By Claudia Grisales Austin American-Statesman.
Stitch Fix, a fast-growing, online women's stylist and personal shopping service, will open its third U.S. location in downtown Austin early next year and expects to employ 250 workers, the company said.
The San Francisco-based company plans to move into offices at 816 Congress Ave. in March 2015.
Stitch Fix already employs 190 full-time and part-time stylists in Austin, along with 30 "client experience agents," or customer service agents, who have been working remotely in the Austin area since April. Opening an office here was the next logical step, company executives said.
"We pride ourselves in blending the art of fashion with the science of technology, and we think there's no better fit for our next office than Austin, where an amazing art and culture scene thrives alongside a growing technology industry," said Stitch Fix founder and CEO Katrina Lake. "We have had a presence in Austin through our team of stylists since April 2014, and we're excited to have an office for them as we continue to invest in and grow our Austin team."
Pete Winstead, chairman of Opportunity Austin, a five-county Central Texas economic development initiative, said Stitch Fix's Austin growth will be a boon to the local economy.
"Stitch Fix is an incredibly innovative and cutting-edge company situated at the intersection of fashion and technology," said Winstead, founding shareholder at business law firm Winstead PC. "Austin will serve as a perfect location for their expansion and we look forward to welcoming them to Central Texas as they will continue to help diversify our local tech industry, creating new and exciting areas of growth for the region."
Stitch Fix says it uses complex algorithms to develop styling profiles for individual clients. Clients begin their Stitch Fix experience by responding to a detailed questionnaire that is later used by stylists to pull together clothing and accessory options.
Those clients then receive a Stitch Fix shipment with five selected items and decide what they want to keep or return.
Stitch Fix has seen rapid growth since its founding in 2011, employing more than 1,000 U.S. workers today. It currently has offices at its San Francisco headquarters and Pittsburgh.
Mike Smith, chief operating officer for Stitch Fix, said the company's Austin growth happened organically, and said local employees will work with clients around the country. Stitch Fix will occupy about 10,000 square feet of space on one floor at 816 Congress Ave.
Stitch Fix plans to hire additional stylists, engineers, and client experience agents in 2015, Smith said. He declined to elaborate on pay specifics or the number of local openings.
"We are hiring a wide range of talent," Smith said. "We will be very competitive."