The direct-to-consumer fashion company is built around stylists who meet with clients at their homes or the national showroom, an approach that leverages one-on-one relationships — some nurtured over more than two decades. While Worth remains committed to its stylists, the Internet age of rapidly evolving technology, demands another way of connecting with customers, so it’s launching an app. (And possibly a subscription box.)
“Our customers can get fresh looks instantly, 24/7, hand-picked by their stylists on their mobile devices,” said Kelly Collins, president of Worth, adding that stylists are embracing the technology. “It’s another avenue for them to continue to build and strengthen their relationships.
“The app is huge,” Collins said, noting that during the app’s beta-test run over the past three months, Worth stylists created 34,000-plus looks for their clients and sent more than 72,000 personalized style recommendations, which helped generate a 34 percent increase in average order value.
Collins also revealed that Worth may be entering the subscription box game. Leveraging personal client information collected by stylists could improve Worth’s odds of sending products that are well-received. “The next direction we’re going in is curating looks and saying, ‘Here’s our Worth box. What do you love and want to keep?” Collins said. “We have something a little bit different up our sleeves. For us, it’s very much about curating something. ‘I know what you might like. Let me send you some things to the privacy of your home, and you can try on those clothes.’ We take out a lot of the guessing. We know your preferences. It goes back to the relationship with the stylist and personalization. We’re moving toward the idea of how we can continue to personalize. It’s in the pilot stage.”
Partnering with other brands is another growth avenue, Collins said. “Perhaps with shoes, we’d partner with a Stuart Weitzman, Jimmy Choo or Manolo Blahnik or a fabulous jewelry designer or handbag brand. The sky’s the limit. We’re taking that to the next step. My goal is to get every stylist to continue to grow average sales.”
About 400 stylists out of more than 700, met last week in Manhattan for an annual event that included a live runway show and training for the app. “They feel it will only enhance their sales,” Collins said. “The reality is everyone is so busy, do you have time to get to someone’s home or the showroom. An appointment is not always conducive to your schedule. If you establish that rapport and relationship with a stylist, you can see something on Facebook or Instagram. The stylist knows your sizes, taste and style preferences, and what colors you like and don’t. It enhances the sales process anywhere. It’s a form of one-strop and shopping.”
Collins is a stylist herself, who began in the role when she was 26. She was selling insurance at the time, when her mother took her to a Worth fashion show. “I thought, if nothing else, I’ll be the best dressed girl in the office,” she said. “I was making more money selling clothes four times a year than sitting in an office.
“I am and always will be a stylist,” Collins added. “I have to lead by example. If I can be president and still increase my sales, so can you. I’m trying to bring the technology into our culture. The stylists are independent contractors. It’s kind of a case of why would you not utilize the app. I’m giving you an opportunity to make more money. Who doesn’t want to make more money?
“As world continues to move at such lightening speed we have to be part of that otherwise we’re going to be extinct,” Collins said. “I know most people don’t like change and fear change. I’m your change president, otherwise, we won’t be in business.”