Online shoppers looking to spice up their wardrobe on a more regular basis can now download a new app from Le Tote, a “Netflix-for-clothing” type of service backed by Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures and others, which launched to the public this week. From the app, you’ll be able to access Le Tote’s online catalog of over 150,000 pieces of clothing and accessories, check trends, and more, as well as confirm their next shipment of the clothing they’re renting from the service.
A competitor to similar companies like Rent the Runway, which focuses on high-end fashion, the plus-sized service Gwynnie Bee, and others, Le Tote allows users to borrow and wear unlimited items for $49 per month. Current brands include Free People, BCBGeneration, Sam Edelman, House of Harlow, French Connection, Vince Camuto, and nearly 80 others, and customers can keep their items as long as they want, return them and receive a new shipment, or opt to purchase them for 20 to 50 percent off retail prices, given their secondhand nature.
To some extent, Le Tote also competes with other shopping services like Stitch Fix, which also sends items to your home, but instead is focused on making sales, not offering rentals.
The company says it knew it needed to move into mobile more seriously because it was already seeing more than 60 percent of its traffic coming from the mobile web ahead of the new app’s launch.
With the Le Tote application, the idea is not only to offer a way to shop the site from mobile, but also do things like check the 7-day weather forecast to help plan your upcoming wardrobe, check out trending styles from near your current location, explore recommendations related to life events (like happy hour or date night, for example), rate items, and browse through exclusive collections for mobile users created by style influencers.
There’s also a Tinder-like swipe mechanism for liking items that match your style preferences – a trick that’s used to help Le Tote offer better, more personalized suggestions in the future.
And of course, you can fill out your “tote” (your shipment) with the garments and accessories displayed in the app.
The app itself was built with help from Prolific Interactive, a design and development shop that has built apps for Lilly Pulitzer, Soulcycle, David’s Bridal, Angie’s List, lululemon, Udacity, Automatic, threadless, Dash, ModCloth, and even Le Tote’s competition, Rent The Runway, which offers a similar “like” and “dislike” mechanism, and feature set.
Le Tote’s app is also iOS 9-ready, the company notes, with support for universal links and spotlight search – meaning you’ll be able to search for products right on your iPhone and then tap them to view them directly in the Le Tote app. It’s actually one of the first fashion retail apps that has taken advantage of this new iOS 9 functionality, which allows it a deeper integration with the iPhone’s native search.
Founded in 2012, Le Tote has raised $12.5 million from Andreessen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Azure Capital Partners, Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Simon Venture Group, AITV, Epic Ventures, Arsenal Venture Partners and Funders Club.
While Le Tote co-founder and President Brett Northart declined to share user numbers, he would say that users currently have 10 million items in their closets, have rated a million items, and the company will ship $100 million in products in 2015.
Revenue grew 400 percent to date, and 600 percent last year. Over 90 percent of customers are repeat purchasers, the co-founder noted.
“A significant amount of revenue comes from purchases, but we don’t particularly put a lot of focus behind this number,” Northart said. “Our ultimate goal is to instead have customers continue their subscription so our algorithms can better learn their fit, style, and likes so that they can keep on renting items that they love.”