PS Dept. is looking to bring its own brand of personalized service to a broader audience.
This story first appeared in the November 27, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The app, which is currently in beta mode and connects shoppers with store associates via text and photos, is ready for a broader public launch Friday. Currently, the app is invite-only and has thousands of users.
PS Dept. helps both the customer who doesn’t know what they want to buy and the customer who knows exactly what they want to buy, but just need help tracking it down, said former Barneys New York buyer Michelle Goad, who cofounded the app with Wolf Klinker.
“Most customers want to engage with experts,” Goad said. “You have the ability to just text the person. You can buy right off the feed. It’s one-to-one human-powered content. You’re texting with a real human in-store. It’s not a fashion app; it’s a service.”
PS Dept. has more than 35 partners — including Stella McCartney, Derek Lam, Theory, Helmut Lang, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Diane von Furstenberg, Cynthia Rowley and Hirshleifers — and enables store associates to conduct sales through the app. Goad said PS Dept. charges a commission to stores and has driven hundreds of thousands of dollars in sales so far.
Shipping and returns are free for all purchases, and if a store can’t fulfill an order, someone on the PS Dept. staff will hunt down the item from another wholesale account.
The app closed a seed round of funding in March 2013 from investors including Garrett Camp, cofounder of Uber, and Carmen Busquets, founder of Giftlab and Couturelab and cofounder of Net-a-porter. Goad declined to disclose how much funding the company has received.
“PS Dept. is a direct line to shop with personal shoppers and experts inside the top stores, on-demand,” Busquets said. “This is a modern way to make personal service available at the tips of your fingers.”