A curious venture in its own stride, Urban Tailor has proven to be an idea worth going an extra mile for. Changing the deeply set, century old tailoring methods, Urban Tailor is the next name in the sphere of tailored and custom fit garments.
IndiaSpark interviewed the team to learn more about their venture.
1. Tell us in brief about your team and the inception of Urban Tailor.
Urban Tailor was cofounded by three of us – Ashish, Lavanya, and Vasudevan. It’s a team effort that took Urban Tailor from nowhere to probably the largest professional tailoring service in this country within 12 months.
2. What is Urban Tailor all about? Tell us in detail about the services offered?
Urban Tailor makes tailoring & alteration simple and convenient. The innovative process built on a robust technology platform, Urban Tailor solves the unpredictable quality of stitching & delivery by the local tailors in the market today.
Through its flagship tailoring service for women, for blouse, salwar suit, kurta, etc., Urban Tailor provides assured on-time delivery of perfectly fitting stitched garments, conveniently at the doorstep. In March, 2016 Urban Tailor also launched another innovative service – at-home alteration service – by sending professional tailors to customers’ homes with a portable sewing kit. This service is for both men and women for jeans, trousers, kurta, etc.
Urban Tailor is currently operational only in Bangalore.
3. What are the growth opportunities in this area?
The estimated market for tailoring & alteration in India is $9.2 billion, growing at 7.6% annually. Over 95% of this market is unorganised. As the on-demand professional services space is growing rapidly in India, tailoring is one segment which is completely untapped and ready for disruption. Urban Tailor has already taken the leadership position by serving over 20,000 customers in the last 12 months.
4. What is your competition in the market? What is it that sets you apart from your competition?
There are two competing segments – local tailoring shops and me too services launched after Urban Tailor became popular. We see the former segment prefer to partner than compete with us. All our existing partners were running tailoring shop, but now after partnering with us, they are enjoying steady flow of orders from us with predictable monthly income. What sets us different from the latter segment is the product platform we’ve built which is highly scalable – faster on-boarding of partners, system driven quality checks, dynamic order management system for on-time delivery, etc. Unlike our clones who run a tailoring shop and take customer orders online, we provide a professionally managed service designed to deliver the best customer experience.
5. What is the business model of Urban Tailor? Can you briefly summarise the growth achieved in both volume and value from the day1 till now?
Urban Tailor provides on-demand tailoring & alteration services. Consumers visit the website and place the order. While placing a tailoring order, they design the garment & schedule for a pick-up. Subsequent to picking up the fabric, the orders are distributed to the tailoring partners and delivered to the customers in 10 days. Urban Tailor has built a curated panel of tailoring partners which would probably be the largest in this country today. For the at-home alteration service, Urban Tailor uses its own fleet of tailors.
Customers pay by cash after their orders have been successfully executed & delivered.
Growing at 40% month-on-month, Urban Tailor has served over 20,000 customers in the last 12 months.
6. How has been your beginner’s journey? What were the challenges you faced in setting up and scaling up your enterprise? Any hurdle that you faced or are still facing?
In early 2015, we were trying to create a service which was unheard of – tailoring service at doorstep. Consumers had many questions in mind – how to provide measurement, how to explain the design needed, etc. To deliver a great experience, we had to innovate in everything – starting from building a platform for customers to design & place their orders online to a dynamic order management system to meet quality standards and delivery commitments. Thankfully, the early adopters were very curious to try us and few months later, we started growing very fast organically. We didn’t look back since then.
7. Can you tell us about your other founders/core team, their background and rich experience?
Urban Tailor is co-founded by an experienced marketing professional Vasudevan, a technology professional who has built large eCommerce platforms Ashish Singhal, and a fashion graduate from London College of Fashion Lavanya.
Before co-founding Urban Tailor, Vasudevan was the head of Products & Marketing at Simplilearn and prior to that he was with Myntra. Ashish is an NSIT graduate, worked at Microsoft & Amazon in the past. He has also won over 10 hackathons in the last 2 years, including the prestigious Sequoia Hack – 2015. Lavanya worked at Myntra for over 4.5 years after completing her PG on Design Management.
Urban Tailor Team
8. How are you all funded? Any early stage money/seed stage experience that you would like to share with us?
We’ve raised multiple rounds of investment from few angel investors and a VC.
It’s not about the amount you’ve raised, what matters is from whom have you raised it. The right investors usually create growth opportunities for the organisation which is more valuable than the money they’ve invested. Discovering the right set of investors was the key for our faster growth.
9. Any other areas or initiatives that you plan to venture in future?
We started with solving the challenges faced by women for getting their everyday wear stitched with best fit. Later, we launched at-home alteration service for those who want to wear their ill-fitted old garments as there isn’t a convenient way today to get those altered back to perfect-fit. Lot more challenges do exist in the tailoring space and we’ll look towards solving those at appropriate time.
10. What will Urban Tailor look like in 10 years from now? All perspectives – people, business, revenues, team, size or anything you foresee for the venture.
Urban Tailor would be the largest online destination for uniquely designed and made-to-measure fashionable outfits for every individual’s need.
11. Any school/ campus-connect initiatives that you are pursuing or plan to pursue?
Currently, we are not planning anything. We will look at it at an appropriate time.
12. Any experience or advice you would like to share with soon to be startup founders out there?
Three things that matter the most while building a startup to success – a market having high demand with very little alternatives, a right team with complementary skill sets, and the ability to execute fast. A startup rarely fails if all these three are in place.
With a great customer response and good expansion rate, our readers can expect to have Urban Tailor services soon in their cities. We hope that day comes early and wish the team all the best.