Over 95% of individuals in the United States wear t-shirts, but not everyone can say their shirts are from a tech-savvy fashion company. Yet one fashion company in Chicago is changing the way technology impacts their business.
Whoever said the Chicago technology scene was an ordinary cluster of B2B contenders has clearly never met the team at Trunk Club.
Headquartered in River North, the on-demand fashion tech company has become somewhat of an institution in Chicago, a city often criticized for its lack of flashy, consumer-facing products.
Since its launch in 2009, the company has grown into one of Chicago’s key tech triumphs. With a $350 million sale to Nordstrom in 2014 and a growing headcount that’s landed the company on more than one Top 100 Digital Tech Employers list, Trunk Club’s tech-driven approach has lead it to the forefront of technology, fashion, and future of commerce.
“The world is splitting into two halves: a cheap-fast-now, commoditized world that Amazon is going to win at, and the other side is the service and experience-focused commerce world,” said Mike Cruz, Trunk Club’s VP of Engineering. “We don’t sell you what you need. We ask you where you want to be and give you clothes to achieve that goal.”
And to add even more innovation and excitement, the company has recently expanded its sales to include women.
Officially launched in Fall 2015, the program allows customers to try on Trunk Club’s suggestions, and then pick and choose which items they want to pay to keep. They can return any unwanted items free of charge, as long as they’re returned within 10 days, just like the established system for the company’s men’s service.
But the fashion-forward powerhouse doesn’t stop there.
Trunk Club has been an advocate of simplicity since the start, and they’re constantly working to make their technology and internal architecture reflect that.
“We’re making and resizing services because simplicity is a lot easier,” Cruz said. “The goal is to be able to keep the architecture in your head. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting close.”
Cruz said the engineering team alone today sits at about 30, with an additional 70 team members like designers and IP rounding out the team. And that’s in addition to a chic army of personal stylists who curate each trunk and a number of other positions, such as marketing and sales.
In addition to their online presence, Trunk Club also operates five physical locations throughout the country in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.