Tailor at your doorstep
Tech-Tailor is a discovery platform for creating custom fitted clothing and tailoring services for customers anytime and anywhere. The portal helps customers personalize their tailoring needs online by helping them with style elements and garment fitting. The best part is that they provide home service for taking the client’s measurements and deliver the personalized garment to your doorstep within 10 days. This apart, they also provide alteration service to correct your existing garments at your door step. Currently, they are serving the customers in Bangalore and have special offers for Defence personnel, Advocates, Corporates, Colleges & Universities, Social Clubs and Group Housing societies. Tech-Tailor is backed by IIMB alumni, NID and industry experts from E-commerce giants like Myntra. Premjeet Singh, Founder-CEO, Tech Tailor tells us more in this exclusive interview.
Please explain the concept of on demand platform for tailoring services?
On demand tailoring is primarily a simulation of off-line tailoring store in an online scenario. Just as you walk into a store, buy fabric and order for tailoring we do just the same but through an online platform. The customer can choose a style from our website and schedule a technician to visit his /her place as per their convenient day /time. So instead of customer commuting to tailor’s place in our model a technician /tailor comes to customer’s place. There is no separate inventory maintained for the fabric. It is purely fabric samples or swatches which customer orders from. Fabric is ordered directly from the mill once the customer places an order. After stitching and finishing is complete, the garment is delivered to the customer. Stitching takes place in small workshops which maintain standard operations and quality processes making the garment quality superior as compared to conventional tailoring. There is a standardization of trims and accessories to ensure that customer gets the best experience of the product.
How have you built your market place?
We are doing a pilot program for market place model in Bangalore currently. We started sourcing from one small factory and standardized certain processes. This helped in setting an internal benchmark for quality within the factory. From the body measurement of the customer we evaluate the ready garment measurement using our algorithms and anthropometric database. This helps in reducing the re-work rate and maximizing success on the first delivery. The same process was replicated to the other five factories and all are now working well. This is a win-win for both customers and tailoring units as customers get faster deliveries with minimal alterations. Tailoring units can save lot of time from re-work and also quickly encash what they produce. We are now mapping the same process to chain of sewing centres across the city of Bangalore. Our learnings and insights about tailoring orders are being simulated into a web /app interface for seamless operations. When fully activated, customers will be able to discover credible tailors and get their work done in a more efficient and convenient eco-system.
Why is it difficult to find good tailors?
Tailoring is a very un-organized market and hence it is not easy to find a good tailor who delivers a good product on time. Lack of discipline, commitment and respect for customer’s time are deficit in most tailors. The ones who are more established are hard to access and always charge humungous prices. So they go overboard patronizing themselves as monopolistic heroes in modern India. Unfortunately tailors have not evolved with changing times. There is no one to challenge them currently or disrupt the entire eco-system. This is the very essence of tech-tailor. We are working towards making the better tailors become more visible to the customers.
What are the differences, especially the pros and cons as far as tailor made vs. Readymade is concerned?
The crux is that one size cannot fit anyone. Ready-made garments are produced with specific sizing in mind which is more generic, so the product may or may not fit you. In tailor made the product is developed from the body measures of an individual so it is quite specific to you. Given a choice most of our customers choose tailored garment in place of readymade and this was validated in a survey we did. However since readymade garments are being produced in large factories there are systems, processes and economies of scale. This yields a better quality product at an economical price. At Tech-Tailor we are working with small factories whose through put times are faster and can deliver competitively priced bespoke products.
How do you use smart technology to deliver high quality and customized garments?
Smart technology is an enabler into our entire process. The series of operations from customer order mechanism till delivery is mapped onto standard operating processes so it is easy to control and trouble shoot if something goes wrong. Our system helps us to maintain reasonable product quality standards. We can use our algorithms more efficiently using the modern technology. Also the measurement data for thousands of customers help us to keep refining our fit. We are working on a smart phone technology for auto measurement through a ‘selfie’. In future you will not need any technician to visit you. Anyone can know your own body measurements at a click of the button. This data gets converted into a QR code and can be used over any e-commerce portal to determine best fit of garments.
How does Tech Tailor work to make life simpler?
We are committed to providing convenience to the customer. That is why we have started as tailoring services at your doorstep. This helps customers to avoid commuting anywhere for tailoring work, avoid parking hassles and saves their precious time. Above all we ensure our customer’s privacy is maintained as we discuss their bespoke styling and choices in the comfort of their home.
What are the challenges you face?
We are looking for good quality developers and some serious tech guys who can take things forward quickly. Currently we have a small team who are doing their level best. But we need to move faster on technology as business is moving much ahead of technology at the moment. Sometimes we forego certain business opportunities as we are not tech ready for the same.
How has the market response been?
When we started last year we were doing short surveys to validate the extent of tailoring demand. There was an immediate trigger from the customers to make for them. This was so surprising and encouraging that we simply started from there and have never looked back. The market has been kind and we are growing rapidly, almost at 80% through customer references.
How has the experience of being incubated at NS Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL), IIM Bangalore been?
Right from our venture starting up to date we have been guided on each and every step from an organization’s registration process to idea validation. Proof of concept, pilot programs, commercial launch, building team, branding and market positioning, contemplating world class disruptive tech –all this is attributed to a well guided mentoring from NSRCEL mentor/s. They’re all highly refined and act as devil’s advocates if the need arises. We are fortunate to be incubated @ NSRCEL in IIMB. Even more, our idea is also backed by some of the faculty members who have great industrial expertise.
What are your future plans?
We want to build this business and grow to other cities like Delhi and Mumbai in the coming year. By the end of 2017 we will be prepared to launch in another 4 cities namely Pune, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai. Within 2017 Tech-Tailor will also become a one-stop platform for tailoring services and supplies including fabric, accessories, sewing machines, training centres and knowledge base for technicians across India.
This story appeared in the Feb-17 issue of Apparel magazine here: Tech Tailor