Former Nordstrom Exec Launches Behold, an AI-Powered Retailer Focused on 'Outfits'

Francesca Billington

Francesca Billington is a freelance reporter. Prior to that, she was a general assignment reporter for dot.LA and has also reported for KCRW, the Santa Monica Daily Press and local publications in New Jersey. She graduated from Princeton in 2019 with a degree in anthropology.

Former Nordstrom Exec Launches Behold, an AI-Powered Retailer Focused on 'Outfits'

Terry Boyle, co-founder of startup retail site Behold, believes fashion ecommerce is broken for customers.

"It gives them too much choice they don't want, it's not truly personalized and it's too item focused," he told dot.LA.

Consumers don't wear 50 to 80% of what they own, said Boyle, the former president of Nordstromrack.com, Trunk Club and HauteLook. So, Boyle's company packages mostly designer outfits for shoppers hoping that it will make purchases more attractive.


Behold raised $5 million and Tuesday launches its tech platform, where customers can browse outfits recommended to them by artificial intelligence (AI) and a group of professional stylists.

The funding round was led by L.A. investors including Upfront Ventures, Greycroft, Troy Capital Partners, TenOneTen Ventures and Zillow and dot.LA co-founder Spencer Rascoff.

While most people are buying sweatpants and comfy clothes, Boyle thinks the consumer market will shift back to dressier clothes, outfits that tend to be more expensive.

"Just because you can hang out in sweats and a t-shirt doesn't mean you should," Boyle said. "How you dress affects how you feel, so you're starting to see more and more people, as you walk around town, dressing up even if there's no real reason to."

Behold's website is set up like a personality quiz for clothes. Users can click through a series of outfits, ranking them on a scale from ones they'd wear "Never" to "Often." After "training your stylist" by adding measurements, your budget and a few favorite designers, the website generates a curated board of outfits using its "Smart-Collab" technology. The idea has been embraced by subscription box services like Stitch Fix and Frank and Oak.

Every Monday, Behold stylists send seven to 10 personalized outfits to each registered user who can then choose to adjust the outfits or purchase pieces individually. Consumers can choose clothes from a range of prices, although most are designer brands. A quick review of the site by dot.LA found the the tool steered customers to higher priced items even when asked for cheaper ones.

As the pandemic moves retail shopping online, the L.A.-based company sees their model as one that makes discovering new clothes more personalized. Boyle said it's also a smart move for wholesale companies and designers struggling to make money through traditional retail marketplaces like department stores, which have seen a wave of closures.

"The pandemic has made brands more open to understanding that their future channel partners may look different than the ones they had in the past," Boyle said.

https://twitter.com/frosebillington
francesca@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

Energy Shares Gears Up To Bring Equity Crowdfunding to Retail Investors
Photo by Red Zeppelin on Unsplash

The Inflation Reduction Act contains almost $400 billion in funding for clean energy initiatives. There’s $250 billion for energy projects. $23 billion for transportation and EVs. $46 billion for environment. $21 billion for agriculture, and so on. With so much cash flowing into the sector, the possibilities for investment and growth are gigantic.

These investment opportunities, however, have typically been inaccessible for everyday retail investors until much later in a company’s development–after an IPO, usually. Meaning that the best returns are likely to be captured by banks and other institutions who have the capital and financing to invest large sums of money earlier in the process.

That’s where Pasadena-based Energy Shares comes in. The company wants to help democratize access to these investment opportunities and simultaneously give early-stage utility-scale energy projects another revenue stream.

Read moreShow less

How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success

Aisha Counts
Aisha Counts is a business reporter covering the technology industry. She has written extensively about tech giants, emerging technologies, startups and venture capital. Before becoming a journalist she spent several years as a management consultant at Ernst & Young.
How These Ukranian Entrepreneurs Relocated Their Startups to LA and Found Success
Joey Mota

Fleeing war and chasing new opportunities, more than a dozen Ukrainian entrepreneurs have landed in Los Angeles, finding an unexpected community in the city of dreams. These entrepreneurs have started companies that are collectively worth more than $300 million, in industries ranging from electric vehicle charging stations to audience monetization platforms to social networks.

Dot.LA spent an evening with this group of Ukrainian citizens, learning what it was like to build startups in Ukraine, to cope with the unimaginable fear of fleeing war, and to garner the resilience to rebuild.

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending