People come in all shapes and sizes, not to mention each with their own individual stylistic preferences. When it comes to buying a suit, the process has historically been a personal, hands-on negotiation between suit-wearer and tailor – a costly and time-consuming endeavor.
An online retail startup is proving that you can still get a tailor’s careful attention to detail when buying a stylish custom suit – all with the click of a mouse.
Founded in 2007, Vancouver-based Indochino has sold more than 25,000 suits to men in 60 countries.
Attracting Investment Might
With sales topping $10 mn, Indochino has attracted some big name investors including former Yahoo! president Jeff Mallett and basketball star Steve Nash (Mallett and Nash are friends and have co-invested in other ventures). Mallett was so impressed with Indochino he became its chairman.
Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group led Indochino’s $4 mn Series A financing in 2011.
A Fitting Business Model
Through its website, suit buyers first submit their measurements via a video-guided process.
The Indochino team then makes adjustments to measurements based on cut standards for weight and height.
Finally, a “master tailor” will further refine measurements if necessary.
To ensure a buyer’s stylistic choices are met, the company sends out a “tailor’s kit” that includes 16 sample fabric swatches of the buyer’s choice, so that said buyer can get a feel for fabrics.
If a suit doesn’t meet expectations, Indochino will alter it for free, provide a full refund or provide a full credit for alterations made by your local tailor.
Not Your Grandfather’s Tailor
The company promotes the concept of “mass-customization” – it has set up manufacturing shops in China, has figured out that country’s confusing shipping regulations, and cut out overheads associated with traditional retail – as a key factor in its ability to offer quality suits at prices starting at $300.
In recognition of some people’s reluctance to buy a suit online, Indochino launched a new offline retail pop-up store called Traveling Tailor that has made appearances in Vancouver and Calgary, with future visits planned for Ottawa and, eventually, U.S. cities.
This is a guest post.
Elena Verlee is founder of Cross Border Communications, a technology PR agency based in Vancouver and Silicon Valley working with a range of clients from high-growth startups to billion dollar companies. A passionate publicist with two decades of brand building experience, Elena also blogs at PR in Your Pajamas, an award-winning site that helps entrepreneurs and smaller businesses who can’t afford a publicist to get heard, get known and get talked about so they can change the world. Elena’s blog is named by PRWeb as one of “25 Essential PR Blogs You Should Be Reading” and syndicated by the Visa Business Network to over 100,000 members. Elena has also been named twice in a Forbes list as one of “20 Women for Entrepreneurs to Follow on Twitter.”
Jackie Peterson is a scientist turned business communicator. She is Director of Client Services atCross Border Communications and helps clients translate highly technical ideas into easily understandable media-worthy stories. Jackie has an unparalleled network of media contacts and is passionate about attracting investor interest to deserving but neglected companies. Jackie started her career with Pengrowth Energy Trust’s PR team then moved on to Business Development in their M&A division during which time the Trust completed over $2 billion in acquisitions, doubling their market cap. Having lived in Montreal, Calgary and Victoria, Jackie now calls Vancouver home.