It all started with an everyday situation: a male friend who had no time for shopping but still wanted to look good and stylish, that's why he booked a personal shopper to go shopping with him. Two hours later, heback totally happy and well equipped with clothes for the next 6 months. That was the moment when Anna Alex and Julia Bösch realized this could be a business idea in Europe and online. While in the US a personal shopper costs around $200 per hour, Outfittery offers this service for free. We talked with co-founder Anna Alex about the company, the men's way of shopping and the future of e-commerce. Interview by Lorenzo Molina

When did the company start working?We started with Outfittery in April 2012 in Julia’s living room. First we dressed all our male friends and relatives to test our service. I still remember the moment when we served the first customer who wasn’t a relative of us – that was so exciting!

How would you describe the Outfittery consumer?
Our typical customer is a successful business men who cares about his style but doesn’t want to waste his time shopping. He loves to spend his time for more important things or simply likes to discover new styles.

Homepage of Outfittery, where users could access directly to the online style survey
Homepage of Outfittery, where users could access directly to the online style survey

Outfittery offers the assessment of stylists to its customers. How many stylists do currently work for the site?
Currently we have 70 style experts. Many worked in retail before and have great knowledge about fabrics and brands.

In order to know the customer’s fashion identity, you ask customers to fill out a short questionnaire. What kind of information is important to determine a man’s style?
We ask our customers about their Style at work or in their free time. We asked for the preferred shoe type or vehicle and how old they feel. These questions determine which style experts is the best fit for the customer. Then he will have a short phone call with her to specify his wishes even more.

When did you open the physical showroom in Berlin? How has been the reaction towards it so far?
We opened it beginning this year when we moved to our current location. Our clients in Berlin love to visit us just to become an idea of who we are and how we work. Our service is very personal – every client has his own and personal stylist. So it is consequent that we offer our clients the possibility to visit us.

Outfittery's men survey: 'which styles do you prefer for your leisure time?'
Outfittery's men survey: 'which styles do you prefer for your leisure time?'

Social media has become an essential part of e-commerce. Which platforms do you use and how are they managed?
We use facebook as well as Google+, Twitter and Xing and we are managing our platforms inhouse. This is the most authentic way what is important in social media.

Which are your bestselling brands, the most demanded by customers?
That depends on the customer of course. Some of our brands we see off well is eg. Boss Orange, Gant, Marc’o Polo and Tiger of Sweden.

Customers can try on their clothes directly in the Berliner showroom
Customers can try on their clothes directly in the Berliner showroom
What is the secret to maintain an appealing and up-to-date brand assortment?
First of all you need to have an awesome buying team. Our Head of Buying, Wolfgang Schmidt-Ulm was one of the best central buyers at Peek&Cloppenburg before and has a great feeling for styles and quality. Secondly we built up very stable and trustful relationships with our brands. A good collaboration can only evolve when both sides have fun.

There’s a lot of discussion about the future of e-commerce and its viability. What’s your opinion?I believe that in future E-Commerce and Brick and Mortar Retail will not be as separated any more as they are today. In the end its about the customer and about having the right goods at the right time in the right place. With Outfittery we combine the best from both worlds and I strongly believe that with this approach we are the next logical step in the evolution of retail.

In which markets do you currently operate? Any expansion plans on sight?
Currently we operate in eight European markets. Such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark and Luxembourg. And we will continue our expansion. Soon we will as well serve English speaking customers in all countries! Watch out Expats ;)