Dressing men to the nines

In the United States of America, about 42 per cent of customers are said to be interested in subscription boxes and customisable clothing sites, according to a survey by Cotton Inc. The figure rises among men to 48 per cent. "Men are more objective oriented - 'I need three dress shirts' - the hunter imperative. They want to look good, but not as many of them want to invest the time," says James Dion, founder and president of the Chicago-based consultancy Dionco Inc. 


Subscription box companies that focus on menswear in that country are Fashion Stork, ZipFitDenim, Five Four Club and Bombfell. Another interesting company is The Mr. Collection, which provides on-rent clothing and accessories to men, delivered on the tenth of each month. The package includes a mix of menswear designer labels, as well as everyday brands. Trunk Club is also a personalised service for men, with stylists picking out clothes for the customers and refreshing their wardrobes.


Attracting female customers

Most of the subscription box services are also gaining grounds on the ever-increasing women-focused market. Stitch Fix uses services of about 1,200 stylists and delivers more than 250 labels, ranging from denims to dresses, to the customers' doors. Subscribers have three to four days to decide which products they want to use from the box, and the remaining items can be returned in a prepaid shipping bag to the company. The cost is about US$ 20 per box, equivalent to about Rs 1,200. Another notable online company focusing on women clothing is Adore Me, which sells attractive lingerie at lower prices as compared to departmental stores.


Feasibility in India

In India, the subscription box is barely blossoming, and currently seems more inclined towards beauty products, toys and food solutions, such as Enchantess.com and Bake Box.


Enchantess provides a box comprising four beauty samples of Indian and international origin. Another site, Fab Bag, has sections such as the women's bag and the men's bag. Fab Bag delivers a package consisting four premium beauty products and one makeup of customers' choice, only for Rs 1,599 under a three-month plan, a research of the site by Fibre2Fashion showed. Fab Bag has about 35,000 customers, of which 25 per cent are from smaller towns and cities, according to a news report.


While subscription services have been rolled out covering beauty, food and cosmetic products in India, companies are still slow to go for this system. Industry experts have revealed that while online companies would like to kickstart these services, they fear about sizing issues when it comes to women's online shopping habits. Companies like Flipkart and Amazon already have a successful system of apparel returns, which can push such firms away from employing this model. Surprisingly, a Chennai-based ecommerce site Tee20.com is catering to menswear in India, delivering new brand T-shirt to subscribers with a pack starting from as low as Rs 600. A pack that costs Rs 1,200 provides four round-neck brand new T-shirts to customers every month by Tee20.com.