Shopping can often be painful, and not just for your bank balance. Queuing, trying on clothes in sweaty changing rooms and trekking from store to store all take up a lot of time and effort. If we’re to give credence to gender stereotypes, men in particular tend to find the process arduous.
Julia Bösch and her co-Founder Anna Alex are trying to make men’s lives easier. The idea behind their company Outfittery is to make shopping as effortless as possible by having stylists put in the legwork. Customers that can then buy or reject the stylists’ choices which will influence their next selection.
I spoke to Julia about her ambitions for Outfittery, what she looks for in staff and ask her to share her favourite summer looks for men.
Julia, could you tell me a bit about your own career journey and what is important to you in terms of ambition fulfilment?
It was always my dream to found my own company. To prepare, I started working at Rocket International where I met my co-founder Anna and learned a lot about startups. It was very important for me to have a lot of responsibility and freedom at the same time. This is exactly what you get to the fullest when you found your own company.
What was the inspiration behind the idea for Outfittery?
The idea came through a friend of mine in New York. He was very tired of shopping and hired a personal stylist to help him to refresh his style and wardrobe. This was the moment where I thought that every man should have the possibility to have his own stylist through a professional service, not just the successful men of New York.
You’ve said before in an interview that you need a lot of gut feeling to bring together the right people in order to make a great company. What did you personally look for in your staff?
For Outfittery, it’s very important to have high ambition, drive and the ongoing willingness to take over a lot of responsibility. We look for staff that are searching for an exciting workplace in a young and motivated team with low hierarchies. We are really proud of our team.
Do you feel the need to represent women in entrepreneurship? Is this an unsaid part of your role as a successful founder?
I like to support new female founders in every way that I can. However, I don’t see myself as a representative for female founders. Everyone has their own ideas about how to found their business idea.
How do you think the landscape is changing for women in business and tech?
It makes me really happy to see that more and more women take the plunge to bring their dream alive. A lot of them are doing it like me – they try to learn first as much as they can from growing startups and go on to found [their own] right after. It would be great if more women would also take the opportunity to found their own company in the technical sector.
Do you think that entrepreneurship is a more level playing field for ambitious women, than say working in more traditional corporate structures?
Within startups it’s possible to climb the career ladder faster than in traditional corporate structures. You get more responsibility from the beginning and can show easily yourself from the best side.
What is your personal goal for the business?
My goal is to look back after ten years and laugh about how men were shopping in the early days.
What advice would you offer to someone who is trying to develop a rewarding career?
It is very important to take up any challenge you get offered and never stop believing in yourself. Also, try things that are out of your comfort zone to gain a lot of experience from it. Building up and taking care of a strong network is always a big plus.
And finally, what are your 3 favourite summer workwear looks for men?
Super casual: A patterned shirt and espadrilles
For anyone wanting to really try something slightly more courageous, I recommend patterned shirts. Flower prints look super cool and summery, and you can wear them with plain shorts or trousers. And if you’re looking for an alternative to sneakers, try a pair of espadrilles.
Casual, but not too informal: Blue Chinos combined with a plain shirt or polo shirt in a summery colour!
Chinos are my all-time favourite for men. They are an absolutely basic item that most men have in their wardrobe already – they are super easy to combine with your favourite shirts or polos. They look casual, without looking informal. And blue is just a step up for anyone wanting a nice change from the standard beige-coloured Chino.
Formal: Blue suit
If you’re working in a job where a suit is absolutely essential, I recommend to swap that black suit for a lighter one, such as dark blue. It’s all about the fabric – cotton suits will make you feel a lot cooler than the regular wool ones. Also, linen shirts are fabulous for the hot days as they’re light and airy. And as soon as you’re out of sight of your clients, ditch the jacket and hitch up your shirt sleeves!