Paul Monks, owner of independent retailer Purple Menswear in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.
The importance of tailoring your product to both consumer and business needs is more important than ever in this tough economic climate. And sometimes if the solution doesn’t exist, you just have to create it yourself.
Last year we responded to the ongoing trend for dressing smarter by opening a second floor dedicated to formalwear, including suits by Hugo Boss and shirts by Eton. The new floor has contributed strong incremental sales since opening, but it also highlighted another trend we hadn’t been aware of - that of personalising or tailoring a purchase.
The demand for customisation has been accelerated by the rapid increase in the number of affordable tailors visiting customers in their offices or homes.
Our early research suggested many menswear stores were failing to successfully implement tailoring solutions due to the complexity and specificity of skills required. As a consequence, we decided to team up with garment designers Garmtec to develop a tailoring solution specifically for our store.
Following trials we launched Garmtec Made To Order last December. This ticks all the boxes from a customer point of view, enabling them to design a suit, jacket, or pair of trousers from scratch. Fitting sessions for jackets and trousers mean they can not only see the cloth made up as a suit but can also try the garment on to ensure the most suitable size is chosen. Minor alterations such as sleeve, jacket and trouser length can be made easily using an online order system. I offer, for example, with three-times mark-up under the Tailored by Purple brand, made-in-Czech Republic two-piece suits ranging from £550 to £1,100 depending on the cloth selected.
From a commercial point of view we worked hard to ensure Garmtec met our demands. Three-week delivery times, no stock requirements (other than the garments used for fittings), no minimums (a frustrating requirement from many brands), and 30-day payment terms from date of delivery are just a few benefits. It has also provided a good opportunity to increase our margins through upselling both cloth quality and style options.