The Cincinnati software company’s app forms outfits based on what’s already in your closet
It’s difficult to put a value on the self-confidence and comfort that come with dressing appropriately for an occasion, whether it’s for an important business meeting, a night out or just a day at the ballpark. But with a closet full of clothes, picking out the right outfit can sometimes seem like an impossible pursuit. Cladwell in Cincinnati knows that people probably have too much stuff, so it designed an app to help you pare down your wardrobe and match the right items to help you look good and feel good every day.
“99% of the fashion industry is obsessed with one thing, and that’s driving sales. But we know that most of your attention to clothes after purchase is directed at how to deploy them, and quite frankly, we all own too many clothes,” said Blake Smith, Founder & CEO of Cladwell. “The average closet has around 135 items, but realistically you only wear about 25 of them. We help highlight this excess to reduce closet clutter, and then turn around and help you make recommendations based on what you have.”
Smith got the idea for Cladwell when, in his mid-20s and looking to refine his style, found it difficult to pick out proper outfits for different occasions. Turning to a friend in the fashion industry to help style him, he realized this was a problem across the country. After surveying some friends, Blake realized he was right, and decided to build a solution around it.
“Millennials are responsible for a huge shift in the fashion industry. Our generation is buying less clothing, but spending more on select, higher-quality items,” said Smith. “Our solution is built not on driving sales—we don’t sell clothes—but on maximizing what you already have. That message of minimalism really resonates with our audience.”
Cladwell operates as a subscription-based service through an iOS app, costing $7.99 per month. Users answer questions about the items in their closet based on style, material, color and more, and then Cladwell’s proprietary algorithm does the rest. Rather than spending time before bed or in the morning tediously trying on outfits, Cladwell suggests them to you, taking into account the weather that day.
The Cincinnati-based company has been supported by Ohio Third Frontier partner Queen City Angels since its inception, receiving funding and mentorship to help them grow. To this point, Cladwell has received investments of nearly $3 million dollars from sources across the U.S. and participated in the nationally-ranked 500 Startups seed program in San Francisco. While they’re building a presence throughout the United States, Smith says their home is firmly in Cincinnati.
“So many people today think that you have to be either coastal or not, you can’t be both. We don’t believe that. We think the interest we’ve gotten from the coasts is great and we make a point to foster those relationships because they can help open doors for our product,” said Smith. “But we have the talent and support here in Ohio to help revolutionize the fashion industry and make it into every closet in America. We have the space here, the people here, to completely disrupt the way people think about their clothes.”