OnBrand Helps Men Find Clothes They Like
Sure the latest initiatives from the Teslas, Apples and Googles of the industry tend to dominate the tech news space — and with good reason. Still, the tech titans aren’t the only ones bringing innovation to the sector.
In an effort to highlight up-and-coming startups, Built In has launched The Future 5 across 11 major U.S. tech hubs. Each quarter, we will feature five tech startups, nonprofits or entrepreneurs in each of these hubs who just might be working on the next big thing. You can check out last quarter’s Chicago round-up here.
Brian McEuen knows men’s fashion and his passion for the industry runs deep. Prior to starting his own business, he was a director of merchandising for Banana Republic. In addition to being familiar with the fashion industry, McEuen loves educating and helping people find clothes they like. With his Chicago-based startup OnBrand, he is helping more men learn about and shop for clothes through highly-curated recommendations.
McEuen founded OnBrand as a side project shortly before the pandemic and later fleshed out the concept for the company while at business school. There, he experimented with different ideas such as building an app or using AI to recommend products, but eventually found that users responded best to personalized recommendations through email.
“I realized I wasn’t getting anywhere because I didn’t know what I was asking these people for,” McEuen told Built In. “So I started to tear it down to the most simple hypothesis that I could try to test which was, ‘Can I recommend a product to someone and get them to buy it?’”
Through OnBrand’s website, users take a short quiz about their current style, sizing and favorite brands. Using this information, the startup recommends products to each user along with tips on how to style the selected pieces and a link to purchase them.
I don’t want to just get my products in front of as many eyeballs as I can. I actually want to find products that the person is going to like and then buy and then keep.”
McEuen first thought of the idea for his startup while working at Banana Republic, during a time when direct-to-consumer (DTC) online clothing brands were gaining momentum and cutting into the sales of traditional retail clothing companies. DTC online clothing brands at the time were putting out high-quality products but their downfall was that shoppers couldn’t see or try pieces before purchasing them.
With OnBrand, McEuen is helping solve that problem by selecting pieces that are in line with users’ tastes and giving them recommendations on pieces that pair well together. By sending users links to purchase items online, OnBrand also gets affiliate commissions whenever a user buys and keeps a product that was recommended.
“I don’t want to just get my products in front of as many eyeballs as I can. I actually want to find products that the person is going to like and then buy and then keep,” McEuen said. “So it’s kind of a good incentive to find them the right stuff as opposed to just show them things.”
Going forward, McEuen is looking to scale OnBrand and reach more shoppers. He said he hopes to reel in new users through blogs and social media posts about the latest fashion trends. For the platform itself, McEuen said he will also test out new features such as fit guides that describe how loose or tight certain pieces of clothing fit.
“Maybe there’s a way to even leverage AI and machine learning to be able to provide these recommendations,” McEuen added.