Kyle Vucko and Heikal Gani ran into a problem while Heikal was out looking to buy a new suit in college. He just could not find the right size, look and feel that he was going after and they started thinking about why there was not a better way. So they made one…
Indochino tailors each suit custom to each customers specifications and does it in 48hrs. The company which was founded in 2006 has secured funding and has become an online leader in custom made men’s suits. We had the chance to speak with Kyle about how the whole idea got started…
How did you get into entrepreneurship and Indochino?
I went to school for accounting in Victoria, Canada but I really knew I had a passion for something more with my business partner, Heikal Gani. The idea for Indochino came randomly one day when Heikal went out to look for a new suit. He found the process of finding one both online and offline very difficult. At the end of the day he ended up at Menswarehouse which we realized was just not where the young guys wanted to be.
So the next step for us was to try and solve that problem which is when Indochino was born.
Did you get funding right away or start organically?
We received funding about 6 months into the company, this came before the initial product was sold. Heikal moved to China at the time to learn more about how we were going to handle the manufacturing. We then wrote a business plan with the support of a great group of mentors who supported us and the business model.
When it comes to manufacturing over-seas how do you find a good one? Any horror stories?
China is a whole different world. We have had the fortune of being physically in China from day 1 because of my business partner. With custom products you have to be right there to educate the suppliers on what you are doing. It is not as easy as having a few styles and sizes and just repeating it. Today we have a whole subsidary in Shanghai to help handle this.
To date we have been through about 20 suppliers and have interviewed over 100. At the end of the day it is a lot of work and you have to constantly recheck what is being produced.
A site like Alibaba can be good, especially for standard generic stuff. Since we were physically there we were able to walk right up to their front doors and started building a network just based on connections and referrals until we found the right matches.
How did your school help in the development of the business?
The mentor program was the biggest thing that helped us at the school. It allowed us to talk to business people and even people in China and also led to our first investor. Then when it came time to develop the business plan we had professors from different departments help on specific areas of the plan. Not to mention the labs, software and the library were all free to us while we were there.
How does your company reassure customers of the quality and fitting of the product?
We do a few things to help reassure our customers. One thing is we offer free measuring tapes to everyone so you can better measure yourself. We also have a tailors kit for $29 that offers you the chance to handpick 15 fabrics so you can see and feel them before you order. That $29 is a credit towards your next order.
We also offer a perfect fit promise where we will pay for all alterations at a local tailor or a full refund if it is way off. That free alteration helps you get it even better than you would off the rack.
What has been your greatest challenge while starting IndoChino?
China! It is very tough to maintain quality because of the unique process involved in each product. Most companies will order 10’s of thousands of the same unit while we make each one custom in 48hrs. We then have to scale that model!
What is one piece of advice you have for young entrepreneurs today?
The sooner you start the better. I started at 22 with no money but I realized what do I really have to lose? If I fail I’ll end up right where I am now. As you get older it becomes tougher because more risks and responsibilities come into play.
Ignorance is bliss. We wanted to get a custom suit to you fast. Did not know what that meant so we just set out to make it happen.
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