See Rose Go founders, Erin Cavanaugh and Yi Zhou, have over 40 years combined global fashion industry experience including premium brands, Nordstrom, Nike, Converse and American Eagle. Our experience is rooted in customer service, quality product creation and an innovative design process.
Erin most recently led global omni-channel apparel product marketing and insight strategies under Nike, Inc.
Yi’s leadership experience spans creative roles with Nike, American Eagle and Converse as Global Design Director.
The Fashion Retailer (TFR): What is See Rose Go? What is the meaning or story behind the name?
See Rose Go Founders, Erin and Yi (SRG): See Rose Go is a plus size fashion brand committed to creating thoughtfully designed clothing with quality and innovation.
Everything we stand for and create as a brand goes back to our customer and the community we continue to grow. Listening to women describe themselves – their lives, their wins and their struggles – we continue to be moved and inspired by each woman’s tenacity and drive. See Rose Go developed as a rally cry to cheer for her.
Rose came from our desire to identify with a modern and timeless sensibility. She is both modern and classic, feminine and strong. Rose is someone you are friends with, she is the creative dreamer and determined doer within us all. See Rose Go!
TFR: What is the entrepreneurial story that inspired the launch of the brand?
SRG: It all started during a casual afternoon conversation with a friend about fashion. Our friend, who wears a plus size, stated: “You have no idea what it’s like to shop for my body.” We work in fashion, we are around clothing all day. We had just assumed everyone had the same options when shopping. That was an emotional turning point in the conversation and we talked more about her experiences getting dressed in the morning and how poor wardrobe options could affect her emotionally, making her late or setting off negative vibes for the rest of the day.
This conversation effected both of us deeply. We stepped back and asked ourselves why there was not more well-made, timeless clothing for modern women who happen to wear a plus size? We started reaching out to more and more women wearing plus size clothing to talk about their experiences and needs, what was missing, what they wanted. The responses were both alarming and enlightening.
Overall, the needs were consistent: better quality and construction, a considered fit, and cool, versatile style. It was then we realized that we could draw on our unique experience in activewear and fashion to meet those needs.
We keep these insights at the very center of everything we do. At See Rose Go, we want to see all women feeling beautiful and fearless in their lives.
TFR: What is your value proposition and target customer? (e.g. sustainability and quality in large sizes, clothes for special occasions, different fit options within the plus-size segment).
SRG: We are creating the BEST go-to items for women wearing a plus size. See Rose Go is the destination for the best tee shirt, the best pant, the best white shirt… During our creative process, each garment is made with considered design and attention to detail from the seam choice to the fit shape. Our background working in the activewear industry allows us to approach fashion from a functional point of view, which ultimately provides premium style and comfort.
TFR: In terms of business model and product lifecycle, how many collections do you release every year? Do you plan to do capsules or customization?
SRG: We currently have 10 key items as a purposeful selection to launch the brand as essentials. Each style is meant to work both within an individual’s style and as a capsule with each other. We are now hearing and reacting to our customer feedback and will eventually drop new styles as items by material, not collections.
TFR: How does your experience in Design and Merchandising helped you to start the business?
SRG: We have each been leading teams in the fashion industry for 20 years, this experience and network has helped greatly. We understand the importance of consumer centric product and brand building. But it’s our experience of working together as a successful team which has helped the most. Prior to launching See Rose Go, we worked as merchant and designer together for 9 years and fostered a true sense of collaboration. We enjoy working together, we respect each other’s talent, and we welcome being challenged by the other! In the end, we know being challenged ultimately makes us better.
TFR: Compared to some leading retailers offering plus-size clothing, you probably don´t have historical sales to build or optimize your assortment (colors, sizes, fit, prints, amongst other attributes). Also, leading retailers are using machine learning to optimize their forecasting, product ranges and store clustering.
How do you compete to this new scientifically way of understanding “fashion”? How do you approach the customer without analytics?
SRG: We like being a little of the anti. See Rose Go is an e-comm business, but at the same time it is very much a tactile experience (i.e. how does our clothing make you feel?). We do not have AI for forecasting, however we are not at that point. Right now it is about getting to know our customer personally, creating that connection, curating the experience beyond the screen. In a way, it’s back to the product. It is a craft to create quality, and this radiates through our brand.
TFR: Do you feel fashion is becoming more science than art?
SRG: For some brands, it definitely is. With larger markets, bigger brands are driven to use science to make an informed, safe decision. The downside is there is little room to be proactive or take initiative when recognizing a new opportunity. Customers also not landing in the scalable business data miss out and then leave the brand.
TFR: How do you solve the sizing issue when purchasing online when size is such a sensitive shopping factor for your customers? You recently launched the “buy now pay later”. Could you explain in more details the program and how do you feel you are going to reduce the cost of reverse logistics?
SRG: Sizing is difficult due to inconsistency between brands. See Rose Go sizing is based on a few factors: a compilation study of the plus size industry, the aesthetic we want to provide and allowing for our customer’s own style. Our top sizing is 1, 2, 3. This allows a woman to fluctuate within her own size or buy up or down based on her preference of fit. All of our bottoms are sized 14-24 for a more precise fit.
We see a strength in a “try now pay later” option because of our low return rate and confidence in our quality. Our 25-35 years old customer base prefers having alternative payment methods, adding that option combined to conveniences for her while shopping. She can now experience See Rose Go quality at home and pay later, or return it. See Rose Go is gaining sales or feedback on product; with either outcome we are growing and improving the brand.
TFR: As a “start-up”, what do you feel are the key success factors that brings you to compete with legacy retailers?
SRG: There are several benefits to being a start-up. As a smaller team we are effective and efficient. This helps us to act faster on initiatives. Another major factor is the use of capital. All of our spending must have a ROI. While our actions are faster, they require us to be more accountable to ourselves and our company. On top of these two factors we choose to collaborate with people who demonstrate an enthusiasm for our mission which feeds into everyone’s passion and drive!
Lastly to add, our newest product launch is coming May 1st, we excited to bring back our sold out Tunic Shirt in 2 new color options! We are offering 10% off when customers pre-order the new Tunic starting 4/29. The code is GET10 for 10% off the pre-order. The Tunic Shirt is a beloved best seller we are excited to bring back in more colors and an extended size range.
Tunic Shirt in the Timeless Stripe, crafted in reclaimed material