STORES Magazine - July 2015 - 36
It's important that our products aren't simply
beautiful. We also want to create useful clothing that reflects the lifestyle of today's busy,
professional woman. We've made it a priority
to use high-quality fabrics that are comfortable, wrinkle-resistant, travel-friendly and
often machine-washable, which is definitely
not the norm for work wear. Many of our
clothes have pockets. Our designs are nothing
if not utilitarian.
In other media I've seen you reference
the Japanese phrase "muda ni shinai."
What does it mean and how has it influenced your business?
The phrase means
Whether it's figuring
out how to use every
part of the animals
we consume or turning a 500-square-foot
apartment into a
for a family of four,
the Japanese have a
knack for working
and generating creative solutions.
I approach my
business this way too
- whether it's thinking of ways to shorten the supply chain,
spotting talent within existing employees and
asking them to embrace new challenges or
managing our cash.
eliminates "decision paralysis" and simplifies
their lives considerably.
Because MM Bento is a stylist-based model,
it's very personal, very human. Every customer
is paired with a stylist who is not just an expert in our collection - she's also a woman
who has worked in a corporate environment
and understands the style challenges that professional women face.
Tell us about MM.LaFleur's use of social
media and other outreach programs.
We handle all of our communications inhouse, and we have both a customer experience team as well as an editorial team. Every
CEO will say that their customer service is
"top notch," but our business wouldn't exist
were it not for our customer experience. After
all, the success of our model is predicated on
our stylists connecting with the customer on an
individual basis - reading through her survey,
which often includes her deepest concerns and
insecurities about her body type or her fashion
sense, digesting it and figuring out a clothing
solution that will allow her to ... channel her
On the social media front, we have an inhouse editor who manages our channels and
creates content that reflects the overall point of
view of our brand. Our content strategy goes
beyond basic social media: At the end of May,
we relaunched our blog, The M Dash. None of
the major fashion publications today are dedicated to servicing professional women, and we
want to become the go-to source. The M Dash
will be the online magazine where professional
women will find everything from career advice
and personal essays to style tutorials and profiles of inspiring women.
Tell us about MM Bento.
We launched our MM Bento program in
October 2014 and it completely changed our
business. The idea is simple: The customer takes
a quick online survey, and we send her a box of
office-ready looks, hand-picked for her by an
MM stylist. She has four days to try everything
on, and she only pays for what she keeps.
Customers have really responded to this
model because, when it comes down to it,
they're too busy to shop. Our customers generally have dynamic careers, and they don't want
to spend their precious free time shopping for
work wear. They love having a stylist send
looks that are picked just for them because it
STORES July 2015
Could there be a day when customers will
visit a bricks-and-mortar MM.LaFleur?
Absolutely! For now, we're growing our
presence in various cities - New York being
our home base, along with Washington, D.C.,
San Francisco, Chicago and Boston - through
pop-up stores, but we definitely hope to establish a bricks-and-mortar presence as our brand
Janet Groeber has covered all aspects of the retail
industry for more than 20 years. Her reporting has
appeared in AdWeek and DDI Magazine, among