a way that was better for the pocketbook. After a short review, I was able to determine that I could indeed get all of the items online and at about a 30% discount on the total by using promotion codes or just seeing lower prices direct from the clothier.

Now to the title of these posts – Junk in Your Trunk Club. It may sound harsh and I may be exaggerating for effect. However, three of the items in the trunk I received were over a season old. I found the exact items on discounter websites for >50% off. Granted, I liked the items; however, why would I pay FULL retail price for items that companies had already jobbed out to discounters? It seems to me a “stylist” would factor in current trends to provide “style”.

Certainly this is a model ripe for disruption. I now move forward in that quest.

Junk in Your Trunk Club

It is interesting to see new business models emerge. I am a fan of smart business models that change the way things are done – when done for the better. Recently there has been a focus on mens clothing in the start-up world. In particular being able to order men’s clothing online with the help of a stylist. Because I am a fan of new business models, I decided to give it a try and see if there was substance to the model. While there are several new concepts out there, I opted to try the one that I have seen the most press surrounding – Trunk Club.

Trunk Club is based in Chicago, Il (directly downtown in a 30,000 square foot facility). While anyone is allowed to come to the facility and work with a stylist directly, the majority of the interaction is online. You can go to their website and put in some pertinent size and contact information. A personal stylist then reaches out by e-mail and phone to start a relationship. When talking to the stylist on the phone, you are asked what styles of clothing you like, what you wear to work, what you wear on the weekends, what you aspire to wear and your credit card information. From that, the stylist goes to the warehouse and pulls a selection of clothing he/she recommends based on the brief interaction. The items are boxed in a nice cardboard trunk and shipped. Shipping (via Fedex) is paid by Trunk Club.

Upon arrival, recipients open the trunk to see a selection of shirts, pants, sweaters, etc. A note from the stylist encourages trying on everything; mixing and matching to get accustomed. Along with the paperwork is an invoice with the price of each item (at full – off the shelf – non-discounted – retail price). Whatever you do not like or want can be put back in the trunk and shipped back to Trunk Club. They pay the shipping back, too. Whatever you keep is charged to your credit card at the full retail price. Within a short period of time another trunk will be sent by your stylist to keep building your wardrobe. …and so on until you decide to opt out.

Generally, that is a great concept and one that has already garnered a nice little business for the company. So, why would I title this post “Junk in Your Trunk Club”…tune in to part II.