JustFab rebrands to 'TechStyle Fashion Group'
JustFab, the company that runs membership/subscription retailers JustFab, ShoeDazzle, FabKids, and Kate Hudson’s Fabletics yoga line, is rebranding to “TechStyle Fashion Group,” the retailer said on Tuesday.
The move emphasizes the company’s tech roots and reflects its shift from one e-commerce site to a “global brand-building platform” with more than 4 million members across its four brands.
Earlier this summer JustFab tapped former Rubicon Project executive Todd Tappin to be chief financial officer and president, and is said to be preparing for an initial public offering.
The fashion retailer's rebrand — toward an edgier, more data-driven facade — aims to be what Co-CEO Adam Goldenberg describes as "where Fashion Avenue meets Silicon Valley."
The shift toward a more tech-centric and personalized feel comes at a time when JustFab is trying to down play recent controversies over its “VIP membership”-based subscription service. The retailer has made several changes to its policy earlier this year, but that hasn't stopped complaints. Customers have argued that it wasn't clear that a monthly fee of $40 would be charged to their credit cards, and that the service was difficult to cancel.
While it's now possible to cancel via the website, that requires an online live chat with a company representative, during business hours. Cancelling by phone has expanded to 24 hours per day/ seven days a week, but also requires a conversation with a representative.
Although the e-retailer said it was looking into providing a way for customers to cancel the service on its website, opting out of the subcription still requires a phone call during business hours. Pop culture icon Cher is the latest high profile customer to publicly rage over the convoluted model, complaining about the questionnaire that shoppers must take before getting their first, membership-discounted order. Last month she tweeted out her frustration, saying she felt she was "being conned."
Made mistake of going2 Fabletics.What a pain in the ass.won’t even let u see anything Till u give them ur 1st born‼️Felt I Was Being Conned— Cher (@cher) July 18, 2016
A company spokesperson told Retail Dive that the deep discounts offered to members complicate the company's ability to offer the type of easy online cancelation found at other subscription retailers.
"When you first sign up for a VIP Membership, you are offered very steep discounts (steeper than regular membership), at a loss to the company," she said in an email. "Offering a one-click cancel would pose problems with the potential of the first-time offer being taken advantage of. Someone could theoretically sign up, get the discount, cancel, resign up, get the discount, cancel, resign up, etc. We want people to cancel if they’re unhappy with the program, but as a business, they of course want to have one last touch point to get feedback, just as a gym like Equinox, cell service like T-Mobile, or other monthly service provider would do.
"They are always looking for ways to improve on the service, but at this point there are too many challenges associated with a one-click cancel, which is why they have introduced online live chat cancel, which has tested very well," she added.
She also said that an independent audit looking into the issues is still slated to be released later this summer. She declined to say what company is conducting that audit.
It's not clear how well Fabletics and its sister TechStyle Fashion Group companies will continue to do in the subscription space in general, though. Even subscription models that aren’t incurring such levels of frustration are failing to enjoy the level of popularity they once did. Those that are hanging on are based on consumables that subscribers need regularly, like shaving products. As the so-called ath-leisure trend ebbs, it’s not clear how many consumers will continue to want to receive $40 or more of yoga gear each month.
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