Customized clothing is thought to be more expensive than buying off the rack. Yet there are many men’s clothes out there that are pretty high priced and come in standard sizes. Of course they are usually made with finer materials and better quality tailoring.
J. Hilburn has taken a different route. It provides direct-to-consumer manufacturer approach just like what Dell Computers did. This time it’s for fancy men’s dress shirts. One area of savings is it cuts out the retailer and the corresponding markup and thus provides affordable customized clothes.
How is the customized clothes made possible? The company now has over 2,000 trained “ style advisors” all over the U.S. who will set appointments and visit the customers in their homes and offices. Measurements are taken of the customers to have the perfect fit, show them swaths of fabric, and help them select a few options. In 2010 the company sold 60,000 shirts, along with sweaters, trousers and other items. A key factor here is to be able to manufacture the customized clothes from an affordable source.
The style advisors keep a commission of between 10 percent to 30 percent of what they sell. The more they sell the more the commission. The advisors also get a small percentage of the sales from any style advisors they recruit.
The company is based in Dallas, Texas and was founded in 2007. Sales have simply zoomed from $3.25 million in 2009 to $8 million in 2010 and still growing. It has proven to be a winning business model.