Proper Cloth Tackles Custom Shirt Design Online for the Novice to the Expert
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a wide array of shirt collections men can choose from, or the ability to custom design personal shirts from the ground up. Consumers select fabric, collar and cuff shape and style, accents, buttons, monograms, pockets, and more through the company’s online interface.
As far as the fit goes, customers can pick the collar size, sleeve length, and type of fit (classic, slim, or super slim). For those who are a bit more clueless on this front, Proper Cloth offers a survey asking customers questions about things like their current shirt sizes, “belly situation” (six-pack abs or pot belly, for example), height, and weight, to generate the right size for them. “Some guys have a lot of experience and others have a lot of specific desires,” Skerritt says. “Others have no clue. We try to not overwhelm the novice customer but still satisfy the expert.”
Shirts range from $89 to $200+, with the average shirt costing around $130, he says. The company has hit profitability, and some weeks has sold 300 shirts, Skerritt says. Customers typically get their orders within two to three weeks of designing and purchasing them on the site, which works with a production facility in Malaysia.
Proper Cloth, which operates out of Polaris Venture Partners’ Dogpatch Labs in New York, is keeping it lean with just two employees working alongside Skerritt. The company has raised about $150,000 from family and friends, but could raise a bigger funding round to help it better scale, Skerritt says. And as consumers become more comfortable buying almost anything online, more competitors are bound to be attracted to the space. Proper Cloth certainly isn’t the only consumer Internet company aimed at men’s clothing—Vancouver, BC-based Indochino raised $4 million last month to expand its business that offers tailored suits online.
Ultimately, Proper Cloth is looking to create an e-commerce, custom shirt experience akin to some of the top retailers online, Skerritt says. “There should be a Zappos-style simple way to buy custom shirts online,” he says. “It doesn’t need to be about the custom part, but getting exactly what you want with minimal hassle.”