“Personal shopper.” This phrase, though brief, has sent many a woman’s heart aflutter. The idea that another person, an expert, would look at you and understand your style and figure out your body type and then dress you—the concept is nothing short of a fantasy. E-commerce fashion provider CakeStyle wants to make that dream a reality, by shipping packages of pre-selected items straight to women’s doors. Some might call it the Trunk Club of women’s fashion. I call it the latest Chicago startup to score another round of funding. CakeStyle announced yesterday a $1 million raise from Sandbox Industries' Sandbox Advantage Fund.
According to reports, CakeStyle boxes range from $2,800 to $3,000 apiece. That’s a steep price tag, but one women are apparently willing to pay—with thousands of new customers and shipments reaching six times the number they were at the start of the year, business has been good. CEO and cofounder Cecelia Myers acknowledges that word of mouth has been instrumental to CakeStyle’s growth. She and her team plan to put their funding to work for marketing and expanding into other cities, and that includes building on this system.
“The first step will be building a strong referral program to turn existing customers in [new] cities into brand ambassadors,” Myers said. “Next, we want to share our style advice in the local markets through press and style events.” Such events will allow CakeStyle to demonstrate how the company can provide customized services to women in cities as different as Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.
The CakeStyle team has its eye on expanding into major markets such as D.C., as mentioned, or Boston, but smaller cities like Milwaukee are also on its radar.
“Out of the gate, they wanted to focus on the future and how they could help,” Myers said. “They've watched CakeStyle start from an idea on a sheet of paper, and have offered integral advice from day one.” We should mention that Myers’ cofounder and chairwoman Millie Tadewaldt is also a managing director at Sandbox.
Looking ahead, CakeStyle’s focus is on expanding its customer base, building out its technology platform and growing its team (which is currently 10 strong). “Big picture: we can't wait to change how women shop online by giving the best parts of expert curation and personal choice,” Myers said. With style expertise and client data on hand, it looks like CakeStyle is in prime position to make online shopping the one thing it’s not: personal.
Visit Cake Style’s website, check out their BIC company profile and follow them on Twitter at @CakeStyleMe.