108Bespoke Targets 108 Studios Across The World By 2030
Exclusive interaction of Bharath Jain, Co-Founder, 108Bespoke with BW.
How and when did you start 108Bespoke?
For my Co-Founder, Moolesh, and I; customized apparel goes beyond just the right measurements and fit. A custom made suit reflects the wearer’s personality. It speaks volumes about her/his tastes, experiences and style. It makes a statement about the person, flamboyant, bashful, powerful, different, astute, affable, are a few examples of it. With an aim to add a personal touch to corporate wear, we founded 108 Bespoke to offer 100% handcrafted and custom-made suits and corporate wear for women and men.
Though our career choices were strikingly different, our paths were meant to converge because of our liking for all things customized. My journey from being an engineer at Intel Corp to becoming a fashion entrepreneur was unconventional. For Moolesh, foraying into bespoke clothing was a bit more obvious after having gained significant experience in managing a portion of the family textiles business.
After spending considerable time on market research, we started 108 Bespoke with a single goal in mind - to reintroduce our target consumers to a whole new level of customization. From custom prints to custom shoes, our customers can choose every last detail of their apparel. Our aim was to create a personalized and unique wardrobe for each customer as per their style, tastes and preferences. With a team of 8 designers and 15 tailors, 108 Bespoke has served several thousand clients to date.
How is 108 Bespoke different from other brands that offer bespoke clothing?
Most of the current bespoke brands have salesmen who just have primary knowledge of fabric and no style sense. At 108 Bespoke we have stylists who are experts in fabrics and styling. Hence the customers can sit with them and design their own outfits, thereby creating an empowering experience. At 108 Bespoke we are more like a corporate than a business. This allows the customers to have an easy interaction and get the required assisstance in a hassle free manner. The bespoke clothing industry is known for missing delivery deadlines. That’s something we take very seriously at 108 Bepsoke. We meet timelines for every single order.
What is the process like from the time of order to delivery?
108 Bespoke is totally committed to provide a hassle free service in just 5 steps.
Step 1: Stop by at one of our three 108 Bespoke stores with a prior appointment so that an expert fashion consultant is ready to assist you. You can also get a “at doorstep” service where a fashion consultant and master tailor comes to your door, home or office, at a time convenient to you. (for a minimum guaranteed order.)
Step 2: Choose the fabric with the help of our fashion consultant who will help the customer style their outfits and choose from the high range of quality samples. We provide a choice of more than 3 thousand fabrics from all reputed local brands and several high quality international brands.
Step 3: Get measured by 108 Bespoke's experienced master tailor.
Step 4: Once the fabric is chosen and measurements are taken, customers would have a trial of the outfits within 10 days.
Step 5: Thereafter the delivery would take less than 3 weeks for the whole process.
When it comes to bespoke wear, how has the market evolved over the last few years?
A custom made formal attire was once considered affordable and accessible only for the wealthy. However, over the last few decades customization has struck a chord among fashion conscious working class women and men. Be it in the boardroom or an investor pitch, women and men are shunning conventional off the rack pieces, to opt for bespoke attires that can make them stand out. For the urban shopper, it’s not merely about the brand name and the label, it’s more about the right fit that can flaunt their appearance and a style that’s closer to their personality.
Apart from overall bespoke wear for men, you also have western formal bespoke wear for women. What was the reason for venturing into this segment?
In India, western bespoke clothing has always been primarily consumed by gentlemen. A completely hand-crafted suit for women or a chic pencil skirt that fits to perfection is almost impossible to find in India. Apart from a handful of mass produced brands, women do not have a choice of tailored western formal outfits that may befit both, the person and the occasion. Either a tailor or a salesperson is making a poor excuse to provide truly bespoke professional wear for women, most often leaving a lot to be desired. When it comes to standing out in the conference room, at a discussion meeting with a client, at a sales meeting, in court, in a conference or at a business dinner, professional wear for women in India is ‘yet to emerge’. There is huge potential growth for women’s business wear in India; it just needs a platform for it to be recognized.
With so many off the rack home grown and international brands that are easily affordable and provides great quality, why do you think customers will continue to opt for Bespoke?
Bespoke formal wear has seen a significant growth in the fashion landscape. A beautifully handcrafted product made exclusively for the wearer is what consumers are looking for today. Bespoke was once considered a luxurious indulgence and limited to the rich. With higher earning capacity, spending on affordable- luxury apparel, shoes and accessories is becoming the norm. Young, style conscious and economically stable women and men are ready to spend more for the exclusiveness that bespoke wear offers. Youngsters under the age bracket of 25-35 are ready to spend on quality and craftsmanship. Bespoke is definitely the new plug that designers and bespoke businesses are going after.
What are the some of the challenges in bespoke wear market?
Bespoke wear process starts after the order is received. And thus time is a very important factor to get the order done. Other than that a good bespoke outfit is all about good craftsmanship. With time, getting good tailors has become a challenge. The tailoring industry needs training support like other skilled labour industries.
Tell us about the growth of the company from the time of inception? How many customers have you served till date?
We started in August 2013 with a tailor, a stylist and without a studio. Today we have 3 studios, 2 in Bangalore and 1 in Chennai, 15 tailors and 8 stylists. Coming from a business family, we wanted a healthy steady growth. In Aug 2016 we opened our second studio (Indiranagar) and Feb 2018 our Chennai studio. It has been a fun ride so far. Hopefully we will be able to keep up our steady growth going forward.
How many studios do you have currently? What are your expansion plans?
We have 3 studios so far and we plan to open at least 2 more studios by end of 2019. We intend to have at least 108 studios across the world by 2030.
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