MFMK looks to take personal styling mass

The startup creates free inspiration boards, driving traffic to retail partners like Simons and Penningtons.

Quebec-based personal styling website MFMK is aiming to expand its customer base in English Canada, hoping its model resonates and will drive online sales for its retail partners.

MFMK (“Mon fit, mon kit”) was launched in late 2015 by stylist Elise Lachance (pictured) as a way to provide free wardrobe suggestions from Canadian retailers to shoppers.

Users take a brief questionnaire, providing answers on things like body type, budget and wardrobe needs. Those answers then go to MFMK’s team of about 15 stylists, who create personalized inspiration “boards” of potential products from its retail partners (shoppers can request multiple boards).

Currently, those retail partners include Simons, Penningtons, Ernest, Lole and Tristan (brand partnerships are made for six to 12-month periods).

Revenue is derived through a cost-per-click model (versus a percentage of ecommerce sales), Lachance says. MFMK doesn’t disclose results related to its retail partnerships, but says that 18,000 people hold an MFMK account and the site has an average of 30,000 sessions per month, with a returning visitor rate of 60%. It also has a 56% open rate on its newsletter, which goes to 15,500 subscribers.

In terms of marketing, MFMK has used in-store events with retail partners to promote its service, Lachance says. Along with Facebook ads, the site also works with influencers, most recently Shadowhunters actress Maxim Roy and singer Marilou. The MFMK website itself doesn’t currently host any advertising.

Currently, the site’s user base is roughly 80% women and 20% men, and it varies in age and income, she says. However, it’s base is mostly in Quebec and the startup has been working on translating its blogs and other materials into English to continue growing, working with Bicom Communications on its media relations strategy.

Getting a base outside that province will indeed be key for its growth, says Maureen Atkinson, senior partner with J.C. Williams Group. Options online can be overwhelming, so making the shopper process more efficient could be a draw for shoppers, she says.

Atkinson says she hasn’t seen a similar model to MFMK, though there are a handful of personal styling services in the U.S. that are more in line with traditional ecommerce. Stitch Fix, for example, delivers five wardrobe options, which can be kept or returned, to customers based on their style profile. Nordstrom subsidiary Trunk Club also aims to make personal styling more accessible through its online service and “clubhouses.”

Assuming clicks are actually coming their way, retailers might have the benefit of being seen to offer a higher level of personalized service, Atkinson says. For MFMK, meanwhile, not having any actual inventory keeps costs down.