Business

Stitch Fix Insiders share how changes made under new CEO Elizabeth Spaulding have hurt stylists’ job flexibility and the shopper experience

Stitch Fix has made big policy updates and shifted strategies since CEO Elizabeth Spaulding replaced Katrina Lake, its founder, in August. ...
Stylist on laptop with Stitch Fix logo, surrounded by floating hangers with algorithmic pattern
The Stitch Fix stylist role was known for its flexible hours, making it an attractive job for many.

  • Stitch Fix has rolled out new policies and product updates since August.
  • The changes arrived as Elizabeth Spaulding took the reins from Katrina Lake, Stitch Fix's founder.
  • Here's a rundown of Insider's reporting on Stitch Fix, from its worker exodus to inventory mishaps.

Stitch Fix has faced backlash from stylists during a crucial period for the company as it rolls out products under a new CEO, Elizabeth Spaulding.

Founded in 2011, Stitch Fix relies on a legion of part-time and full-time stylists who, together with the company's proprietary algorithm, select items tailored to customers' styles. These items, called a "Fix," are shipped to Stitch Fix's more than 4 million active customers.

In August, Stitch Fix announced that it would change how stylists could schedule their hours. The changes made the role less flexible and prompted many stylists to quit.

At the same time, stylists said they'd been struggling with inventory choices while creating "Fixes" and worried that in the long term their work would be replaced by recommendations made by Stitch Fix's algorithm.

Here's a rundown of Insider's reporting on Stitch Fix, including stylists' reactions to policy changes and what leadership has said about its vision for the future.

Scheduling changes alienated stylists and drove many to quit

The Stitch Fix stylist role was known for its flexible hours, making it an attractive job for stay-at-home parents, people juggling other jobs or school, and people with disabilities. In August, Stitch Fix began requiring stylists to schedule their work for specific hours and commit to those hours ahead of time.

BuzzFeed News reported that these changes led hundreds of stylists to quit, including one who told her story to Insider directly. Stylists who left the company were eligible for a $1,000 payout.

Stitch Fix has since walked back some changes and promised in companywide meetings and internal memos to listen to feedback.

Remaining stylists have concerns about Stitch Fix's algorithm and inventory

Stylists told Insider they had struggled with low inventory when looking for the right clothing items to send clients.

They also said that a new algorithmic-dependent service, Fix Preview, often generated recommendations that did not fit clients' preferences.

As Stitch Fix irons out the kinks in its newer tech offerings, some stylists worry that the company's growing reliance on the algorithm is diminishing their role in Stitch Fix's processes.

Stitch Fix is making some big changes as a new CEO looks to make her mark

Katrina Lake, Stitch Fix's founder, left her post as CEO in August and became Stitch Fix's executive chairperson.

Spaulding took over on the same day the company announced its controversial scheduling policy. Spaulding has also overseen the launch of Stitch Fix's Freestyle offering, which allows people to shop directly from its website. Unlike the Fix, it does not rely on the work of a human stylist.

Analysts told Insider the expansion into Freestyle could be a way for Stitch Fix to diversify its client base and grow revenue, especially as shoppers look for more flexibility around how and when they make purchases.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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