When Sakshi Jain, then a consultant, was buying coffee at a Starbucks in London in late 2011, she had not thought this would be the beginning of an entrepreneurial journey, spread across continents. She reached out to her friend Rishabh Khandelwal, a scientist with Geodesic in Bangalore, to discuss an idea that could potentially disrupt the suiting industry, that had seen very little change in distribution in the last 100 years.
Rishabh, whose credentials included an IIT entrance ranking of #280 in 2006, was fascinated with the challenge. Four months down the line, Rishabh quit his R&D job, and joined Sakshi, to dive into a completely different industry.
“My co-founder had spent a lot of time in UK and Europe and lamented over the state of the suiting industry. The men’s suiting industry fascinated her, and the idea of combining age-old craft with modern-day supply chain and technology consumed her. And hence began the journey of Hangrr,“Khandelwal said.
Getting tailor-made suits from the comfort of your home has the potential to disrupt the whole tailoring business, which has traditionally been about customers visiting tailoring shops 2-3 times before the suit was finally done.
“We began building a vertically integrated suiting company and it was really about efficiently bypassing middlemen and brick & mortar retail costs, so we could just transfer the cost benefit directly to consumers and help them save money while enhancing quality and value for money. We ran a pop-up pilot for our services in October 2011. Within 2 days of our launch we were making 180 suits,” Khandelwal told DEALSTREETASIA.
Khandelwal has carefully selected craftsmen working on the suits, who come with several yeas of experience. “It’s the opportunity to create a brand that makes clothing extremely simple and perfect every single time. Combining technology, manufacturing innovations and our enthusiasm for customer service, we are looking to completely challenge the conventional model of both online and offline custom clothing.”
Hangrr offers custom suits starting from $399 and going up to $2,000, offering more value for money than traditional tailoring shops in Europe. The offerings include half canvas, full canvas, all high-quality natural fibers and suits made of branded wool. The company offers home try-ons, which allows for precise measurements. “We offer all our new customers a complimentary home try-on “custom suit”, made according to the customer’s body measurements. This allows us to have a complete control over the fit and in the process we come to know about the customer’s minute body nuances and hence truly achieve a perfect fit. We are happy to foot these costs as it ensures a superior experience for all our customers,” said Khandelwal, a graduate of IIT Kanpur.
The company has recently launched its doorstep measurement services in Singapore. “We try to make this entire process as personal as possible for the customer. We are able to achieve this as we manufacture everything in-house, unlike some of our competitors who outsource and can only offer a pre-defined set of customization options and only control so much towards quality,” Khandelwal said. “From an artistic perspective, Singapore is such a diverse city, which means there is an incredible range of tastes and styles colliding in one place.”
The market size of e-commerce of menswear clothing is estimated to reach $327 billion by the end of this year, up from $202 billion in 2015. “I strongly believe with the immense technological innovations that we have seen over the last 10 years, the clothing industry overall would see a paradigm shift in terms of inventory management and need-based global distribution,” Khandelwal said.
His engineering and software background has helped bring in the right tech and keeping processes efficient. “The continuous effort of not compromising on any detail whatsoever and at the same time keeping things cost efficient, has been a fantastic problem to solve as an engineer. Optimizing age old methods to achieve great operational efficiency has helped us revolutionize this industry at various nodes of the supply chain and we are extremely happy to pass on these benefits to our customers. As an entrepreneur I have enjoyed every bit of this learning.”
The company has not raised funds because, as Khandelwal puts it, it did not need to. “Revenue solves all problems, as Google‘s Eric Schmidt says. Since the pilot in 2011, we had volumes and hence reveneus. As a company, we have been a completely privately owned entity. We have bootstrapped the company with our personal savings. Having control from fabric to finish, has helped us lower our costs and thus create a positive unit economics to help create a sustainable business model.”
But he is open to investments as they expand across Asia. “Designing experiences lie at the heart of Hangrr and we are very open to building relationships with potential partners and investors who share a similar philosophy.”
Singapore figures prominently in Hangrr’s plans, and this is the beginning of an expansion that will continue through the year. “Having doorstep services in the country will allow us to communicate our brand value to a broader set of people, customers can call our measurement experts and can get measured at their convenience, they can feel the quality of the fabric and compare it to the high-end retailers. We compare ourselves only with the most high-end suit makers globally and this year we aim to take this revolution to many cities across the globe.”