Perfect fit: Decatur man wants to take guesswork out of online clothes shoppingPhoto provided by Fittery.
By Dena Mellick, Associate editor
A company that has its roots in Decatur is hoping to change the way clothes are purchased online – and more importantly, prevent them from being returned.
Greg Vilines started Fittery.com out of his Oakhurst home with business partner Catherine Iger. The two met working at AutoTrader and soon found they shared a problem that lots of people encounter when buying clothes online: they often don’t fit.
“We really hated the pain of getting something and getting excited when that box comes to your door and then the disappointment when you open it and it’s not at all shaped like your body and it’s not a fit that’s going to flatter you,” Vilines said. “We felt there was a big opportunity in the online shopping world to bridge that gap and give shoppers insight before that box arrives at their door about what’s going to be a perfect item or perfect brand for them.”
Vilines and Iger just launched their solution in late July. Vilines said they spent nine months gathering data and analyzing how clothes fit men’s bodies, looking at specific garments from various brands.
“We worked with fit experts out of New York, and we worked with big brands like American Eagle and New York & Company to really understand what makes great fit,” Vilines said. “Then we started using data to figure out how to match a person’s body to an actual garment.”
The website is free for shoppers to use. Vilines says once you put in your body information and fit preferences, the site outputs “fit ratings” in which you’ll see how a piece of clothing fits on the neck, chest, and waist, and whether it’s right for you, based on your preferences and measurements.
Vilines said Fittery gets a commission from the 30-some companies it is working with, which include Bonobos, Express, and Penguin. Just this week Fittery’s announced on its Facebook page that Lands’ End is available now on the site.
While you still have to return a product directly to the company if it doesn’t work, Vilines said Fittery’s goal is to prevent returns from happening in the first place. “Roughly 30 to 40 percent of all online clothing purchases get returned,” Vilines said. “The majority of those returns are all due to fit issues. That’s roughly an $18 billion opportunity just in the online space in total lost sales and opportunity costs.”
Vilines said right now, Fittery is focused on men’s clothing, but it’s planning to expand to women’s clothing in 2016.
And though the site just launched and is in beta testing, the business has grown enough that the Fittery headquarters had to move out of Vilines’ Decatur home and into a space near Howell Mill Road.
Vilines said Fittery wants more beta testers to give feedback on the site before a national launch. However, he said the company has been hearing good things thus far.
“We’ve gotten a lot of good initial traction, a lot of great feedback,” Vilines said. “We’ve got a lot of great brand partners we’re bringing on board.”