Q&A: Malina Padgett, Founder, Fit + Flatter
RTIH: Tell us about Fit + Flatter.
MP: Fit + Flatter is a style discovery platform helping consumers find their ideal fit. Driven by our belief that all shapes, sizes, and ages should be represented in the fashion industry, it brings together a curated selection of clothing categorised and modelled by women of various shapes and sizes with a similar shape. We partner with fashion brands and boutiques to photograph, style and feature clothing on our Reviewers – a group of women who are not professional models, but are relatable, everyday women.
RTIH: What was the inspiration behind setting the company up?
MP: Starting off in fashion design, I was interested in creating pieces that would fit my longer-than-average torso. It wasn't long after that women started asking me to make them clothing that fit their body-type-specific issues, showing me pieces in their closets and asking for me to come up with similar clothing. Instead of creating my own line to address these issues, I decided I wanted to create a tool to help all women, not just those I encountered, so I launched Fit + Flatter.
RTIH: What has been the industry reaction thus far?
MP: We first launched Fit + Flatter in 2017 with a soft launch to test what would work best with our partners and with our audience. After spending the first half of 2017 testing our theory, we relaunched in the fall of 2017 with a more streamlined platform and user experience.
Since then, we’ve continued to tweak, but we consistently hear from clothing companies and consumers how thrilled they are with what we are doing and the message we are sending. Consumers love seeing women who look like them represented and companies know this, but until Fit + Flatter there wasn’t a good avenue to efficiently run campaigns with detailed reviews and a lot of diversity.
RTIH: What has been your biggest challenge/setback?
MP: Learning curves for just about everything. Fit + Flatter is my first company and with that comes a lot of hurdles. There were so many things in the beginning that I had no prior knowledge of: working with developers, patent work, you name it. I learned early on that the best way to approach things you don’t know about is to read a lot on it, ask opinions of people who specialise in whatever it is, and know when to hire a professional versus hone in on your own skill set to conquer it.
RTIH: What are the biggest challenges facing the omnichannel retail sector right now?
MP: There is so much choice as the consumer spends an incredible amount of time on their mobile every day. Converting the consumer that came across the product on Instagram or Pinterest is a real challenge for retailers today. Companies need to hone in on original content and concepts specific to them to not only make the initial sale, but to keep the consumer a fan for a long time.
RTIH: What's the best question about your company or the market asked of you recently by a.) an investor and b.) a customer?
MP: In terms of a., we have not sought any investment at this time but plan to in the near future. As for b., from the clothing companies we work with, we’re consistently asked about ROI. Analytics and conversion are hard to measure in this space because all of our campaigns are multi-channel. Specifically with Instagram you don’t know exactly how much of your audience went and clicked through on their account and to their website to purchase, therefore we judge ROI on multiple factors including feedback from the companies we work with and what percentage of companies choose to work with us again.
RTIH: What can we expect to see from Fit + Flatter over the next 12 months?
MP: We have been testing Fit + Flatter Takeovers in different cities recently, where we visit a city and get a unique group of women to participate in a photoshoot to review pieces. We’ve seen a lot of targeted success with this concept and are planning to expand it in the near future.