The average American woman is plus-sized, but only 18 percent of clothing sold in 2016 was size 14 or higher. This disconnect in the world of fashion looked like an opportunity to a team of four former Gilt execs, who are today launching a new e-commerce site, CoEdition. The site will cater to women sizes 10 through 26, offering a curated selection of contemporary clothing from top brands, including Stuart Weitzman, Tahari, Rachel Roy, and others.
The company is backed by Gilt Groupe founder Kevin Ryan, former Gilt technology head Kent Helbig, Gilt’s fashion director and head of brand acquisition Brooke Cundiff, and former Gilt Chief Merchandising Officer, Keith George, now CoEdition CEO.
“Brooke was doing some consulting for a brand in this space, and realized there were a lot of new brands coming on and a lot of momentum in the market,” explains George, of CoEdition’s founding. “But no one was really bringing it all together. No one was bringing all these different brands under one roof,” he says.
The new site aims to better cater to that customer sized 10 and up, helping them find the right item, the right fit, as well as discover new brands to try.
At launch, CoEdition features over 1,000 items from 20 brands, but plans to grow its selection over the course of 2018 to reach 150 brands, and tens of thousands of items. This will include clothing, accessories, bags, shoes, swimwear, and lingerie, at “contemporary” price points – that is, the average price point for the items it carries is around $150.
“We like to say is that we’re aspirational, but accessible,” notes George.
Purchases will ship for free for the time being, and CoEdition expects to open up international shipping by mid-April.
The startup is not the first to cater to plus-sized women; but there are only a few that are doing this well.
Online clothing subscription service Gwynnie Bee allows women to rent the latest trends, while Dia & Co. is more like a Stitch Fix-style subscription box for sizes 14 and up. Meanwhile, most major retailers carry plus size lines online, and many individual brands carry their plus sizes online, even if not in-store. Amazon has entered the space as well, with several in-house brands of its own, catering to the plus-sized market.
CoEdition doesn’t plan to compete with the subscription box companies, George tells TechCrunch, nor is it discounting the Amazon threat. Instead, its focus will be on helping women through a combination of data science techniques for personalized recommendations, along with curated styling guidance on site.