|Alma mater||Stanford University |
Harvard Business School
|Occupation||Founder and CEO of Stitch Fix|
Katrina Lake (born 1983) is an American businesswoman who is the Founder and CEO of Stitch Fix, a fashion-based subscription service. Stitch Fix was established in 2011 in San Francisco and went public in 2017. Lake, who is the youngest woman ever to take a company public, was the only woman in 2017 to lead an initial public offering in technology. Lake holds a 16.6% stake in Stitch Fix. In November 2017, immediately after the offering, Stitch Fix was valued at $1.6 billion. As of August 2018, the company was valued at approximately $2.8 billion. In 2017, Forbes named Lake one of American's richest self-made women.
Early life and education
Lake was born to a teacher and physician in 1983, and grew up in Minnesota and San Francisco. She initially wanted to become a doctor before she became an entrepreneur. She began on the pre-med course, but became very interested in economics and business. She has described herself as "risk averse". She received her bachelor's degree from Stanford University in 2005. In 2011, she completed her MBA at Harvard Business School.
Lake worked at Polyvore and management consultancy The Parthenon Group. Lake's sister worked as a clothing buyer, and would send outfits to Lake. She describes her fashion sense as "classic with a twist".
Customers of Stitch Fix order "fixes" of five items, selected for them by professional stylists, as a one off or at scheduled intervals, and are subsequently given three days to choose which items they want to keep.
Lake was inspired to create an e-commerce company that "pairs an army of stylists with an arsenal of data to deliver clothing" in 2011. She has combined data science with marketing to grow the business. In 2012, Lake was introduced to Netflix VP of data science and engineering, Eric Colson, who initially dismissed the business model as "whimsical" but within months joined the company as chief algorithms officer. In 2016-17, Stitch Fix had $730 million in sales.
Lake was listed in the 2016 Fortune (magazine) 40 under 40. Lake was the only woman to take an internet company public in 2017. She has commented that she had to be more efficient with her finances as she raised "a fraction of the cash of most venture-backed companies".
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