Man Repeller is a fashion blog that aims to write content around the kind of clothes women love but men hate. Like formless jumpsuits. Site founder Leandra Medine took to the stage at Disrupt NY in one such formless jumpsuit to chat with our own Alexia Tsotsis about her future plans for the brand.
A self-proclaimed “desperately single” gal when she started, Medine told Tsotsis that the original idea for Man Repeller “…was supposed to be a call to action for women to celebrate what we want to wear.” Calling herself a “man repeller” gave her power over her singledom in a way that celebrated her own choices in fashion rather than pinning her to societal norms that advocated impressing the opposite sex.
But the idea isn’t a new one to Medine, who said it probably goes way back to the Greeks and Romans. She simply commandeered it for online. “That’s what’s interesting is that it’s a social condition that predated the web. I just gave it a term.”
That’s what’s interesting is that it’s a social condition that predated the web. I just gave it a term. Leandra Medine
Wherever the idea came from, it’s a popular one. Man Repeller now has 10 million page views per month, has partnered with makeup brand NARS and is entirely bootstrapped. Also of note, Man Repeller has more than 866,000 followers on Instagram – an app that resonates overwhelmingly with fashion-forward millenial women.
When asked what would make Man Repeller take VC dollars, Medine said she’d need some capital for a subscription plan that would deliver a limited run, customized box of the “five seasonal items you need.” This could present a unique opportunity in the market for Man Repeller.
Magazine covers and fashion brands barrage women with messages like “Five things you need to get the guy” or “What to wear to make him notice.” Offering content about the things women actually want and love is part of the charm of the site and what has given Man Repeller a loyal following.
A subscription offering would be a move off the page and into women’s physical lives that could work for the right price point. As Medine said onstage, “It’s not a matter of cheap or not cheap. I want it to be an actual, useful service.”
The “getting stuff in a box model has worked well for others like Birchbox, which grew to 800,000 subscribers in 3.5 years and is now valued at $485 million. ShoeDazzle, best known as Kim Kardashian’s curated shoe and purse subscription service raised $66 million and had 3 million subscribers before JustFab acquired the startup in 2013.
Of course, most models are set up for consumers to only pay for what they keep, and most folks don’t keep everything in the package they are sent. But it’s clear these types of services are popular and do generate a profit.
While Medine doesn’t think the box subscription will happen anytime soon, she did predict it would most likely come in the next two years and said that when it does happen, Man Repeller will have “content built around it” and, being the woman with a “funny site for serious fashion,” as Medine mentioned onstage, she added that she’ll be prepared to “hit them from every orifice.”
Here’s the full interview: