Armoire is a Seattle-based startup that wants to change the way people—for the moment, mostly women—approach their wardrobes.
Armoire members complete a style profile including questions about size and style preferences. The app then presents a “closet” of items for the member to choose from based on an algorithm and assistance from professional stylists. The chosen items are then shipped to the member’s home. Members wear the pieces for as long as they want, and swap items when they’re ready for something new.
On the business end, Armoire is a team of a little over 22 people—also mostly women—operating out of The Riveter coworking space in Capitol Hill. Armoire’s Founder, Owner and Chief BossLady Ambika Singh sat down with us to talk about her experience building a brand that caters to all women.
Tell us about your background and career leading up to Armoire.
I’m from Seattle, I grew up on the Eastside. I went to college in New Hampshire, pretty much as far away from Seattle as you can get. I really missed it here, so I came back as an intern at Microsoft, twice, which was really different from what I was studying. At the time I was a history major with a concentration in Asian studies. I wrote my thesis about microfinance in India, so landing at Microsoft was not a straight line.
My first startup experience was less than the big success it was expected to be. We went from about 17 people a year in, and then the company laid off 14 of the 17, in my perception, overnight. It was really blindsiding for me.
Looking back, it was professionally the most devastating thing that had happened to me. The first day was bad, the second day was better, and by three weeks later, I started to pick myself up and walk away. I learned even in the worst case, the worst case is okay. I realized this would not break me, and there would be another thing.
My next startup experience, I actually ended up with Rover. Rover was very cool, because I saw the other side. Which is very addicting. When it works, it’s awesome. We built a team, and it took on a soul of its own very quickly. I was itchy to have more ownership over what we were doing. [Read more…]