Twenty-Two Years Later the 'Clueless' Closet Comes to Life
And it’s better than the 16-year old in all of us could’ve imagined.
Image: Finery co-founders Whitney Casey and Brooklyn Decker ahead of launch
In 1995 the cult classic Clueless was released. In it Cher Horowitz (played by Alicia Silverstone) is living her perfect valley girl, high school, Beverly Hills life leaving all '80s babies envying her perfect hair, perfect friends, and her perfect wardrobe. However, Cher may not have been serving the most enviable looks had she not had her entire closet available on her computer (genius!), putting all her clothes at her fingertips.
Twenty-two years later, Cher's closet has become a reality, but better. Founded by Emmy award winning television anchor and host Whitney Casey and model/actress Brooklyn Decker, Finery an operating system of sorts for your wardrobe. It launched online last month with an iOS app coming soon.
"When we discovered that women spend two years of their lives deciding what to wear and eight years of their lives shopping, we started some due diligence in the fashion-tech space and found nothing to help manage this," Casey tells Motherboard just as you begin to wonder if and why you need your closet catalogued online. Women, on average, are spending a staggering ten years shopping and dressing over the course of their lifetime. Their wardrobes (and everyone else's) are typically spread between a closet (or three) and drawers offering little visibility when picking out what to wear and even less when shopping for new stuff. "What we'd find was a lot of software developed to manage your travel, your finances, your music... yet nothing for your wardrobe," Casey went on.
The platform syncs to your email addresses and pulls all of your online purchases through your e-receipts to fill out your digital wardrobe without requiring credit card information. With over 500 stores and 10,000 brands, users will be hard-pressed to find products purchased online that aren't instantly available to be added into wardrobes. "That covers about ninety percent of the retail market. If you've purchased it online in the past 10 years, we will find it," Casey points out. They've also aggregated so many product images to choose from for all of your purchases that you'll have a selection of options for every single product making the user experience is super custom and super clean (unlike your bedroom floor after picking out an outfit).
It's not only a catalog of your wardrobe. Finery not only allows you to coordinate and organize your wardrobe with a bevy of options (date purchased, color, etc.) and create and save outfits, but it consolidates all of your shopping carts into your Wishlist and alerts you when items go on sale. Jenna Manula, who works at a New York-based digital marketing agency focusing on beauty and fashion, says, "Similar to Pinterest, Finery's Wishlist allows users to save their favorite items to one so called "board." In addition, saving items to my Wishlist provides me with (almost) the same satisfaction as purchasing an item spur the moment, and makes my husband happy because Finery notifies me when my saved items go on sale."
Further, if something goes on sale after you purchase it and you qualify for a price adjustment (aka getting refunded cash), Finery will play the middleman, handling correspondences with the brand without ever needing your credit card info. Another post-purchase perk: The platform will let you know as the window to make a return is closing in, as it likely differs for each site you shop on. On the pre-purchase end, it will also keep you from buying a sixth black turtleneck sweater, thus saving you money by alerting you that you may already own something nearly identical to what you're shopping for.
Now, not everyone shops for every clothing item online. There is still joy in Sunday afternoons spent wandering in and out of stores, right? Most brands are available or can quickly be added. Not only can you manually add items by brand and select the product image of your liking from the application, but those one-of-a-kind heirlooms or special vintage pieces won't be left out either as they have made it so you can snap a photo and upload an item. Another New Yorker, Nicole Gittleman says, "My favorite feature is the "add an item" feature that allows me to plug in some items that I purchased a LONG time ago or with an email I no longer use."
"It is such a hard concept to grasp because no one has ever done it before. Women log in and immediately see at all their beloved clothing they've purchased from the last 10-12 years organized, in one place, and they're stunned," Decker tells Motherboard. Casey then let's us know they've already registered four patents in the first quarter of this year alone.
Not only are women seeing their entire wardrobe like they've never accessed it before, they are spending a lot of time on the platform. "The average session length is an astronomical 11 mins per session," Decker says. Gittleman points out i just launched but says she's already found a few ways she uses it. "I'm still getting the swing of it, but I anticipate using it weekly when plotting my weekend outfits. Working in NYC, I typically have a go to "uniform" for work that doesn't require much thought, but I love that I can tap into my digital closet to scope out my weekend attire." She also adds, "The Wishlist is amazing! I am a sale shopper, and this tool is totally feeding my addiction."
This doesn't really come as a surprise though as it is brand new and they are vividly familiar with their user base. "The woman who uses Finery is busy. She wants to sync her wardrobe with the rest of her life effortlessly, start wearing the clothes she already owns, stop buying things she doesn't need and shop strategically to fill the gaps," Casey says. As we all become more accustomed to custom, automated experiences, it only makes sense for technology to aid in our shopping and dressing. "It should happen in the background while she is busy working, playing and being a mom, sister or friend," Decker goes on to describe Finery users' expectations.
Not only founded by two women, Finery is also funded by women. "We only represent seven percent of the tech space, yet we do 80 percent of the household spending," Casey says. "Most of the male investors couldn't grasp why our platform is important to women, and how it could save them time. It worked out perfectly because we love the idea of growing a company that is funded by people who love, need, and use the product," Decker adds.
There are male users and men's brands available on the platform, as well as children's for all the moms. This is where Finery can be used for household shopping, gift buying, and planning what to pack for a trip (for a single person or the entire family).
This isn't the end of the road either. Finery has plans moving forward. Not only are they building algorithms so platform will be able dress users from their own wardrobe based on location, weather and personal preferences, they are developing a powerful personalized recommendations tool comparable to Netflix, but for shopping. They also plan to build out a user to user marketplace where individuals can buy, sell, trade, lend, and donate directly from the platform. As an unfortunate 80 percent of our wardrobe goes widely unused, Finery is setting out to have users make the best of what they have, strategically and efficiently shop for what the want, and unload whatever they aren't using for themselves and everyone in the family.