Things are moving fast for Nadia Shouraboura, the former Amazon exec who’s now running Seattle’s newest men’s clothing store that’s powered by robots and your smartphone.
Hointer opened up its debut store just above Wine World in Wallingford last fall and is now expanding to downtown Seattle, Silicon Valley and Las Vegas.
“It is so much fun,” Shouraboura said from Palo Alto, Calif., where she’s helping open up Hointer’s second store.
The Hointer store at Stanford Shopping Center will open for beta next week and officially launch May 1.
Then back in Seattle, Hointer will open a temporary store downtown at Pacific Place for six months starting in June.
Finally after that, another store will open on The Strip in Las Vegas.
Here’s the lowdown on Hointer: Essentially, it combines technology and traditional shopping. Think of it as the high-tech, modern shopping experience: something that is as fast and efficient as buying online, but still allows you to try on and touch the clothing.
Before shopping, customers must download the Hointer app. Once done, they can walk around and decide what they like. Unlike typical apparel stores that have folded jeans stacked on top of each other, Hointer’s pants are hung up so that customers can closely inspect every detail.
When you see something you like, simply scan the QR code with the app. You’ll be prompted with available sizes and once you select a specific pair, the jeans are dropped into a virtual shopping cart. You can continue to drop other items into your shopping cart, and when you’re ready, clicking “try on” will send you to a designated dressing room.
This is the coolest part: by the time you arrive at the dressing room, the clothes will already be there. Shouraboura wouldn’t let us see who or what was doing the work behind the walls — robots or tiny elves, presumably — but nonetheless, the clothes in your shopping cart arrive in the dressing room within 30 seconds.
If you don’t like the jeans or they don’t fit, simply throw them into a bin and they will automatically be removed from your shopping cart. You can request a new size or new style directly from the dressing room as well. It’s unlike online shopping, where a customer would have to re-package an item, send it back to the retailer, then wait even longer for a replacement.
Shouraboura, who worked for several startups before spending the past eight years as head of Supply Chain and Fulfillment Technologies for Amazon, told us that the company is starting to work with other retailers on licensing this technology, but couldn’t name names.
She also added that Hointer now plans on offering women’s clothing.
“Women told us that they love shopping Hointer way, so we launched women’s selection in our store in Wallingford,” said Shouraboura, who put $5 million of her own money into the company. “Our women’s selection is still smaller than men’s, but it is growing fast and it will be as large as men’s soon.”
The three new stores will launch for both women and men.
Previously on GeekWire: Amazon vet’s new robot-powered apparel startup aims to revolutionize the way we buy clothes