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她甘心将“最年轻上市公司女掌门”的头衔拱手让人,带领公司挺过疫情

她甘心将“最年轻上市公司女掌门”的头衔拱手让人,带领公司挺过疫情

Emma Hinchliffe 2021年04月06日
过去一年里,Stitch Fix的灵活反应能力推动其股价上涨了282%。

2019年《财富》科技头脑风暴大会上,Stitch Fix的首席执行官卡特里娜·莱克发表讲话。图片来源:Stuart Isett for Fortune

2020年,Stitch Fix开始转型,向客户提供有趣便捷的购物方式,将个性化的衣服简称“Fix”送到用户手上,然后用户选择留下哪些。

但该公司已经安然度过新冠疫情的关键时期,而且清楚自己的优势。其优势之一在于,公司能够利用数据来快速适应消费者不断变化的偏好,从可以立即丢弃的工作衬衫,到预测用户解除隔离,摆脱无处不在的弹力腰带之后究竟想买什么。

过去一年里,Stitch Fix的灵活反应能力推动其股价上涨了282%,从2020年3月的12美元左右涨到现在的48美元。股价上涨也让创始人及首席执行官卡特里娜·莱克一度成为新的白手起家的亿万女富翁。

尽管莱克表示并不关注股价每日涨跌,但她很理解投资者看重公司哪些方面。“Stitch Fix的机会还在增加。”她说。

莱克向《财富》杂志讲述了新冠疫情如何改变公司战略、看到Bumble新任首席执行官惠特尼·沃尔夫·赫德取代自己成为带领公司上市的最年轻女性感觉怎样,以及必要的时候如何学会抛弃天生的实用观点,多考虑大局。本文采访内容经过编辑和删减。

《财富》:过去一年里,你发现购物趋势如何变化?你认为疫情之后的哪些趋势将继续存在?你如何调整Stitch Fix的产品组合?

卡特里娜·莱克:过去一年显然挑战很大。有好也有坏。不利因素在于,人们买衣服越来越少。很多晚餐取消了,旅行也放弃了,不过人们仍然在买童装。我有两个孩子所以清楚原因。孩子在长身体,需要新衣服。

男性和女性方面,疫情只是在加速原有趋势。转向网络化的趋势明显。其中最突出的主题是服装“随意化”。我们发现买西装的越来越少,夹克也越来越少,疫情确实加快了这个进程。男性的购物趋势转变尤为明显,几年前女性就开始购买运动休闲用品,男性(在疫情之前)买得并不多。

至于“我怎么能够在周末跟上班穿一样的衣服?”的趋势将持续下去。这在本质上意味着即便疫情过去,也会出现更随意的分类。人们会继续选择比休闲裤更舒适的裤子。对女性来说,休闲运动服装销量会继续增长。不过我们很期待观察世界在重新开放后人们的偏好。

你感觉会怎么变?

女性业务这块,人们已经重新开始买衣服,男性很快也会跟上。这其中也有季节的因素,因为春夏季马上就到了。不过我们真正的任务是倾听消费者的声音,提供想要的东西;我们不会强迫消费者,不会说:“这是每个人都必买的。”我们真心认为,业务是为了提供服务,不管用户身在何处。因此,现在公司正加紧观察用户的状态,才可以确保按类满足需求。

在观察期间,你觉得Stitch Fix的状态如何?消费者偏好变化非常迅速时,公司能够做到比传统零售店更灵活、反应更迅速吗?

我们的业务结合了电商和导航,关键在于为人们找到合适的东西。公司本财年前两个季度的新增用户数超过了2020财年全年。活跃用户增长了12%。上个季度同比增长50%。所有数据都显示当前商业模型很强劲。我认为,一旦人们发现可以方便有效地在家购物,优势就会持续,很难走回老路。

我们的商业模式能够更好地适应灵活购买的需求,我们利用数据来了解用户需求,并实时纳入购买和补货模型中。如今,世界越来越不确定,但我们依据灵活的数据模型可以充分使用数据做出更准确的预测,这些都是当今世界非常重要的能力。

最近几个月,Stitch Fix自有品牌的表现如何?

男装和童装领域的自有品牌比女装多得多。自有品牌也能够利用精确掌握的数据来了解尺码变化,如果数据显示应该推出不同的颜色或不同图案,真正了解消费者的喜好和价格接受度,就可以迅速做出调整。就像童装业务,反应就很快。运动休闲偏好的上升我们也及时发现了,这很了不起。孩子本来就经常穿休闲装。但孩子不会像成年人一样需要出席某些场合。此外,我们能够迅速转向。自有品牌的反应也很迅速,这绝对是一大优势。至于我们根据需求开发的产品,则在这个过程中有明确的目标用户以及相关数据支持。

今年你们的股票有所下滑。你认为投资者比较看重股票的哪些方面?对公司的看法呢?

我不是每天都看股价,不过我相信有越来越多的人会认同这是世界发展的方向。我们看到有预测称,到2025年,服装支出将有一半转移到网上。疫情之前的比例大概在20%左右。对我们来说,这是巨大的转变,也是巨大的机会。

我认为购物转向网络是永久性的,就像其他行业一样。所以我相信今后Stitch Fix的机会越来越多。人们一直知道很多业务在转向网络,但估计没有几个人可以预测过去一年转型的力度和规模。人们在展望未来10年、20年时会说:“哪些公司能够成功?哪些公司可能机会不大?”我们的重点当然是数字化、网络化,并主要关注个性化和服装,这块业务目前没有其他公司在做。我们相信,10年后的赢家是了解你最喜欢哪些商品并可以提供优质送货服务的公司。这正是过去10年我们一直努力加强的能力。所以关键就是未来的重点定位,以及坚信我们的模式能够成功。

过去一年的发现有没有改变长期战略?

长期战略的重要性提升了,我感觉一直以来我们的时间都用在了正确的地方。这其中有一些战略性的推动。去年充分说明库存保持灵活有多么重要。就在一年前,人们都不买男式衬衫了,人人都知道原因。然后我们加快库存模型更新。现在,我们批发购买,零售销售,这么做很棒,但如果供应商的库存可以直接向客户出售,我们就会受到限制。我们还没有做现金预付,所以正在尝试探索有没有更灵活的获得库存的方式?库存已经记在供应商的账簿上,能够让我们直接卖给客户吗?这对供应商更好,因为我们可以帮忙清库存,对我们也更好,因为收入会更多,对客户也更好,因为选择更多。通过去年的例子我们发现,这是重大且紧迫的机会。

今年早些时候,惠特尼·沃尔夫·赫德带领Bumble成功上市,还表示你是她的导师。她抢走了你的头衔,变成带公司上市的最年轻女性。你是什么感觉?会甘心将头衔拱手相让吗?

我很高兴能够让出头衔。这说起来有点复杂。考虑到现在全世界的情况,很难说我以前作为最年轻的上市公司女性首席执行官有多么自豪,我很高兴跟她有这样的联系,同时也很难过,因为等了这么久才有人接过去。之前我就很想把头衔给别人。很幸运接手的是惠特尼,因为我们的关系很好,她确实克服了很多困难。有时她也经历过失败。如今她成功我很开心,看到Bumble成功上市也很兴奋。

在成立不久的上市公司担任女性首席执行官方面,你给她提了什么建议?

我们谈过很多。她也当了妈妈,所以我们谈过育儿。看到她儿子跟她一起登上IPO舞台,我感觉挺有趣。

我们讨论过上市的利弊,如果上市做的每件事情都更公开。她在公众视野中很久。但等到公司上市,你会发现很多事情根本无法控制。更重要的是真正弄清楚内部的口径。上市之后新闻头条会出现“Stitch Fix股价崩盘”之类的说法,而员工要有强烈的意识,要明白不管新闻怎么说都相信公司会成功。

人们常说,担任首席执行官非常孤独。环顾身边就会发现,登上高位的女性是多么少,女性领导人只会更孤独。对我来说,认识惠特尼有个好处就是建立了联系也可以有更强烈的社区意识,感觉我们是盟友。

对于年轻女性如何担任类似上市公司首席执行官,不管对惠特尼还是后来人,你有什么建议?

能够走到这一步的女性非常少,所以你可以按照自己的方式来领导。最能够引起共鸣的领导者是最真实的领导者,是人们可以感觉到联系的领导者。女性尤其应该锻炼真正的领导能力,因为穿上长裤假装男性毫无意义。我们都能够规划自己的领导方式。

记住要强大,勇敢,有抱负。对我来说这有点难,因为我一直都很务实。我必须学习,我确实有远大的目标,也确实有远大的抱负,但如果不大声说出来就无法带领人们共同前进。我关上门研究财务状况时可以很务实,但人们聚在一起奋斗是真正很酷的事情。带大家共同奋进的力量很强大。

对于Stitch Fix,你学到应该说清楚哪些重要的事情?

我们把提供的产品当成建议,能够采取多种形式。多数人想到Stitch Fix时首先想到的是“Fixes”产品,想到可以送货上门的“fix”。但人们还有其他很多购物方式,其中有些方式fixes可能受限。如果你在想,“这周我想要一件非常蓬松的羽绒服”,fixes可能不是最好的选择。此外还有鞋子和手提包之类偏好非常强烈的品类也不适合。

不过在其他方面,我们能够介绍一些方式供用户选择,这是更有效的购物方式。目前的发展状态是,我们意识到眼下是4000亿美元的服装消费大市场。Fixes当然是很棒的方式,这永远都是重要部分。但我们如何刺激用户冲动购买?怎样才可以接触到想对穿衣偏好有更多发言权的用户?市场机会变得很庞大。我们对未来的市场机会非常兴奋,也开始在外部分享。这也是在内部激发能量的重要来源。(财富中文网)

译者:梁宇

审校:夏林

2020年,Stitch Fix开始转型,向客户提供有趣便捷的购物方式,将个性化的衣服简称“Fix”送到用户手上,然后用户选择留下哪些。

但该公司已经安然度过新冠疫情的关键时期,而且清楚自己的优势。其优势之一在于,公司能够利用数据来快速适应消费者不断变化的偏好,从可以立即丢弃的工作衬衫,到预测用户解除隔离,摆脱无处不在的弹力腰带之后究竟想买什么。

过去一年里,Stitch Fix的灵活反应能力推动其股价上涨了282%,从2020年3月的12美元左右涨到现在的48美元。股价上涨也让创始人及首席执行官卡特里娜·莱克一度成为新的白手起家的亿万女富翁。

尽管莱克表示并不关注股价每日涨跌,但她很理解投资者看重公司哪些方面。“Stitch Fix的机会还在增加。”她说。

莱克向《财富》杂志讲述了新冠疫情如何改变公司战略、看到Bumble新任首席执行官惠特尼·沃尔夫·赫德取代自己成为带领公司上市的最年轻女性感觉怎样,以及必要的时候如何学会抛弃天生的实用观点,多考虑大局。本文采访内容经过编辑和删减。

《财富》:过去一年里,你发现购物趋势如何变化?你认为疫情之后的哪些趋势将继续存在?你如何调整Stitch Fix的产品组合?

卡特里娜·莱克:过去一年显然挑战很大。有好也有坏。不利因素在于,人们买衣服越来越少。很多晚餐取消了,旅行也放弃了,不过人们仍然在买童装。我有两个孩子所以清楚原因。孩子在长身体,需要新衣服。

男性和女性方面,疫情只是在加速原有趋势。转向网络化的趋势明显。其中最突出的主题是服装“随意化”。我们发现买西装的越来越少,夹克也越来越少,疫情确实加快了这个进程。男性的购物趋势转变尤为明显,几年前女性就开始购买运动休闲用品,男性(在疫情之前)买得并不多。

至于“我怎么能够在周末跟上班穿一样的衣服?”的趋势将持续下去。这在本质上意味着即便疫情过去,也会出现更随意的分类。人们会继续选择比休闲裤更舒适的裤子。对女性来说,休闲运动服装销量会继续增长。不过我们很期待观察世界在重新开放后人们的偏好。

你感觉会怎么变?

女性业务这块,人们已经重新开始买衣服,男性很快也会跟上。这其中也有季节的因素,因为春夏季马上就到了。不过我们真正的任务是倾听消费者的声音,提供想要的东西;我们不会强迫消费者,不会说:“这是每个人都必买的。”我们真心认为,业务是为了提供服务,不管用户身在何处。因此,现在公司正加紧观察用户的状态,才可以确保按类满足需求。

在观察期间,你觉得Stitch Fix的状态如何?消费者偏好变化非常迅速时,公司能够做到比传统零售店更灵活、反应更迅速吗?

我们的业务结合了电商和导航,关键在于为人们找到合适的东西。公司本财年前两个季度的新增用户数超过了2020财年全年。活跃用户增长了12%。上个季度同比增长50%。所有数据都显示当前商业模型很强劲。我认为,一旦人们发现可以方便有效地在家购物,优势就会持续,很难走回老路。

我们的商业模式能够更好地适应灵活购买的需求,我们利用数据来了解用户需求,并实时纳入购买和补货模型中。如今,世界越来越不确定,但我们依据灵活的数据模型可以充分使用数据做出更准确的预测,这些都是当今世界非常重要的能力。

最近几个月,Stitch Fix自有品牌的表现如何?

男装和童装领域的自有品牌比女装多得多。自有品牌也能够利用精确掌握的数据来了解尺码变化,如果数据显示应该推出不同的颜色或不同图案,真正了解消费者的喜好和价格接受度,就可以迅速做出调整。就像童装业务,反应就很快。运动休闲偏好的上升我们也及时发现了,这很了不起。孩子本来就经常穿休闲装。但孩子不会像成年人一样需要出席某些场合。此外,我们能够迅速转向。自有品牌的反应也很迅速,这绝对是一大优势。至于我们根据需求开发的产品,则在这个过程中有明确的目标用户以及相关数据支持。

今年你们的股票有所下滑。你认为投资者比较看重股票的哪些方面?对公司的看法呢?

我不是每天都看股价,不过我相信有越来越多的人会认同这是世界发展的方向。我们看到有预测称,到2025年,服装支出将有一半转移到网上。疫情之前的比例大概在20%左右。对我们来说,这是巨大的转变,也是巨大的机会。

我认为购物转向网络是永久性的,就像其他行业一样。所以我相信今后Stitch Fix的机会越来越多。人们一直知道很多业务在转向网络,但估计没有几个人可以预测过去一年转型的力度和规模。人们在展望未来10年、20年时会说:“哪些公司能够成功?哪些公司可能机会不大?”我们的重点当然是数字化、网络化,并主要关注个性化和服装,这块业务目前没有其他公司在做。我们相信,10年后的赢家是了解你最喜欢哪些商品并可以提供优质送货服务的公司。这正是过去10年我们一直努力加强的能力。所以关键就是未来的重点定位,以及坚信我们的模式能够成功。

过去一年的发现有没有改变长期战略?

长期战略的重要性提升了,我感觉一直以来我们的时间都用在了正确的地方。这其中有一些战略性的推动。去年充分说明库存保持灵活有多么重要。就在一年前,人们都不买男式衬衫了,人人都知道原因。然后我们加快库存模型更新。现在,我们批发购买,零售销售,这么做很棒,但如果供应商的库存可以直接向客户出售,我们就会受到限制。我们还没有做现金预付,所以正在尝试探索有没有更灵活的获得库存的方式?库存已经记在供应商的账簿上,能够让我们直接卖给客户吗?这对供应商更好,因为我们可以帮忙清库存,对我们也更好,因为收入会更多,对客户也更好,因为选择更多。通过去年的例子我们发现,这是重大且紧迫的机会。

今年早些时候,惠特尼·沃尔夫·赫德带领Bumble成功上市,还表示你是她的导师。她抢走了你的头衔,变成带公司上市的最年轻女性。你是什么感觉?会甘心将头衔拱手相让吗?

我很高兴能够让出头衔。这说起来有点复杂。考虑到现在全世界的情况,很难说我以前作为最年轻的上市公司女性首席执行官有多么自豪,我很高兴跟她有这样的联系,同时也很难过,因为等了这么久才有人接过去。之前我就很想把头衔给别人。很幸运接手的是惠特尼,因为我们的关系很好,她确实克服了很多困难。有时她也经历过失败。如今她成功我很开心,看到Bumble成功上市也很兴奋。

在成立不久的上市公司担任女性首席执行官方面,你给她提了什么建议?

我们谈过很多。她也当了妈妈,所以我们谈过育儿。看到她儿子跟她一起登上IPO舞台,我感觉挺有趣。

我们讨论过上市的利弊,如果上市做的每件事情都更公开。她在公众视野中很久。但等到公司上市,你会发现很多事情根本无法控制。更重要的是真正弄清楚内部的口径。上市之后新闻头条会出现“Stitch Fix股价崩盘”之类的说法,而员工要有强烈的意识,要明白不管新闻怎么说都相信公司会成功。

人们常说,担任首席执行官非常孤独。环顾身边就会发现,登上高位的女性是多么少,女性领导人只会更孤独。对我来说,认识惠特尼有个好处就是建立了联系也可以有更强烈的社区意识,感觉我们是盟友。

对于年轻女性如何担任类似上市公司首席执行官,不管对惠特尼还是后来人,你有什么建议?

能够走到这一步的女性非常少,所以你可以按照自己的方式来领导。最能够引起共鸣的领导者是最真实的领导者,是人们可以感觉到联系的领导者。女性尤其应该锻炼真正的领导能力,因为穿上长裤假装男性毫无意义。我们都能够规划自己的领导方式。

记住要强大,勇敢,有抱负。对我来说这有点难,因为我一直都很务实。我必须学习,我确实有远大的目标,也确实有远大的抱负,但如果不大声说出来就无法带领人们共同前进。我关上门研究财务状况时可以很务实,但人们聚在一起奋斗是真正很酷的事情。带大家共同奋进的力量很强大。

对于Stitch Fix,你学到应该说清楚哪些重要的事情?

我们把提供的产品当成建议,能够采取多种形式。多数人想到Stitch Fix时首先想到的是“Fixes”产品,想到可以送货上门的“fix”。但人们还有其他很多购物方式,其中有些方式fixes可能受限。如果你在想,“这周我想要一件非常蓬松的羽绒服”,fixes可能不是最好的选择。此外还有鞋子和手提包之类偏好非常强烈的品类也不适合。

不过在其他方面,我们能够介绍一些方式供用户选择,这是更有效的购物方式。目前的发展状态是,我们意识到眼下是4000亿美元的服装消费大市场。Fixes当然是很棒的方式,这永远都是重要部分。但我们如何刺激用户冲动购买?怎样才可以接触到想对穿衣偏好有更多发言权的用户?市场机会变得很庞大。我们对未来的市场机会非常兴奋,也开始在外部分享。这也是在内部激发能量的重要来源。(财富中文网)

译者:梁宇

审校:夏林

Stitch Fix began 2020 as a company that offered a fun, convenient way to shop: get a personalized box of clothes, or 'fix,' shipped to you and choose what you keep.

But the company is riding out the home stretch of the pandemic well aware of its other strengths. Among them, the data-informed ability to adapt quickly to changing consumer preferences, from ditching work shirts on a dime to predicting what customers will want to buy as they leave quarantine and its ubiquitous elastic waistbands behind.

That ability to react helped push Stitch Fix's stock up 282% over the past year, from around $12 in March 2020 to $48 today. The surge made founder and CEO Katrina Lake, for a time, a new self-made female billionaire.

Although Lake says she doesn't follow the stock's daily ups and downs, she understands what investors are seeing in the company. "The opportunity for Stitch Fix is just increasing," she says.

Lake told Fortune about how COVID has changed her company's strategy, what it was like to see a new CEO—Bumble's Whitney Wolfe Herd—take her place as the youngest woman to take a company public, and how she learned to ditch her natural pragmatism, when necessary, to think big. This interview has been edited and condensed.

Fortune: What shopping trends have you seen over the past year—and which ones do you expect will stick around after the pandemic? How have you changed Stitch Fix's own assortment?

Katrina Lake: For obvious reasons, it's been a really challenging year. There are tailwinds and headwinds. And the headwinds are: people are buying less clothes. All the dinners we didn't go to, all the travel we didn't do—although people are still continuing to buy from our kids' business. I have two young kids, so I understand why. Kids still grow, and they still need clothes.

But for men's and women's, COVID is accelerating trends we were already seeing. Moving more online is an obvious trend that accelerated. But the biggest theme in the assortment is the "casualization" of clothes. We were already seeing less suiting, less blazers—but COVID really accelerated that. But particularly for men; women had started buying athleisure a few years ago, but men weren't buying as much [before COVID].

This notion of, 'How can I wear the same clothes on the weekends that I do to work?' is here to stay. Inherently that will mean we see a more casual assortment, even when things go back to normal. We will see people continuing to buy pants that are more comfortable than slacks. For women, more of the athleisure that is continuing to sell. But we're excited to see what people want when things start opening up again.

Do you have a sense of what that might be?

In our women's business, we are already seeing people starting to buy again, and I think men's will get there soon. And we will also have a seasonal component as we're going into spring and summer. But we really are in the business of listening to the consumer and delivering what he or she wants; we're not in the business of forcing it or saying, 'This is the thing everybody has to buy.' We really think we're here to serve people wherever they're at. So we're in a state right now of monitoring where people are at and making sure we have the right assortment.

As you monitor, where is Stitch Fix positioned? Are you able to be more nimble and respond more quickly than some traditional retail as these consumer preferences change really rapidly?

We're at this intersection of e-commerce and navigation—figuring out the right things for people. We've seen more new client additions in the first two quarters of this fiscal year than we did all of last year in fiscal 2020. We saw a 12% increase in active client growth. We had a 50% year-over-year increase last quarter. All of this is speaking to the strength of our model right now. I think that strength is going to continue—once you realize there's a convenient and effective way to be able to shop at home, I think it's pretty hard to go back.

Our business model is able to better adapt—we buy more flexibly and we're using that data to learn about what customers want and then incorporating that in real time into the buys and the replenishment models we have. The world has been increasingly uncertain, but our model of flexibility, based on data, and being able to use that data to make better predictions—those are really important skills to have today.

How have Stitch Fix's own brands been doing in recent months?

We have much more own brands in men's and kids' than we do in women's. But our own brands are using these exact skill sets—to understand how sizes run, if we should have different colorways or different patterns, really knowing what consumers want and at what price points, and being able to work that into it quickly. Like in our kids' business—we can react really quickly. Increased athleisure, we saw that in kids' too, which is kind of remarkable. Kids already wear a lot of athleisure. But kids, they're also not going to events like adults. And we were able to pivot really quickly there. It's definitely one of our towering strengths that our own brands are really reactive. And the product that we develop there, we're doing it with an end customer in mind with data to support that end customer.

Your stock was on a tear this year. What do you think investors are seeing in the stock? And in the company?

I don't watch the stock on a daily basis or anything, but I do think there's greater recognition that this is the direction the world is going. We've seen forecasts that say half of apparel spend is going to move online by 2025. Before the pandemic, it was in the 20% range. That's a massive shift and a massive opening up of the opportunity for us.

I think the shift to online is permanent, like in every other industry. So I believe the opportunity for Stitch Fix is just increasing. We always knew that shift online was happening, but I don't think anyone would have predicted the scale and magnitude of the past year. People are looking 10, 20 years out and saying, 'What are the companies that are going to be successful? Which companies may not be?' Our focus is of course being digital, being online, but focusing on personalizing and apparel, which no one else is doing. We believe 10 years from now, people who are going to be the winners are the ones that are going to be able to know which things you're going to love most and deliver that the best. That's exactly the capability we've been focused on developing over the past 10 years. So you're seeing a future-focus orientation and a belief that our model can be successful.

These findings over the past year—have they changed anything about your long-term strategy?

It's made our long-term strategy feel more important—like we're investing our time in the right places. We pulled forward some things strategically. The last year has shown us how important it is to be flexible on the inventory side. Just like that, a year ago, people stopped buying work shirts in men's—and we all know why. But we accelerated newer inventory models. Right now we buy wholesale and sell at retail, which is great, but has its limitations when our vendors have stock of things they could feasibly sell to our clients. But we haven't used cash upfront to pay them for it—so we're trying to explore, are there more flexible ways where we can access some of that inventory? It's already on our vendors' books, but can we make that saleable to our customers? That's better for the vendor because we can move their inventory, better for us because it's more revenue opportunity, and better for our clients because we have more selection. The last year helped us see that this is a big and urgent opportunity.

Earlier this year, Whitney Wolfe Herd took Bumble public and cited you as a mentor. And she took over a title from you, succeeding you as the youngest woman to take a company public. What did that feel like for you? Are you happy to pass on that designation?

I'm so happy to pass it on. It's kind of a tricky thing. It's hard to say I was proud to be the youngest one before because given the state of the world, I was happy to have that association, but at the same time it was so sad that it took so long. I was very eager to pass that title along. I felt lucky that it got to be to Whitney because she and I are close, and she's overcome a lot. She was at times a bit of an underdog. It was very fulfilling to get to see that happen and exciting to see Bumble do so well as a public company.

What advice did you offer her about being a young, female public company CEO?

We talked about a lot of different things. She's also a mom, so we talked about that. It was fun for me to see her son on that IPO stage with her.

We talked about the pros and cons of being public—that everything you do is more public. And she's been in the public eye for a long time. But when you're public, you realize there's a lot more you can't control. It makes it even more important to be really clear about the narrative internally. There are going to be headlines that say 'Stitch Fix stock unravels,' and our employees need to have a strong sense of why the believe the company is going to be successful, regardless of what those kinds of headlines say.

People talk about the CEO job as being a lonely job. And you look around, and you see how few women are in those public seats, and it's an even lonelier job. The benefit for me of getting to know someone like Whitney is having that connection and greater sense of community—feeling like we're in this together.

What advice would you offer about how to be a young woman in this sort of public company CEO job, whether to Whitney or the next person who comes along?

The fact that there's not a lot of women doing this right now—you almost get licensed to lead in your own way. The leaders that are resonating most with people are the most authentic leaders, the ones people feel a connection to. Authentic leadership is especially accessible to women because there's no point in putting on a pantsuit and pretending to be a guy. We can all chart our own paths of what leadership looks like.

And remember to be big, bold, and aspirational. That's a little harder for me–I've always been very pragmatic. I have to learn, I do have big goals, I do have big aspirations, and unless I'm saying those things out loud I can't bring people along on that. I can be pragmatic when I'm looking at the financials behind closed doors, but the things that people are here for are the really cool things we're going to be able to do. Bringing people along on that is really powerful.

For Stitch Fix, what are those big things that you've learned to articulate more?

We're thinking of what we deliver as recommendations, and that can take many forms. 'Fixes' is what most people have thought about when they think about Stitch Fix—they think about the 'fix' they get delivered to their home. But there are so many other ways people shop and fixes can be limiting for some of those; if you're thinking, 'I want a puffer jacket this week,' fixes are not going to be a great way to get that to you. And there are categories like shoes and handbags where preferences are so strong.

But those are ones where we can show you recommendations and you can choose from those—that's a more powerful way to shop. We've gotten to a place where we realize that this market opportunity—the $400 billion spent on clothes—a huge amount of that is available to us. Fixes are great and they'll always be part of the story. But how do we access more of that impulse buy? How do we access a client who wants to have more of a say in what she wants to wear? Then our market opportunity starts to look really big. We've been really excited about that opportunity internally, and we've started to share that externally. It's been a big source of catalyzing energy within the company.

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