Simple, painless, instant style
By Gretta Monahan
We all want to have a terrific wardrobe that makes getting dressed, looking fantastic and owning our style a cinch, right? But we don’t always have the time or the inclination to spend hours rifling through the racks in stores looking for the perfect outfits.
One of the coolest companies helping women on that front is MM.LaFleur — and it’s hitting cities in a brand-new way. The New York-based innovator already made its mark by delivering customers personalized “Bento” boxes of work-friendly pieces chosen just for them by a stylist; once you get the box, you’ve got four days to try everything on and pick what you want to keep. Send the rest back and you’re only charged for what you chose. Et voila: simple, painless, instant style.
And now the company’s bringing that same easy, personal styling to cities across the nation with pop-up shops. In addition to the regular Bento delivery service, the shops give customers the chance to work one-on-one with a stylist and try on more pieces than they would be able to with just one box.
“Our stylists know our collection inside and out,” said Hanna Freedlund, senior associate of service excellence, who runs the company’s pop-up team. “And they can help customers zero in on the styles that best suit them — whether they’re looking for something specific or just want to refresh their work wardrobes.”
The appointment-based experience is meant to feel like a mini vacation: You fill out a brief survey in advance and when you arrive, you’re greeted by your stylist, offered a beverage and escorted to your dressing room with pre-pulled looks in your size.
“There’s no sorting through racks, no long lines, no pressure,” said Rachel Mann, director of sales operations. “We do the work for you so that you can relax and have a productive experience.”
That added element of in-person help should come as a boon for MM.LaFleur’s existing fans in town. “We’ve built a loyal customer group in Boston and we’re excited to service our customers with brick and mortar for the next eight months,” said Mann.
The company is the brainchild of Sarah LaFleur, who created it out of personal frustration. Years ago, she was working as a management consultant and said, “All my colleagues were wearing clothes from the same handful of brands and the options were boring, ill-fitting and uncomfortable. I struggled to get dressed every morning and I never really felt like myself in those clothes. On top of that, the shopping experience was such a chore — I didn’t want to spend my precious nights and weekends sifting through racks of pantsuits under fluorescent lighting. I always used to say to my co-workers, ‘You know, someone should really solve this problem for women!’ ”
MM.LaFleur likes to say that it serves “women of purpose.”
“They all have something they care passionately about — whether that’s at work or at home — and their most precious commodity is time,” said LaFleur, a Harvard alum.
What are some of their most popular looks in the Boston market?
“Our customers gravitate towards simple, elegant pieces that you can easily wear from day to night,” said Mann. “Our Woolf cardigan is particularly popular. A stretchy knit that combines the structure of a blazer with the comfort of a cardigan, it’s the perfect piece to slip on before a big meeting. And it doesn’t wrinkle, so you can wear it on a plane or throw it in your bag, and it will always look crisp.”