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EXCLUSIVE: Kent & Lime relaunches under new owner

Online boutique marketplace Archfashion has relaunched customised menswear retailer Kent & Lime after rescuing the brand from administration last year.

The new offer has been streamlined with a new technology platform and several new features designed to bring customers back to the online service, which provides men with an online personal shopping service tailored to their measurements.

The original concept was launched in 2013 by former buyer Will Rogers, but closed down last April amid mounting costs from customer returns and dissatisfaction with its subscription-based model.

Allen Zelden, co-founder of Archfashion, acquired K&L’s database, trademarks and product designs last June and has since opted to scrap the subscription model, launching the new business with a more traditional revenue structure that provides customers with their own personal stylists, a forum for providing feedback and free returns within five days.

“Upon acquisition, the majority of our time was spent talking to previous customers and labels,” Zelden told Inside Retail on Wednesday morning.

“The big thing that was reiterated again and again, was that the brand promise was awesome, but wasn’t kept.”

The new offer has launched with brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Industrie, Nudie Jeans, Barnaby and ANNEX, with the company’s new website stating that pricing typically ranges from $50 – 300 per item.

Digital previews have been implemented to allow customers to provide real-time feedback on outfits stylists have selected, enabling a dialogue between the business and shoppers before the point-of-purchase.

The old club savings and style lab concept have been discarded, decisions taken to bring the offer back to its core value proposition, which Archfashion director David Butcher said comes down to helping men who hate shopping, or are too busy.

“We believe in what the brand stands for, said Butcher.”

“Through our research from existing Kent and Lime customers and our own analytics, we saw a strong difference in the way men and women shop, and the problems that needed to be solved for male customers. Essentially, we help men who hate shopping, or are too busy to shop, look good and do more.”

Archfashion is working with Shippit and Australia post to improve the return experience for customers, while also engaging with new suppliers to further expand the offer in the coming months.

But Allen said returns have declined substantially due to changes in the offer are no longer a financial burden on the business.

 “Obviously, the best outcome for customers is to not need to return anything. Working with a stylist, combined with our sophisticated algorithms and data collection, reduces style and size issues, and improves more and more as someone uses the service,” Allen said.

Archfashion has described its investment in K&L as a shift in its strategy, away from its low margin, high volume distribution strategy and towards higher value customers.

Allen said Archfashion (largely a women’s fashion business) will be kept largely separate to K&L, other than select back-office synergies and combined costs.

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