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Guys who get the willies whenever they have to set foot in a retail store, take heart. Trunk Club, a virtual shopping service for men, which is launching today, is ready to help.
Men who sign up for free membership on the Trunk Club site will be connected via Webcam to a designated fashion expert who will determine the most appropriate apparel for the customer based on his profession, lifestyle and budget. The experts then mail the customer a variety of hand-selected outfits. He keeps what he wants and mails the rest back. Upon signing up, Trunk Club members are even shipped complementary Webcams in order to participate.
The merchandise is sold at standard MSRPs and the postage is prepaid. Trunk Club offers a full complement of men’s wear, from T-shirts and shorts to tailored clothing. Among the brands offered are Ben Sherman, Ike Behar, Nat Nast, Original Penguin, John Varvatos, Joseph Abboud and Corbin.
Currently, there are 21 fashion experts on the Trunk Club staff. They are based around the U.S., in cities including Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. All have been trained by Trunk Club and are available for consultation 24/7.
The Web site was conceived and executed by Joanna Van Vleck, a 25-year-old entrepreneur who started as a style consultant for men in the Oregon area. She said the original idea was to open brick-and-mortar showrooms across the U.S. that would invite members in to shop. But once the recession hit, it made more sense to turn to the Internet. The site has been in test mode since November and counts 600 members, she said. “Even if they’re shopping with an expert, men really dislike the [shopping] experience,” she said. “So this is a new way for men to buy their clothing.”