Incoming Stitch fix CEO Elizabeth Spaulding told CNBC on Thursday that the company was confident of when the top management could be relaunched and stated that the Coronavirus pandemic “everything accelerates” for the online styling service.
Spaulding, currently serving as president, will take over from founder and CEO Katrina Lake on August 1st. Lake, who founded Stitch Fix in 2011 and floated it six years later, will become Executive Chairman of the company’s board of directors.
While it’s not uncommon for Start-up founders step down as CEO Nonetheless, as their company matured, Stitch Fix’s announcement on Tuesday surprised some industry watchers and analysts. The company’s stock fell after the news.
“Really, the timing felt right,” said Spaulding in an interview on Thursday “Close the bell.” “Covid has accelerated everything for us as a company and over the past year we have really been able to invest in our future.”
During the pandemic, more and more consumers turned to online shopping. especially for clothingSpaulding noted that this flows into the core identity of Stitch Fix. The company sees the benefits now as the economy recovers from the slowdown in Covid and consumers resume activities they shy away from.
“In the past two quarters, we added more customers in those quarters than in the entire fiscal year ”said Spaulding, who came to Stitch Fix in San Francisco in January 2020 after more than two decades with Bain & Company.
Stitch Fix is known for sending its customers a box of items that the staff individually select based on their preferences for the customer. Customers only pay for what they keep and there is also a styling fee.
Outside of regular deliveries of clothing to customers, Stitch Fix added a Direct purchase Option in recent years.
When Spaulding’s hiring was announced in late 2019, a press release said Part of their focus would be on “driving the next phase of Stitch Fix’s growth,” which includes the direct purchase offering.
Not only has the pandemic spurred online apparel sales, it has “accelerated the role for us as a leadership team,” Spaulding told CNBC.
“It deepens the relationship of all leaders who are in crisis,” she said. But the pandemic “really made it possible for Katrina and me to share and conquer and for me to play the design of this next chapter and the future of business, to focus on the innovation in our model and really on the table with ours future team focus. “
Spaulding noted that in addition to her role as CEO, Lake will continue to work for Stitch Fix. “We joke that we’re each other’s bosses,” said Spaulding.
“”[Lake] will have a very strong focus on social impact, both sustainability and the role we can play in the apparel supply chain; Diversity, equity and inclusion; and things about brand partnerships and things that are really their strengths, “said Spaulding.” So we feel like we’re getting the best out of both, with each of us continuing to play a huge role in the business. “”