These 14 Startup Ideas Made The Cut For WashU Olin’s BIG IdeaBounce $50K Top Prize

Team Name: Pareto

University: Stanford University, Graduate School of Business

BIG IndeaBounce 2022 & 2023 finalist

Concept: Pareto makes getting dressed the easiest part of the day through making high-quality wardrobe essentials (imagine Patagonia for the “everyday” category) and life-simplifying technology (personalized styling “recipes” based on the Pareto pieces you own).

Challenge: Apparel brands today are focused on more – more product, more often. Shein launches 1,000 new styles every day. Everlane had 400 styles just for this summer. Women, on the other hand, wear 20% of their closets, 80% of the time, reaching for the same core wardrobe essentials day after day. What does this all result in? In the pursuit of constant newness, brands have made getting dressed overly complicated. Women are forced to spend endless time, energy, and money just to get dressed in the morning. Endless waste is generated along the way.

Solution: Pareto is a retail brand that makes getting dressed the easiest part of your day. We’re starting with women, but men and children are next. First, we make the best version of those core wardrobe essentials using our fully traceable, farm-to-closet supply chain. We spend months perfecting fit, maximizing versatility, testing durability, and ensuring it’s responsibly made. From a product perspective, we are building the Patagonia for EVERYDAY clothing. We are able to do this because we work directly with every hand that touches our product, allowing us to make the best decisions at every stage. Next, we further simplify life by making getting dressed in the morning a breeze with personalized styling inspiration, or recipes, pinged to you based on the Pareto pieces you already own and style preferences. These emails already have open rates of over 90%. Then, we will deliver it in the most convenient way allowing you to never think about shopping again – a Blue Apron for your closet where new Pareto apparel, accessories, footwear show up to your door based on shared preferences and desired frequency, so you can efficiently build your core wardrobe foundation. We are building a first-of-its kind, tech-enabled apparel brand and are already on our way.

The Market: Our TAM is $318B, the total spend in the US on apparel annually (source; Statista). This market is growing at a rate of 2-3% annually. We’re starting with women ($166B), but men ($102B) and kids ($50B) are next. Within this market, we aspire to build the next-generation Gap ($16.7B in annual revenue) or J.Crew ($2.5B in annual revenue). Both of these companies represent the potential of brands that are relevant across product categories, genders, and personal styles. While the brand has proven to have broad appeal across ages and backgrounds, our primary target market at this time is women, living in the “middle” of the country (top states include: Illinois, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado). She wants to look good but doesn’t want to invest her limited time or energy into shopping and getting dressed. She is busy living life as a young professional, mom, etc., balancing many priorities (e.g., family, friends, work, and hobbies).

Competition: Pareto is the first retail brand to bring together exceptional product AND life-simplifying technology to make getting dressed easier. Our competitors fall into two buckets: technology companies and product companies. Our technology competitors (e.g., Stitch Fix, Rent the Runway) are working to simplify getting dressed solely through tools and algorithms that sift through all of the existing product on the market. Our product competitors (e.g., Cuyana, Aday) are tackling the problem through curated, back-to-basics product. Most of these companies are going after distinct customer niches. Pareto wins because we are delivering exceptional product that appeals to many lifestyles while leveraging the power of technology to further simplify the lives of our customers. Without Pareto, our customers are forced to invest time, energy, and money finding core pieces for their wardrobe, often with a low hit rate. Then, every morning, they are left to style these pieces on their own, further consuming time they’d rather be dedicating to something else.

Value Creation: Since launching in August 2020, we’ve built a game-changing farm-to-closet supply chain from scratch, launched 6 incredible products (t-shirt dress, crewneck sweater, tank top, field jacket, sweatpants, romper), established & refined our go-to-market strategy, and built a community of amazing women looking to simplify their wardrobes and lives. A little over one year into the business, we’ve… – Generated ~$87K in revenue with limited inventory, minimal spend on customer acquisition – Raised our first round of outside capital, a $270K pre-seed round at a $4M post-money valuation cap, funded by LongJump, Rough Draft VC, Responsibly Ventures, and several angel investors – Shipped orders to a diverse set of women across 45+ states Cultivated a loyal community, with over 30% of customers making 2+ orders – Achieved high customer satisfaction, with a return rate of <5% and average post-purchase product rating of 9/10 – Built a network of amazing suppliers who are all-in on helping us advance our mission – Received great media coverage, including …Forbes ( ) …Honest Brand Review ( …Harper’s Bazaar ( …Askmen ( We’re committed to building the brand in a way that will drive sustainable, profitable growth, while making a dramatic impact on how the retail industry impacts our planet and people. We are confident in our early indicators of success and are ready to pour gas on the fire and grow.

The Team: Olivia and Jessica are the co-founders and owners of Pareto. We met 9 years ago as students at Washington University in St. Louis. We are so excited to be again applying for this fantastic grant at our alma mater. Our diverse retail experiences across the P&L and deep love for the industry make us uniquely qualified to build a timeless brand of the future. We are total retail nerds. In high school, we worked on the floor as store managers. In college, we worked in-house for brands and retailers like Madewell, Band of Outsiders, and Target. After graduation, we spent a combined 7+ years at McKinsey serving 15+ retail brands across functional topics (e.g., merchandising, digital marketing, pricing). Jessica: – Education: MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business (current student; graduating in June 2023); BSBA at Washington University in St. Louis ‘17 – Retail consulting at McKinsey, with a focus on digital marketing and tech-enabled retail experiences – Planning and Finance at General Mills, J. Crew, and Band of Outsiders – Co-founder and CFO of The Bear-y Sweet Shoppe, a pay-by weight candy store on the WashU campus – Pareto Responsibilities: Product Development and Supply Chain, Finance, Website Olivia: – Education: BSBA at Washington University in St. Louis ‘15 Consumer investing at PearlRock Partners (subsidiary of 84.51 / Kroger) – Retail consulting at McKinsey, with a focus on using data & analytics to improve marketing and merchandising decisions – Merchandising at Target – Pareto Responsibilities: Marketing, Data & Analytics, Customer Service

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