Creating custom profile of customers on site
Creating custom profile of customers on site
Made-to-measure concept is steadily gaining momentum in India with rising number of premium men and women wear brands claiming to offer perfect fit for varied consumer physique. Thus to know more about the concept adopted by Mumbai-based online menswear brand Vitruvien, correspondent Sunil Pol had an email conversation with the brands Co-founder Rajesh Goradia.  
Q Please tell us about Vitruvien?
Inspired by the 15th Century painting by Leonardo Da Vinci - The Vitruvian Man - acclaimed to be the perfect male specimen of humanity with perfect body proportions, our mandate at Vitruvien is to blend art, fit and design to create that perfect shirt. We achieve this by focusing on quality, customisation and fit. 
Our focus on quality extends from the fabric to the making of the shirt. Almost our entire collection is made of Egyptian Giza cotton fabrics, renowned to be the best in the world. In making the shirt, we take utmost care to ensure that it is perfect in all respects - from using Japanese interlinings to ensuring that the stitch per inch never crosses 16. We have also perfected our craft to ensure that button spacing is no more than 3¼ inches ensuring that the placket does not open up when one sits down. We have a two-step checking process to ensure that every shirt is produced as per our standards.
Our unique shirt visualiser enables the customers to customise their collar, cuff, placket and the rest of the parts the way they desire and visualise it prior to purchase. Customers can also monogram the shirt with their initials. 
To ensure that we can deliver on our fit promise, we provide our customers four options to order a shirt. The customer can choose a standard size option, share the measurements of their best fitting shirt, share their body measurements or simply send their best fitting shirt to us and have us do the work. We have detailed measurement videos to explain our measurement methodology to our customers.
Once a customer provides his measurements, we impute and store 22 shirt measurements in the backend. This ensures that every time a customer shops from our site, they will get a consistent fit.
Additionally, we at Vitruvien understand that some customers may not get it right the first time, hence we offer our Fit Guarantee. If the first shirt ordered by the customer does not fit, we alter/replace the shirt free of charge, regardless of whose error it was. We also provide assistance to the customer in creating a custom profile on our site so that his next purchase is absolutely hassle-free.
Q How successful is the idea of made-to-measure through online in India?
In India, popularising bespoke online has been a challenging journey, partly because customers are currently price conscious and partly because of our concept of self-measurements. 
While there are several customers who opt for self-measurements while purchasing from us, there are many who do not since they are not confident about accuracy of self-measurements. This is perhaps because the "do it yourself" culture is not so popular in India. But with the younger generation, we do expect this to gradually change. 
Additionally, the majority of online customers in India are price conscious. We are a bespoke shirt brand that focuses on quality. While we offer value, we are not a low price brand. Unlike other online brands, we have a policy not to discount our brand often. This makes it a challenging journey, but we are here for the long term.
Q Initially what are those challenges you faced with made to measure?
Sizing was one of the key challenges. But over time, with improvements in our systems and processes and our understanding of measurements, we have improved upon it. Based on our research, we recently launched our Body Measurement wizard. With just three inputs - Chest, Stomach and Hip and a few questions, we guess the balance measurements of the customer through our proprietary algorithm.
Q With the idea increasingly gaining momentum in the market, what are the new features you are offering to captivate the consumers?
We have increased our customisation options and intend to do so in the future as well. When we launched our personalised monogramming feature it was well received. We also intend to increase our collection of fabrics. Earlier we used to have about 80 fabrics on the site. We have increased them to over 130 fabrics and intend to increase further.
Q What about the idea of launching made to measure for women?
We are interested in the opportunity, but as of now, we are focused on men's shirts only.
Q What is your future investment plan for online and offline retail expansion?
In the near term, we are launching internationally. Initially, we would be catering to countries like Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and UAE. Later on, we would target countries in Europe and North America. We have already seen response from International customers (NRIs) going out of their way to purchase from us when they land in India; hence we are quite excited about this avenue of growth for our company. We are currently focused on the online model only.
Q Are you planning to launch your own EBO with made to measure service offered? If yes, will these be company owned or franchised stores?
We do not have any immediate plans to do so.
Q Are you planning to tie-up with online market place?
No online market place can do justice to our brand. Our core concept of customisation cannot be achieved though a marketplace as of now.
Q How is competition that you are facing from readymade garments offered by leading apparel and designer brands those that claim to offer perfect fit for all men?
It is impossible for a readymade and designer brand that manufactures in limited sizes to offer perfect fit for all men. In our standard size measurement option, we have 9 standard sizes each with two fits - Regular & Slim, adding up to 18 fits. Yet, this is not enough. Across the world, men body shapes vary significantly. In our opinion, a brand would have to offer 13 sizes from Size 36 to Size 48 and four fits - Regular, Slim, Super Slim & Paunch - creating over 50 SKUs to make good on that statement. Even then, some customers may have an issue with sleeve length. Perfection is simply not possible in off-the rack - customers have to settle.
Q What is your target consumer group?
We target working professionals and entrepreneurs living in metros and Tier 1 and 2 cities in the age group of 25-50 years who have an evolved taste and like to experiment. 
Majority of our repeat customers are men who do not find their right size. They generally do not fit into the average 39, 40 or even 42 size shirts, because they are either too tall or too short and want tweaks here and there to make the shirt a perfect fit for them. 
Q What's the price range?
Our shirts range from Rs. 1,499 to Rs. 2,999
Q What is your annual sale and CAGR?
We have been in operation for slightly over a year now. Our annual month on month growth rate is about 150% because we started off our business a little slow. In the first 3-5 months of our business, we were still grasping the dynamics of online marketing. We managed approximately 1 crore in revenue in our first year of operation and hope we grow by 70% to 100% this year.
Q Since your inception in 2013 what are the changes you have been witnessing in the men's wear market?
Men's wear is getting more fashion oriented. Earlier, before the advent of international brands such as Zara, menswear used to be staid and uninteresting. With the introduction of different collar styles, trims and patterns, men's wear has become more fashion forward.
Stay on top – Get the daily news from Indian Retailer in your inbox
Also Worth Reading