The business wants to create the UK’s largest network of bespoke fitters with a new “Fit Expert Marketplace”. In the next five years, the firm hopes this scalable model will produce 300 freelance Fit Experts offering both choice and convenience for customers. It aims to deliver bespoke tailoring as well as garment expertise locally and accessibly throughout the UK.
The launch will focus on bespoke suits and formal shirts, with plans to expand the offering to include casual wear in the near future, as well as further roll-out internationally.
A Suit That Fits founder David Hathiramani said it would also provide a “great employment opportunity” for those in the industry. “There are very few opportunities like this in the fashion and tailoring world, which means a lot of talent is lost to other, more lucrative industries,” he told Real Business.
The range of talent Hathiramani hopes to recruit include sales professionals with a fashion interest, retail store managers who have hit the earning ceiling, and self-employed individuals including dressmakers, personal stylists and tailors.
The marketplace also makes good business sense for the company, it said. “It turns our selling cost from fixed to variable, so we can engage many more Fit Experts with a very low risk and substantially accelerate our expansion,” Hathiramani said. He also added that the development would produce “mini-businesses” that can scale using its system, but have a true ownership with incentive to grow and to service customers well.
The company was founded in 2006 after co-founder Warren Bennett discovered a number of high quality woollen suits made while in Nepal the year before. He got in touch with former school friend Hathiramani and decided to combine their engineering and software backgrounds to simplify the tailoring process. The project to create a “local tailor for everyone”, now spans 34 studios across the UK, Ireland and America.
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Hathiramani believes the “appetite for bespoke clothing is universal” and that customers would always prefer to have something personally tailored if accessible. He noted that London has a higher proportion of work-wear suits requested from the business, while elsewhere in the UK, people opt for occasion-wear and for weddings more frequently.
The just-launched crowdfunding campaign to raise £500,000 is part of the plan for building the business to reach a £90m valuation in five years’ time. Along with a targeted nine times return, investors can get up to 50 per cent of their investment back in suit and shirt credit, as well as the chance to claim up to 30 per cent of investment back in tax relief via EIS.
Since 2014, Simon Calver (former CEO of Mothercare and Lovefilm) and Gi Fernando (who has previously invested in YPlan and Citymapper) have joined the board and invested in A Suit For All to help refine the Fit Expert scaling opportunity as the business plans to reach a global audience.
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