A brush with one of the BBC’s “Dragon” investors is often more than a start-up founder can take – most leave the Den, populated by wealthy entrepreneurs turned television personalities – such as Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meadon – with a flea in their ears and their business plans in tatters.
In the case of Enclothed, however, founders Levi Young and Dana Zingher left the Den with a deal in place – only to turn it down.
For them, the publicity generated by their brief appearance on television, pitching their personalised fash-tech start-up that sends boxes of clothing to subscribers monthly, based on their fashion preferences, and lets them keep the items they want and return the items they don’t, was more than enough to drive “exceptional growth” for the business.
Dara and Levi said “thanks, but no thanks” to their erstwhile investors – and they haven’t looked back.
Enclothed is now delivering more than 900 boxes each month, no two the same, designed especially for its recipients based on a profile users are asked to create when they sign up to the site.
Every user is then allocated a “personal stylist”, and each month they receive a box with 5 specially chosen items selected from the 40+ top brands Enclothed partners with.
Recipients have up to 5 days to try the clothes out, and when it’s time to return the box (all dealt with and arranged by Enclothed), they simply send back the ones they don’t want, and are billed for the ones they keep.
Simple! It doesn’t take a Dragon to work out that there is a decent-sized market for personalised clothing picked by a stylist and delivered to your door, with no obligation to buy.
Now Dana and Levi are taking things a stage further by appointing Mention Me, a specialist referral platform provider, to handle an expansive refer-a-friend program.
“Taking care of your existing customers is key. If you deliver exceptional service they are more likely to become advocates and spread the word”, says Dana.
“We chose Mention Me to help us launch the scheme due to their focus on a slick customer experience, combined with the ability to AB test offers to find the rewards that really resonate with our customers.”
Andy Cockburn, who is the founder and CEO of Mention Me, says he is witnessing a growing number retailers “harnessing customer advocacy as a key to driving growth”.
Word of mouth marketing is legendarily effective – capturing the spontaneity of friend to friend communication and formalising it into a web based “refer-a-friend” programme is a trickier business, however. So it helps if you have the right credentials.
“We have successfully partnered with a number of fashion brands and are delighted to be working with Enclothed”, Cockburn says; “We look forward to helping them reward their happy customers.”
Mention Me were announced as winners of the Retail Week Buzz Showcase in September this year, with their platform described as a “very relevant solution for today’s consumer”, by a judging panel comprising of senior level execs at New Look and Shop Direct , who all felt that they could “see this solution being implemented easily into their own organisations.”
It seems like Enclothed have taken another big decision that they won’t live to regret.