By Clark Turner, Editor, UTalkMarketing.
To get a head in business, get a suit. Looking the part is critical for any professional but with no end of options on the high street having a unique proposition as well as being able to offer value for money is critical for any retailer.
Bespoke suits used to be only accessible to the wealthy but A Suit That Fits has changed all that. The company makes individually hand–tailored suits at off-the-peg prices offering 40 billion different style combinations from cut, to colour, to lapels with prices starting from £200.
The service is available online at asuitthatfits.com and in person at six permanent studios, 19 pop-up Tailor Shops and via corporate visits to places of work.
The company has also won a raft of awards including the Fast Growth Business Awards 2010, Smart 100 Company 2010 and the Dell Small Business Excellence Awards – UK and Global Winner 2009.
“Buying a suit is a considerable investment for anyone. You’re definitely looking at spending upwards of £100 so there’s a real need to nurture the trust of customers,” one of the company’s co founder’s, Warren Bennett, explained.
“We’re still a challenger brand so building that trust is critical. We’re really about expanding the market sector. Bespoke suiting is still niche compared to the high street so we’re about educating consumers that it’s a better choice, as well as being affordable.”
He added, “We’ve more than doubled in size since the recession hit in November 2008. It should in theory be harder to do business but people are increasingly looking more for value and are now seeing that a bespoke suit can actually cost as much as off-the-peg.”
Bennett has always looked closely at the marketing spend of the company with an ‘every penny counts’ attitude and focus on ROI. But the product is one that seems to sell itself in some ways with word of mouth and recommendation playing a big role.
Still, with a product being around 200 years old, how does A Suit That Fits keep the offering fresh?
“We try to build the innovation and technology that underpins our website into our suits. It’s about bringing Saville Row to the high street with a bit of theatre” Bennett explained.
“A lot of ideas come from customers asking for particular things. We love it as it works as a method of sampling and gives a suit real standout.”
Partnerships have included working with Smirnoff on its ‘Night of the Modern Gentleman’ project with involves events advising menfolk on what to drink, how to look effortlessly stylish and how to perfect their grooming routine.
The company has also partnered with the online restaurant bookings and reviews site, TopTable.
Bennett admits the company has been lucky with most partnerships being established through customers.
The company ranks well globally in natural search because of its specialist nature delivering “huge and relevant” traffic. But it also invests in PPC.
“Working in digital is great because it allows us to test new ideas,” Bennett added. “Our website is important in generating sales, so we probably spend equally on the site as well as PPC.
“SEO is not a huge area of focus. We rank well because of our relevancy and keeping the site active with staff contributing to a blog helping consumers to learn about suiting.”
With initial purchases being made in store and subsequent purchases being made online, the company has yet to shift to a purely online model. But this is something the company is looking at.
Traffic is encouraged through email marketing in a bid to build a relationship and dialogue with consumers.
“The over riding consideration is to create emails which are useful, so customers are ready, waiting and expecting them,” he explained.
“For us, it’s more about the relationship, rather then us simply pushing out messages. It allows for a dialogue and interactivity. There’s no science behind it for us, apart from being fun.”
At the end of the day the product sells itself with regular repeat custom. One customer alone has bought 26 suits.
“Once you own a bespoke suit it’s very difficult to go back to a off-the-peg suit. They never quite fit the same. Our aim is to make repeat purchases as easy as possible,” added Bennett.
“By building up a dialogue, it means we are automatically top of mind.”
Incorporating ethical values and respect for people, communities and the environment has been a core principle for the company from the outset.
A Suit That Fits suits are tailored and made in family-run workshops in Kathmandu, Nepal. All the tailors employed from cutters to stitchers, command salaries that are 50% above the national average and receive work-related bonuses.
Regular donations are also made to the local Hindu Vidyapeeth (HVP) school where Bennett was volunteering when he met our first family of tailors.
Back in the UK, sample suits are given to the London-based homeless charities Broadway and Crisis in order that those they help have a suit to wear to interviews.
“We really believe it’s important to act responsibly, to both people and the environment,” Bennett concluded.
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