Ali Khan’s choice of clothing always drew admiring looks, so he set up a website selling his favourite brands.
Just because someone likes shopping for clothes, it does not necessarily follow that it is a good idea for them to set up a clothes shop. But even the most committed shopper would be hard-pressed to match Ali Khan’s enthusiasm, and neither would they have his bulging contacts book.
Commercial property agent Khan’s shopping habit had an international reputation (his work took him around the globe) and his natty personal style meant he was often stopped in the street.
“People would stop me and say ‘where’s that shirt from? Where are those trousers from? Where can I get them?’” he recalls. The trouble is, there was no one place that the man on the street could pick up the globetrotter’s style, as he had a penchant for mix-ing fairly niche European designers, such as Sonia Rykiel and Paul & Joe, with old-school Brit touches including Holland Esquire jackets and Anthony Peto flat caps.
Hence the idea for Men ࠌa Mode was born – a premium branded etailer dedicated to stylish men that puts Khan and fellow director Murat Ozkok-Ohr’s pick of the niche designer branded market onto one site.
Khan had also recognised that while there were several options for women buying premium brands online, there was little choice for men. His hunch proved correct. On launching a holding site outlining his plans he received 3,000 registrations of interest. “Lots of them were from the industry wondering what we were doing – people were curious,” he says.
The site was launched last spring. Getting brands on board wasn’t an issue due to Khan’s credentials as an important customer. “The first people I spoke to were Paul & Joe, Vivienne Westwood and Nicole Farhi, and they were very receptive,” he says.
The offer has grown in the 14 months since the site was launched and now includes 28 brands, including recent additions Joseph, Missoni, Pringle and Sand. J Lindeberg and Kenzo are on the way for autumn. The product mix takes in tailoring, casualwear, denim, accessories and underwear.
Beyond brand profiles the site has little in the way of editorial content, as Khan believes men just want to get straight to the product. “Our customers want a simple thing: they want to see the product, to know the price and to put it in the basket,” he says.
Product can be searched by category, designer or quick search function, and product landing pages feature three or four views styled on mannequins or models.
Same day delivery is offered in London – the site’s HQ is on the outskirts of the capital in Richmond upon Thames, Surrey – while other orders are despatched via TNT with next day delivery optional. Returns are free. The site attracts between 1,500 to 2,500 hits on weekdays, and between 50 and 60 orders are processed on an average day. But with regular appearances in the style and national press, that figure looks set to grow.
Men ࠌa Mode www.menalamode.com
28: Number of brands on the Men ࠌa Mode website
50 to 60: Number of orders processed on an average day
14: Number of months since the site was launched