InStitchu was launched last year with the underlying two premises. One, like so many other things, men’s fashion can have a future online; and two, like most things, the making of men’s suits and shirts can be outsourced to China.
Now, the Sydney startup is ready to take its smarts to overseas markets, armed with a funding round from Aura Capital Group.
The bespoke tailor didn’t say how much it raised but said the minority stake valued InStitchu at a modest $2.5 million. The funding came from Disruptive Capital, the technology focussed arm of Aura Capital Group.
Robin McGowan, who co-founded the firm with schoolmate and former investment banker James Wakefield, is eyeing expansion across verticals and also into international markets.
Buzz and funding make 2103 a breakout year
“We have experienced strong organic growth, with word of mouth buzz making 2013 a breakout year for InStitchu,” said McGowan.
“We chose to partner with Disruptive Capital due to the immense experience they have scaling online businesses… While the bootstrapped phase of the business has been exciting, we’re now looking forward to having the capital and expertise to grow our local team, continue to innovate, make strategic acquisitions, and expand internationally,” he added.
“Domestically InStitchu is the clear market leader with unique intellectual property powering its products, customer satisfaction and engagement,” said Calvin Ng, a director at Disruptive Capital. “We see a huge market opportunity and look forward to working with the founders to take InStitchu to the next level.”
Go East is an old tailoring mantra
Asia’s reputation in tailoring top-quality men’s suits is hardly new. Bangkok, in particular, is storied, as tourists would know.
Besides, Rajawongse Clothier, for example, run by immigrant Indians, has stitched suits for American dignitaries for the past several decades. The first Bush, George H.W. Bush, and successive presidents including his son, George W. Bush, and more recently for Sen. John Kerry, have been patrons of the famous “hole-in-the-wall” shop.
McGowan and Wakefield, initially, worked with a tailor in Bangkok but found a lack of “consistency.” So, they turned to Shanghai.
InStitchu says Australians have used online tools on its website to design over 50,000 suits that were then tailored in Shanghai and delivered in about three weeks. The suits cost between $299 and $599. Men can also design made-to-measure shirts and accessories.
The bespoke tailor says it targets men who hate going to stores. Having said that, InStitchu recognises the challenges of measuring, designing and ordering online. Consequently, it has run offline campaigns in Sydney, notably, to win over customers.