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(In)Validate my idea: Bombfell - Dress well without the knowhow (bombfell.com)
11 points by bernieyoo on Feb 7, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments

(from a woman who shops a LOT): mens shirt and pants sizes are fairly standard - thats a good thing for this business. As long as you collect ppl's sizes, most things should fit. I would also consider having a style-determinant upfront. Like: do you want to look like mark zuckerberg, larry ellison, or sergey brin for example if geeks are your target audience (if not, use celebs.) at least this will generally put the clothes you send in the right ballpark of what that guy dresses like. although if he dresses like larry ellison he probably has his personal shopper and a wardrobe of armani and wouldnt be using this service! :)

my biggest concern with this business is that if its successful you actually make yourself redundant. meaning if ppl really like the shirts you send them, and say they're H&M - well they just decide to shop in H&M from then on and stop paying for you. Your retention rate is inversely proportional to how good your product is - thats bad business.

Men's shirt and pants sizes aren't really that standard - in the UK at least, all we have is waist size and inside leg for pants, and neck size for shirts (or S/M/L/XL for T-shirts).

The actual cut of men's clothes can vary a lot, and as a programmer who has recently become a lot more interested in clothing and style, I can tell you right now the number one thing that makes clothes look good is fit.

Anyone here who is wanting to improve their wardrobe, you don't need to buy anything fancy, any special materials or designer labels, just get something that fits. This doesn't just mean that it's big enough to put on without squeezing you, or small enough that it's not draping like a tent, but that it is the right size in all dimensions. Check for things like how wide the shoulders are, how tight the sleeves, length of the sleeve, length of the body, and any tapering.

Just comparing something like a plain-black Tee from various high street retailers in the UK, some will fit you much better than others, dependent on your body shape.

Thanks for the feedback! Great idea.

Our thought is that there's value-add in having a fashion-aware person pick out clothes for you - so in your H&M example, for someone like me simply knowing the brand isn't enough, I would appreciate someone picking out specific shirts or pants from H&M. I also typically only go shopping once a year, so not having to shop would be a big convenience.

i definitely see value in someone else picking clothes out for ppl who either hate to go shopping or dont have any sense of style. one other idea for you - you should combine this with a secret shopper business. brands will actually pay people to shop as "customers" in their stores so they collect feedback on how their employees behave, if the store was organized etc. i used to do this in college. your shoppers could also be secret shoppers - thats an extra revenue channel for you while they are out buying geeks their clothes! we should talk btw if you want to do this for real: mitalip AT gmail

My $0.02: I don't like the idea of ordering something which I have no idea if I will like (not that I can tell if that would happen as there's not much information). And if the point is to just find clothes that females approve of I can go on some women's fashion forum and ask them directly, then go find it in the store and try it on.

Fair points, our thinking is that this service would be geared to men who don't want to put in the effort described above - the value add would be the convenience of not having to dig around asking for opinions, and not having to go to the store and shop.

We are planning to try offering Zappos-style return policy and watch how the economics work out.

Considering that, if I go looking for clothing that isn't a T-shirt, > 80% of things will fit in a less than ideal way (shoulders too tight, too big in chest, sleeves not long enough, pants tight around calf or to wide at waist), I wish you luck in being able to fit everyone without having them try it on.

This is definitely a big open question - we're planning to allow for users to input their measurements so that it should fit reasonably well, but we could be misjudging how picky our target demo would be regarding exactly how well it should fit.

Two things that could help:

- Zappos-esque customer friendly return policy, if it doesn't bankrupt you.

- If a return is required, make it easy to report why - for example, on a pants return, have a picture of the pants, and sliders for the waist, length, inseam, etc. that go from "too small" to "too large".

- use past fit information to tweak what kind of clothes are sent out to that person in the future.

- Another random option - for things that are too big, offer to mail in and tailor them (an inch off the leg, for example).

- Also, people might REALLY like an item, and want more of it. I know I'm attached to certain bits of clothing, and often have trouble finding another to replace them when I go looking (other than stock items like jeans/etc.).

Awesome - thanks for the suggestions!

We are planning to offer Zappos-style return policy, as long as it doesn't bankrupt us :)

Meaning you want the exact same article of clothing once it wears out?

The main issue for me would be trusting the female approving the shirt. I suppose you could have a collection of people, each with a portfolio, but it's a bit of a catch 22: I have to pick a woman whose taste I like, but I am only using the service because I have poor taste in fashion.

One way around that would be to simply have a "style" that people want to fit. I might know if I live in NYC that I want the "Wall St" style; SF might be "Hip Startup". Being an engineer, it's much easier to classify objective goals than subjective tastes. If I have to look at a bunch of profiles saying "I go for a casual, slightly-preppy look with the right amount of professionalism"-- I am not going to know what that means.

He's a better idea. Instead of choosing a woman whose taste you like, you should be able to choose a woman whose personality / interests / etc you like. Hopefully that'll correlate to you wearing clothes that that sort of person likes?

Great - that's the type of "style" categories we're thinking of. Our goal is to try to minimize effort and our hunch is your suggestion is the right way to go.

Kind of hard to judge without more details on how it works.

Just based on the tagline though - I hope this involves posting an image of yourself. I could find a fashionable pair of pants just by opening an issue GQ. The hard part about being fashionable is knowing what looks good on you.

Perhaps I'm more clueless than most, but I've always relied on female friends to tell me what looks good and blindly bought what they tell me to.

Thinking this would be for people who don't want to read GQ or do any research. Plan is to offer some level of personalization, a somewhat crowd-funded personal stylist for many people at once.

I think "personal stylist online service" is a more useful business model than "send me a shirt that look nice". I can buy a shirt, but i'm probably doing the rest of "style" wrong and could use tips tailored to the rest of my appearance to make myself more professional or attractive looking.

I also had relied (a bit) on female friends to buy clothing. But they know how I look like and, to some extent, my tastes (no rainbow-unicorn-shirts, please).

Maybe if you could describe (somewhat) your tastes (like casual, modern, etc.) and send a picture. But I think your idea has potential.

Interesting idea, but a lot of open ended questions and returns galore. My friend tried to do a tailor made shirt business with the stuff made in China - failed too many returns and touch-ups.

I am doing something a bit similar, but we do more data gathering. http://www.makeyourgirlfriendhappy.com

My friend runs a shop where they take a photo of you in front of a standardized grid, which allows them to know your size automatically - this could probably be done with your site.

Ha! "The Art of Sexting". Brilliant.

What type of return levels are you seeing sending gifts to the girlfriends?

What's the name of your friend's shop with the standardized grid?

It's difficult to evaluate without a description of what the service offers. I recommend that you update the teaser page to tease visitors about some of the proposed features.

Generally in a personalized fashion site I'd like to see the following:

* an up-to-date sense of fashion

* An appeal to cosmopolitan styles

* Accessibility to the fashions offered (Amazon, target, AE, Aritzia, etc... links at least) I'd say it's best if you offered a deal finder and had your reviews tell people what is hot and cheap right now.

Fashion is closely linked with afford-ability.

My biggest complaint is "female-approved". Since when do only females know what looks good?

That's not a selling point for me at all. Would make me less likely to use this service.

This sentence exactly got me in. I read some czech blog about fashion written by a women about how Czech men dress terribly themselves. You should have seen the discussions under the articles.

I'm ordinary man and a hacker. I personally don't care what I wear. I prefer comfortable clothing. I don't care and I don't have problem with it. But women care and they see it as a big issue. I'm reading the blog just from curiosity to see how it looks from the other side.

btw. this is her blog called "Fashion Hell": http://modnipeklo.cz/2011/02/muz-muze-taky/

That's true, but we just wanted to convey the sense that this service would offer clothing that helps you appear more attractive.

Ah, so you want the Queer Eye version?

No, I'd rather have it like Trunk Club where it's just "stylists" or whatever.

I think we all have some friend that dresses terribly because their girlfriend/wife buys everything for them.

Is this basically a less effective version of Trunk Club?

Interesting, thanks for sharing hadn't heard of them before. We're planning a subscription-based model where you would regularly receive a shirt or pair of pants every month, so more "passive" consumption over time to keep your wardrobe reasonably up to date going forward.

I think depends on the type of guy you are, myself and a number of guys I know aren't really into fashion and aren't super-fussy, but do want to dress reasonably well - just without effort. Trying to test now whether there's enough guys with that same attitude :)

I like this idea. I agree with derekdahmer that it'll be hard to know what will look good on us without first knowing what we look like. What if you had some sort of "paper doll" type system. You upload a full body pic of yourself, and then the female approved outfits can be virtually tried on.

I've always wanted a service that would regularly send up-to-date clothes without me having to shop or know what's hip these days. Anyone else?

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