CEO Of StitchFix Explains When She Knew It Was Time To Start A Business

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Answers by Katrina Lake, Founder & CEO of Stitch Fix, on Quora.

A: I'm not a naturally entrepreneurial person - I didn't have a lemonade stand growing up - but I was always super passionate about retail and the opportunities to create a better retail experience for shoppers. In my career journey, I explored trying find an innovative retail company to join, trying to find an emerging tech company to join, but finally realized that if I wanted to work at a company that was doing this, I would have to start it myself. I'm naturally risk-averse, so I was diligent about creating goals and checkpoints for myself to make sure that I truly believed in the concept I was starting and could prove that others would as well.

For anyone thinking of starting something, I would highly recommend bootstrapping your own test and be brutally honest with yourself about the results. When I was testing the concept for what would eventually become Stitch Fix, I would go out to boutiques in Boston and buy pieces of clothing at retail to sell at retail, maxing out my credit card at its $5000 limit and taking advantage of more than a few return policies. But, I was able to prove to myself and to investors that concept was viable.

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A: Being called a subscription box service! While the trend of subscription boxes has been great in terms of consumers being more open to new business models, the core of what we do is less about the subscription and more about personalization.

First, as opposed to subscription boxes that send a curated collection of a certain category of products, Fixes are totally personalized to each individual client - her body, her budget, her needs.

Secondly, while we offer subscription options for our clients who want to "set it and forget it", it's definitely not a requirement to receive a Fix. We make it easy for our clients to opt in and out of subscription Fix options, or just select dates "a'la carte" that might work best for them.

It's a very common misconception, but one we're continuing to move away from!

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A: iOS-connected fabric that counts your steps every day and tells you when you should be hungry! Just kidding.

The range of styles that we carry will only continue to broaden as we grow. Even looking back to a few years ago, we didn't have the depth and breadth of pieces that we do today - I love seeing merchandise like a purple suede moto jacket or a fringed wrap skirt for our stylists to choose from!

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