There is something to be said about the serendipity of shopping in brick and mortar stores, especially when you’re buying fashion. The dilemma with clothing is that you don’t know what you’ll like until you get to the store and are presented with an array of options, and that perfect thing you never though you’d like. Perhaps this is why people stock up sartorially in actual stores — Part of the fun of shopping is the sense of discovery involved in finding and loving items IRL.
Attempting to bring some of this spontaneity back, startups like Stylemint and Birchbox are trying to make the online shopping experience as novel as the offline. A new addition to the spontaneous online shopping club today is startup Little Black Bag, which takes off on the Japanese shopping concept of fukubukuro, or “lucky bag sale,” where shoppers buy a mystery bag of fashion products and then trade those items with friends.
Taking off on this concept, Little Black Bag attempts to apply this model to the Internet. To get started the app asks you questions about your style preferences, allowing you to choose options like “Hipster” or “Classic” to questions like “What are your favorite styles?” The site then presents you with a virtual “bag,” revealing one item and keeping the other two a mystery.
A user can purchase their bag for $59.95 or $49.95 for a monthly subscription and, if they don’t like the products, can trade their items with other Little Black Bag users resulting in modest savings on brands like Betsey Johnson, Z Spoke by Zac Posen and others. The company turns a profit on its resale margin.
“I’ve been fascinated for years by how cold the Internet is when it comes to eCommerce,” writes co-founder Dan Murillo, “And this gap has only gotten bigger as new social media sites have emerged (Pinterest, Path, etc.) When I came across this idea, I thought it would be the perfect starting point from which to build a truly interactive community around eCommerce.”
To execute on its vision, Little Black Bag has just raised $2.75 million from investors like GRP, DCM Chamath Palihapitiya, Tim Kendall and David Tisch. Murillo will be using the money to build out his product and team.