Saturday, October 6, 2012

The online market for tailors

One of the markets that the internet seems likely to change profoundly is the market for custom clothing. Bloomberg news had a recent report on what looks like it could be a small beginning of a big thing:

"Custom clothing startups J. Hilburn Inc., American Giant andBonobos Inc. are racing to gain share in a U.S. e-commerce market that Forrester Research Inc. estimates will reach $327 billion in 2016, up from $202 billion last year. They’ve won customers and venture backers by cutting stores from the supply chain to ship straight to consumers from the factory, charging lower prices than department stores and eking out higher margins than Amazon.com Inc. , the biggest Web retailer.

“J. Hilburn will sell shirts that are made out of the same fabric mill in Italy that a Zegna would sell at Neiman Marcus for $300,” said Brian O’Malley, a partner at Battery Ventures, an investor in the startup, which has raised a total of about $12 million. “They can sell that same shirt totally custom-made for the customer for less, and do that still with healthy margins because there are a lot less middlemen along the way who need to get paid.”

1 comment:

drram said...

Very pleased to note this. In 1999, I founded FitMe.com, that built a mass-customization platform. The idea is to have a FitMe ID for consumers which offered their body measurements to any business to customize their product or service. Body measurements were input or derived from a 3D body scanner.

One of the solutions was Custom-Tailor Logistics Program. I recruited tailors in Thailand and India to use the software, download the orders from our site with the body measurements, and ship it to consumers in several countries.

Glad to see that vision seems more real now. doctorram@gmail.com