Despite the deluge of men’s fashion outlets — from Gilt Man to the new Coach men’s store — most men hate shopping. At least that’s the idea behind Trunk Club, a new online personal shopping site launched last December by Brian Spaly, a 33-year-old alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business and founder of the clothing company Bonobos.
After years of outfitting guys with his athletic-cut pants, the Chicago-based entrepreneur says he realized that, with the exception of the guys who know the difference between Thom Browne and Tom Ford, most men “just want to look awesome and don’t want to spend any time shopping.” According to Spaly, whose company now boasts more than 1,000 clients, “Our customer just wants to go home and have an amazing box of clothes waiting there with his doorman.”
After signing up for the free service, you work over e-mail, on the phone, via Skype or even in person (in Chicago) with an expert stylist from the company, who assembles a selection of outfits corresponding to your size and taste, and then sends the “trunk” to your home. You keep what you want, send the rest back and, from that point forward, Trunk Club monitors all your likes and dislikes via Customer Relationship Management technology.
“Guys get so pumped about the process. We make it easy for them,” says Spaly, who also fits many a business traveler at his Chicago headquarters. Though they don’t offer discounts or sell suiting, TC’s hand-picked mix ranges from classics by established brands (Earnest Sewn, Lacoste, John Varvatos, Jack Spade) to great finds from independent labels like Reporter jackets, Eton button-downs and socks from the same mill as Paul Smith’s.
“We don’t chase trends. We are going to sell you stuff you can wear year after year,” says Spaly. “Our aim is to be the best place on earth for guys to get new clothing — period.”