Nothing fits like made-to-measure clothing. But bespoke often means big bucks.
David Hathiramani helped set up small British firm, A Suit That Fits, and says its clothes also suit all pockets.
“We wanted ourselves to have a tailored suit and we felt it wasn’t accessible at the time, that was back in 2006, to give everyone a suit that fits, fitting their budget, their body and their personality.”
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Customers either fill in their details online or visit their local branch of A Suit That Fits to be measured. They choose the fabric, style and detailing of the jacket and trousers.
Then the suit is tailored in Nepal, before it’s returned to the U.K. for final fittings and any necessary alterations.
And this is where the business is like a social enterprise.
As well as its U.K. staff, A Suit That Fits employs 110 people in Nepal, who are paid 50% more than the local rate.
And the firm donates 5% from the cost of each suit to a local school in Kathmandu.
As Hathiramani says, “We were lucky enough to kit out a science lab last year and this year the plan is to build them a playground outside.”
The firm has now been shortlisted for one of the U.K.’s National Business Awards (NBA), seen as the Oscars of the business world.
Alex Evans is Editorial Director for the NBAs, now in its tenth year. He says it show how the U.K. economy is developing, and this year it’s seeing a higher proportion of smaller businesses being shortlisted.
“I only see the most exceptional businesses, so I only see the ones which are actually growing and funding that growth. I think again with the smaller businesses, they can start more cheaply, they can start with a website in their kitchen, so that growth has come with less initial cost anyway.”
A Suit That Fits says it doesn’t advertise much, relying more on social media and word of mouth.
A two-piece costs between £200 and £700 (or about $325 and $1,150). And despite difficult trading conditions in the U.K., the firm expects to grow by around 60% this year.
And it hopes to grow that fast by expanding its base of 30,000 customers in the U.K. who want to wear a suit made just for them.
Its success alone won’t solve the U.K.’s growth problems but it seems companies like A Suit That Fits could help stitch up a few holes in the country’s economy.
Bottom line: A Suit That Fits is a small British firm, which wants to make bespoke suits accessible to all. Its suits are tailored in Nepal before final fittings take place at the customer’s local store. The firm has been shortlisted for the U.K.’s National Business Awards in the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise category.