Parents

'It was kind': How Stitch Fix fashions fans with true acts of client love

With the busy demands of parenting and careers, moms can struggle to find time to shop for stylish clothes that fit them well. Add in the challenges of a child with special needs or a cancer diagnosis and opportunities for “me time” become few and far between.

Stitch Fix, an online subscription and personal styling service, employs more than 2,800 stylists, all of whom are trained to choose personalized items that cater to each client’s lifestyle, body type and style. But Stitch Fix stylists aren’t just deciding which skirt would look best for their client’s upcoming mom’s night out — they’re hearing the intimate details of each customer’s life, and often reaching out to do something kind for women in need of encouragement.

Courtesy of Laura Fanucci
Pregnant with twin girls, Laura Fanucci had begun requesting maternity clothing from Stitch Fix. When her daughters developed a condition in utero that led to their premature delivery and death, Fanucci updated her Stitch Fix profile, explaining her loss and asking to stop receiving maternity wear. On what would have been her pregnancy due date, Fanucci received a package from Stitch Fix containing a note expressing their condolences, along with a bracelet containing a charm with each of her children's initials.

Laura Fanucci, who blogs at Mothering Spirit, recently posted to her Facebook page about how Stitch Fix reached out to her in a time of grief — shortly after the loss of her twin daughters, who were delivered at 24 weeks gestation and died from a pregnancy complication called Twin-To-Twin Transfusion Syndrome.

Fanucci had informed her Stitch Fix stylist that she was pregnant, requesting maternity clothes from the company. After her daughters died, she wrote a note to her stylist requesting that she no longer be sent maternity clothes and explaining why.

Courtesy of Mala Reynolds
Mala Reynolds, a 40-year-old mom of four boys, was diagnosed with stage four cancer and underwent multiple surgeries to treat her condition. After learning that she was cancer free, Reynolds explained in a note to her Stitch Fix stylist that she was looking for clothing for a special beach vacation to celebrate her good health. "A few weeks later, I came home from work to a box on my porch," said Reynolds. "When I opened the box, there was a nice beach bag and a round beach towel with the sweetest note congratulating me again. It brought tears to my eyes."

“I opened up the mailbox (a few weeks later) — on the original due date for my pregnancy no less — and found this package from Stitch Fix,” said Fanucci. “When I opened it up, I found a handwritten card of condolences and a small box. Inside was a silver bracelet with an infinity symbol holding all my kids’ initials. I burst into tears, of course, but the good kind of tears — the kind I have come to know, as a bereaved parent, when people reach out to you with such goodness.”

Courtesy of Shannon Gow
After Shannon Gow wrote a post on Facebook about the ways Stitch Fix makes her life as a caregiver to a child with special needs easier, another Stitch Fix client forwarded the post to the company. Gow says she was touched to receive a note from Stitch Fix, along with a necklace designed to thank her for her service to her daughter. " I have never been given a gift that truly means so much and completely speaks truth to my life and others," said Gow. "It's priceless."

Julie Bornstein, chief operating officer of Stitch Fix, says the company was founded on the idea of helping women look and feel great, while focusing on the things that are most important to them. Because there is a stylist handling each client’s subscription personally, Bornstein says relationships are often built, and women frequently feel comfortable sharing personal details of their lives.

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“We ended up finding that women were sharing a lot of intimate details with us,” Bornstein told TODAY Parents. “A lot of women tell us they’re pregnant before they tell their family and friends because they need to adjust their sizes...Women have a natural inclination to share what’s going on in their lives, and they feel like they want to explain why they need something later or why they put their next Fix on hold, so they end up sharing these really incredible stories.”

Courtesy of Amanda Huffman
When Amanda Huffman's daughter, Avery, was diagnosed with brain cancer, she began requesting comfortable, casual clothing in her Stitch Fix shipment, that could be worn while staying with her daughter in the hospital. After Avery's death, Stitch Fix sent Huffman a handwritten note offering their condolences, as well as a necklace symbolizing her daughter's bravery.

When Amanda Huffman’s 7-year-old daughter, Avery, was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, she spent nearly eight months tending to her daughter’s every need as she underwent treatment.

“As a mom, I never wanted to leave her side,” said Huffman, who started the Avery Huffman Defeat DIPG Foundation in her daughter’s memory. “I would update my Stitch Fix account requesting casual loungewear, and even canceled one month because clothes and fashion seemed so unimportant and far from where my mind and heart were in reality.”

Courtesy of Rosemary Rodarte
After Rosemary Rodarte shared a touching story on Facebook about her 3-year-old son who has autism recognizing the Stitch Fix logo when her monthly shipment arrived, the company mailed her a touching note of encouragement, along with a special package for her son. "In that box was an amazing note along with some tactile toys for Jack," said Rodarte. "He loved them! He was so happy to open that box with his toys inside."

Shortly after Avery died, Huffman says she received a handwritten note from Stitch Fix, along with a necklace.

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“The note explained how they had heard about my Avery and her passing, and that they wanted to send the necklace along as a symbol of her bravery,” said Huffman. “We called her ‘brAvery.’ It was special. It was kind. It has made me a customer for life.”

Courtesy of Danielle Tafelski
Danielle Tafelski signed up for Stitch Fix after a difficult time in her life, when one of her twin daughters was diagnosed with cancer. "In my profile note, I shared that I have had a few tough years...I was looking for a way to take care of myself again and appreciate my body and the time of my life that I am in," said Tafelski. Soon after, Tafelski received a package of spa products from Stitch Fix, along with a note reminding her to take time to care for herself.

Bornstein says Stitch Fix finds out about client needs in a variety of ways — from notes written to stylists by their clients directly, to other Stitch Fix customers who email customer service to tell them of a story they came across online. The company employs what Bornstein calls their “Client Love Team,” who handles shopping for thoughtful gifts and writing encouraging notes to clients.

Courtesy of Sara Smeby
After her 8-year-old daughter, Anna, was hospitalized unexpectedly, Sara Smeby emailed Stitch Fix to request a bit more time to try on her selections and decide what she wanted to purchase. Soon after, she received a note from Stitch Fix, along with a Justin Bieber blanket for her daughter. "To think that they not only cared to send something snuggly to Anna, but took the time to go on my Twitter account to see the pictures of her Justin Beiber sticker chart and send her a blanket with him on it was astounding," said Smeby. "She was ecstatic. She loves Justin Beiber."

“When these stories come in, I think anyone who reads it is very drawn to wanting to help the person however they can,” said Bornstein. “So, while our job is to find great clothes that meet your needs, when there’s an extenuating circumstance, we — as individuals — care.”

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