A take on 'minimum is more', Minizmo offers affordable luxury menswear with its omnichannel offering.
Indian men are stepping up the fashion game. Higher incomes and increased brand awareness have seen demand for custom-made menswear rise sharply and, as they now say, where there is demand, there will be a startup to fulfill it.
Delhi-based Rohan Khattar, 26, and Devender Gupta, 49, started Minizmo to ensure the fashion-conscious urban male can look his sharpest with the least effort.
So what does Minizmo do that other Indian bespoke menswear firms don't? It uses technology to perfect the garment. "Once the tailor gets the customer's measurement, he designs the suit on a 3D platform and mails the 3D rendering to customers. So the customer gets to see a 3D image of his garment and only after an approval from customer, they go ahead with the order," Rohan explains, adding that the company uses software that automates about half the stitching work, thus shortening the turnaround time.
Even as Rohan was thinking of starting up on his own, a simple experience triggered this business idea.
“The idea came to me when I was looking to get a few garments stitched. I spotted a gap in the market when I was unable to find the perfect fit or the quality that I was looking for. A few months later, Minizmo was born.”
Rohan is a marketing graduate from UK's Aston University, and has previously worked with Accenture. He pitched his idea to Devender Gupta, a family friend, and the duo decided to start up. The brand launched its first store in Delhi in December 2017.
While Rohan manages the operations, Devender helps with strategy and connections. Ravi Gupta, 32, was their first employee, and is now part of the core team. He heads operations, sourcing, and design. The team has 20 people, including the founders.
“According to data from consulting firm KPMG, the men’s formal apparel market in India was estimated to be Rs 445 billion in 2015, and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10 percent between 2015 and 2025,” says Rohan.
“As far as online marketplaces are concerned, they don’t have custom wear. We are not present in any marketplace as we don’t believe in discounts. We only sell through our website.”
Rohan believes that offering tailoring services at customers' doorstep, and custom-made menswear through an omni-channel makes them stand apart. For Minizmo, the customer acquisition cost is lower than that of competitors. “We reach out to customers through word of mouth and online marketing.” The company also plans to launch an app which will be ready by the end of the current financial year.
Minizmo offers over 600 varieties of fabric, sourced from India and abroad, including Delhi, Tirupur, Bengaluru, China, Italy and Hong Kong. “Once a customer decides the design, style, and the fabric, according to what they need, they then get to choose the base fabric, cuff, collar, buttons, button thread and contrast fabric. The product mix includes suits, blazers, trousers, bandhgalas, Nehru jackets, shirts and kurtas. A custom-made product can take anywhere from five to 15 days to be made, depending on the product type and demand,” says Rohan.
“We faced issues in getting the kind of quality, look and feel that we were aiming for, and also getting the right suppliers in place was a challenge in the beginning. Our aim was to offer affordable luxury outfits, and to achieve this, we had to ensure we were providing the best quality at the lowest prices. We also wanted to be able to create a strong audit process, so that we never compromised on the quality.”
After designing, the company outsources its products to factories near Delhi.
Apart from custom wear, the company's store in Delhi also sells readymade garments. Custom-made apparel accounts for 60 percent of the total business. Talking about pricing, Rohan says, "Our products are around 20 percent cheaper than established brands that are offering the same quality."
He adds Minizmo offers T-shirts, chinos, suits, and blazers in the readymade category. Currently bootstrapped, the startup sees a footfall of about 1,000-1,500 in its store every month. The online traffic is double to that of the offline traffic.
Minizmo has a revenue target of Rs 4.3 crore for FY19 through new store openings, and home visits. Rohan says, “The apparel market is also seasonal. The sales usually go up in winter and also after September. With more stores opening up, we are expecting to have a growth of 30 percent month-on-month.”
With an aim to provide ease and convenience, Minizmo is now working on a 3D interface for its customers. “The idea is when customers put in their measurements, it gets stored in the company database. For regular customers, the portal can design a model as per their liking and show it to them in real time,” says Rohan.
The brand is also planning to go for the franchise model after it launches five stores. It is looking forward to raise an external funding after completing a target of 10 stores in Tier I cities.
Minizmo plans to have three more stores in Delhi this financial year, and six more stores in the next financial year, including a store in Mumbai.