Tailored Fit: Changing the Way We Shop Online-Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tailored Fit: Changing the Way We Shop Online

Sitting in class one day, Nathaniel Eliason watched as a student shopped for clothing—on ten different websites. What a hassle, he thought. Why couldn’t you just use one?

While still a student at Carnegie Mellon, he launched Tailored Fit, a website redesigning the way we shop online, one personalized suggestion at a time.

For the online shopper, the Pittsburgh tech startup makes shopping an individually tailored experience, says Eliason, now co-founder and CEO. Users can create an online clothing rack by making selections from the site, which is pre-stocked with clothing of every category, color, and price range from different brands and retailers.

As shoppers “heart” and “remove” items on the rack, Tailored Fit begins to understand the users’ style and then fills their racks with more handpicked recommendations. When they are ready to buy, shoppers can purchase through their online cart or visit the retailer’s official site, which currently includes Nordstrom, Macy’s, American Eagle, Forever 21, and Shopbop, with more coming soon.

Tailored Fit’s platform uses an algorithm that is “based on over 1200 clothing ‘genes’ that describe very specific details about each piece,” says Eliason. “The more genes that two pieces have in common the more similar they are, and we can use groups of these genes to describe certain styles in order to make more detailed associations.”

Eliason argues that 90% of the clothing seen when shopping online isn’t what you want. “Our service learns your style and lets you shop faster,” he says.

Tailored Fit is also designed to work for retailers. The site will allow smaller retailers and designers to compete with the big name brands, as well as offer retailers a more targeted audience. As the company gains more users, they will be able to use guided marketing initiatives and research to make the industry more efficient.

Eliason brought his idea to Startup Weekend Pittsburgh in October of 2013. The 54-hour startup competition, which takes place in cities around the world, gives competitors the opportunity to pitch their concept to a panel of local entrepreneurs, develop full project teams, and gain feedback and funding to launch startups. (The most recent Startup Weekend in Pittsburgh took place last month.)

The top ten ideas were chosen by popular vote on the first night of the competition. What followed was an intense weekend of “hustling,” says Eliason, “where it was heads down working for 2 ¼ days...Read more»

By: Maeve McAllister, NEXT Pittsburgh