In some cases a business would not exist were it not for the technology. For example Facebook, without computers it would not exist. Other businesses such as grocery stores can exist without technology but can also use technology in many ways from inventory to online purchasing and delivery. In this case technology has been brought to the world of find tailored suits.
Indochino is Disrupting the Tailored Suit Market
While others have been attempting to disrupt the tailored suit market, in my opinion it was not until Indochino arrived that it has been done right. More below on the suit experience.
Business Model : How Indochino will Survive and Thrive
The Indochino experience has many facets. However from a business perspective they are doing two major things that allow their business model to make sense, survive and thrive.
First, the highest cost component of the made to measure suit business is that of skilled labor required to create a suit. How do they deal with this issue? They outsource the making of the suit itself to other countries with workers that possess the necessary skill. While fabrics can be sourced just the same as a local tailor would have. The local labor is limited to suit alterations if necessary as well as their store personnel.
Secondly, not everyone needs to visit a store so their physical retail space requirements are limited. A customer can measure themselves, or have a friend help, then place their order online and never visit a physical store. Alternatively a customer can visit a store and be professionally measured, then all future purchases can be made online since the measurements are saved. Visiting a store will only be necessary for alterations or if the customer desires to see and feel the fabric in person.
By outsourcing their highest cost component to keep the labor costs as low as possible as well limiting their retail footprint, Indochino is passing along the savings to the customer and has perfected the custom tailored suit experience better than anyone to date.
My Past Suiting Experience : Not So Great
For reference here is how I have had tailored suits made in the past, let’s call it pre-Indochino. I desired custom suits to fit properly but I did not want to pay the typical price for a custom suit which was often in the thousands of dollars. I have had clothes made for years. Initially I found a handful of online companies based outside of the United States, that would make suits for me. I had to have myself measured and send them the measurements. Over time I settled on one company but even then there were issues that I had to take to a local tailor to fix. I always felt awkward and they reluctantly fixed what others had initially made. That was not the most ideal experience but I was able to save a bundle.
Next, the company I worked with decided to visit the United States. They travel to highly populated areas that seem to have a need for custom suits. You would make an appointment, visit them and be measured as well as choose the clothes and fabric. This was a slightly better solution as you could see small swatches of fabric and be measured by a tailor. However the downsides were meeting a tailor in a hotel room, small pieces of fabric, future ordering taking place via email, and never really knowing if they were saving my measurements properly. Also, and this is the big one for me, having to visit a different tailor for alterations.
The Indochino Experience : Perfect !
You had to suffer through my past suiting experience to understand why the Indochino experience works so well. So let’s dive in. I visited the Washington DC “showroom” as they call it. I always find it funny that people call things “Washington DC” when they are in Virginia. Such as Washington Dulles airport (which is in Virginia) and the DC Regan airport (which is in Virginia), but I digress. The Washington DC Indochino showroom is in Tysons Corner Galleria mall in Virginia. An amazing mall, nestled among the worlds top brands. I decided to visit the show room to better understand the experience, what they had to offer, and to be professionally measured.
You can simply stroll in anytime as you would any other retail store. However they conveniently offer you the ability to make an appointment online. I did the latter. I was able to make an appointment, show up, meet with the consultant and I wasted no time. Saving time is huge to me, I loved the initial experience of how they used technology, their website and scheduling system to save me time. One point for Indochino.
Next you can see from the picture above, which is a picture from the showroom I was in, that they have fabric samples. They look like ties but are actually large pieces of fabric that you can touch, feel and view the color of. The color, weight and thread count are all noted on each piece of fabric. When dealing with a suit you first choose the fabric.
One of two things happen next, in my case we designed the suit first. There are many options, all of these options are available on the website when you choose a suit, however we did it in store. From the suit lining, to the stitching, the lapel type, monograms, working buttons, number of buttons, pockets, pocket types and more. It seems daunting but just like the website walks you through each choice, so does the assistant at the store. They had a tablet in their hand and noted all your choices in real time, it was very efficient. I also felt assured that they were going to get all of my preferences correct as they were saving them with my order. They are also able to show you each option on a demo suit on the floor as well.
Now that I chose the fabric, the suit type and my preferences it was on to step two. There are multiple private changing rooms. The assistant measures you, taking multiple measurements and putting them into your profile via the tablet in real time. Next they have multiple pants, jackets and vests in various sizes. They then choose the example pieces that match your measurements the closest and let you try it on. Between the measurements and sizing of their example clothes they are able to take the best possible measurements.
Next they can check you out and take payment right on the tablet. You then get an email, if you are a first time customer, with your Indochino.com account. Now your account has all your measurements. Best of all the suit is sent directly to your home address. Now once I receive it I only need to go to the showroom if I need alterations. If there are alterations they will then update my profile. No charge for the first round of alterations. I also purchased ties and some custom shirts. Pants and vests are also available.
Once I receive the suit and shirts and go through potential alterations my measurements will be perfect. Now I can simply go online from here on out and order everything I need without visiting the showroom. If alterations are needed have that option as well.
Great Job Indochino – Prices are Perfect !
Did I mention the pricing? Their prices are significantly cheaper than the typical made to measure suit. Most importantly I am able to save a ton of time, order online, get perfect fitting clothes, visit the showroom if I want to view new fabrics and/or obtain tailoring and update my measurements. Did I mention the prices are amazing, how good? See for yourself at Indochino.