It’s an paradoxical feeling; ordering a suit online. Huge parts of me longs to wallow in the sybaritic pleasures of a tailor’s quarters. Being handed a bourbon in a cut-glass tumbler, having my ego caressed by some coquettish PR girl who longs to get any free column inches for their client, and if that means she has to play ball and remark how good my arse looks in a “32 then so be it. Of course this all sounds rather passe, if not utterly misogynistic to believe that a mans place in the world is defined by the cut of his suit and a woman’s role by that of how subservient she can be to his needs. But these are the adornments to which I’ve been accustomed in my profession as a Menswear journalist. As Kevin Bacon recites in A Few Good Men, ‘these are the facts, and they cannot be disputed.’ This suit is currently for sale in our eBay shop.
However, I’m also a fan of time-effeciency. I don’t like coffee meetings, ‘pick your brain’ calls or walking my Brother’s dog in the morning because he’s too hungover to surface. (Joking Matt, it’s a delight). Ordering a suit online is a first for me and was completely contrarian to what I had recently experienced ordering my suits with the Hoi An Tailors in Vietnam where I had basted, forward and final fittings.
The experience I’m referring to came courtesy of Tailor Store, an online suit tailoring company. The experience was a minimal calorie burn, the platform: very user-friendly. The girlfriend ran a tape around the necessaries as instructed, using the step-by-step infographics on the site. I opted for a plain wool, light weave fabric in Nantes Blue. Dual button blazer, notched medium width lapels, single vent and paisley contrast lining. Note further down you can see the red trim on the inside waist. The blazer has dual jetted pockets and a single breast pocket which you can fold the lining out for a pocket square. It’s light, for a woollen suit, the trouser and jacket sleeves are an inch too long, but the company policy is very sound, offering a new product or a free alterations policy. I compared this with other online suit tailors and found the majority offer only a discount rate at the tailors for alterations.
The suit was turned around in 6 weeks and I was sent emails every other week on it’s process, which included pictures attachments of the design process. I managed to get an interview with CEO of TailorStore Jan Höjman.
Where do you source your fabrics?
We source our fabrics for suits from Raymonds in India.
And where are the suits manufactured?
We manufacture in our owned and operated facilities in Sri Lanka where we have two factories with approx 500 employees. We also manufacture shirts, chinos, polo pique shirts, coats and jackets in our factories.
What was the toughest challenges setting up the website?We decided from day one to develop the entire site and back-office ourselves. This way we have full control of functions, lay-out, cost and overall development of the site and supporting systems. Keeping it updated, fresh, adapted to the latest trends and technical requirements is an ongoing challenge, but also a lot of fun and motivating for our team.
What is your return policy on tailor made suits?
We offer 100% perfect fit guarantee or in other words – if the first garment does not fit we help the customer with adjustments or we make a new garment free of charge.
I’m imagining they can’t be sold on if they’ve been tailor made for someone else, how much does this impact business and how many returns do you normally get on average?
We take no returns at all, but solve the few issues we have with fit problems as described above. We want the customer to be perfectly happy with the fit and our customer care department is there to assist and help with adjustments whenever needed. No returns also mean less environmental damage due to less transportation af garments.
What other technologies did you consider when setting up the website?
Our site has evolved since the launch back in 2004. The configurator where you select fabrics, fit, trims, style of cuff and collar etc is much more sophisticated today compared with the initial version. It is crucial to show the product in a realistic way when it comes to colour, fabric and fit and we spend lots of time trying to further improve this using the latest technology.
Is there any other way people can measure themselves for a suit? Webcam, 3D printing, etcUsing the tape measure is a very good and simple way of creating your personal measurement profile. In addition to this we are now developing a new measurement process where you can use your smart phone instead of the tape measure. Planning to launch this later this year.
How long has the business been going and where is your main demographic?
We started back in 2004 in Sweden. Today we have customers all over the globe and we export approx 75% of our volume. Main markets, in addition to Sweden, are Switzerland, Germany, UK, USA and France.
Did you ever consider having a catalogue of sample fabrics to send to the customer so they can see the fabrics before buying? Or would that be too much of an expenditure?
This possibility is in fact already there. On the site you can select the fabrics that you are interested in and order a little booklet with swatches that will be sent to you at a small cost.
What other sites do you see as your main competitors?
MTailor in the US, Tailor4less in Europe are two competitors that we monitor and follow.