One Size Does Not Fit All: Custom Fit With Kit One Size Does Not Fit All: Custom Fit With Kit Merin Guthrie is a girl’s girl. Raised to be strong and independent, she grew up in a family filled with unapologetically opinionated, self-assured women, including three grandmothers and her mother. From age 12 she attended an all-female boarding school where she formed incredible relationships, and was never hindered by the world of “man.” Upon entering the real world for college, Guthrie was wondering, “Why aren’t more people focused on women, and what women need, and empowering women?” Having such an absence of men for the better part of her young life was incredibly influential for Guthrie. It’s not that she thought of men as the bad guys, she just didn’t see herself in the context of a man at all. To illustrate her point, Guthrie brought up the point that Katie Ledecky in the 2016 Olympics was always referred to as the “female Michael Phelps,” but never as her own superior self as an athlete. Merin Guthrie, Founder and CEO of Kit. Photo Credit: Samira Bouaou Along with this problem, Guthrie also became aware of how poorly women’s clothes are made these days. She started wearing her grandmothers’ old vintage dresses that still had amazing quality and fit her so much better than anything she could buy at a store. Guthrie’s own boss couldn’t see how well she performed at a meeting because she was so uncomfortable in her clothes and believed that everyone in the meeting was focused on how poorly they fit. When it comes to women’s clothing, fit is a huge problem. In fact, industry wide–60% of all women’s wear designers are men. How can they possibly be expected to know what will fit us? Guthrie eventually moved to Texas with her husband where she had a lot of free time on her hands. She was asked to make bridesmaids dresses for an old friend who was getting married, and after working with each individual woman to make her bridesmaids dress what she wanted, Guthrie realized she wanted to try and solve this industry wide problem of fit. One thing was for sure, Guthrie wanted to focus on women and women alone. She based her line on the needs of her female customer service manager, also is a mom with two kids under the age of three. While Guthrie is absolutely not opposed to men, she believes a woman in the customer service job is a much better fit than a man. To wit, a man can’t answer questions about what dress is right for breastfeeding, and how a bust size should fit. The customer service has to fit the demographics, which is what helps make this company so innovative and inspiring. According to Guthrie, the reason women’s clothes don’t fit well is that patterns are made two-dimensionally, but women have three-dimensional bodies. To address this issue, Guthrie had a long conversation with a pattern maker who made clothes yet still couldn’t find anything that fits. They agreed that they had to throw out the idea of a one-size-fits-all sizing system; it just doesn’t work. Instead of sizing, the company gets information about people’s bodies to make the clothes specifically fit that person. All Kit clothes are all made after the point of purchase, and because the manufacturing is in-house, the company’s seamstresses work with customer service to make everything customizable. Customers who have dealt with one of the workers before will just email whoever they’ve worked with instead of going back to the website; there’s a relationship built there. Furthermore, the company welcomes and evolves with customer feedback. The reason behind Kit’s success, to be sure, is Guthrie’s focus on her consumer, rather than on scaling quickly for a quick buck. Instead, she’s focused on keeping the customers happy and producing quality products. Guthrie (left) and a friend. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Kit “We wanted customer service to be like having a really stylish good friend.” By getting clothing through Kit, customers are guaranteed a one-of-a-kind service experience along with quality items that actually fit. Although Guthrie came from a background that didn’t include fashion, she was able to think outside the box, and inspire an entire industry by introducing a clothing line that women didn’t even know they needed. Colleen Minkewicz Colleen is a college student at SUNY New Paltz graduating in Spring 2017 majoring in English and Creative Writing. She aspires to become an editor/work in publishing in the future.