This menswear brand clocked Rs 2 Cr in just three years by creating custom suits for men
Ladies let’s admit it. When it comes to dressing to the nines, we are simply spoilt for choice. There’s a sangeet coming up? You could either rent a lehenga or pick up an ethnic wear online. You have a cocktail to attend? There are at least a dozen of websites offering a sea of choices from both western and fusion range of styles.
Whatever the occasion be, Indian ecommerce has plenty of options for women, especially in the wedding wear department, and that too without burning a hole in the pocket. The same, however, cannot be said for men’s fashion. Getting a well-tailored suit is not only an exercise in futility but also something that would set you back by about Rs 18,000 – Rs 20,000.
Ehtasham Hussain, a dentist who ran clinics before making the entrepreneurial leap, wanted to change the status quo. Putting his keen interest in fashion to use, he wanted to come up with an alternative that was stylish, convenient, and affordable at the same time.
The inception of Bengaluru-based Un-Cuffed in 2016, a custom menswear brand that offers an entire range of apparel options for special occasions, starting with suits, formal shirts, and trousers (in western wear) to elegant indo-western Bandis and contemporary sherwanis, marked the culmination of these ideas. What started out as a pet project for Ehtasham, is today a one-stop destination for men’s fashion with a team of 20 professionals and a dedicated manufacturing unit.
“The masters and karigars have an average experience of 10+ years in the menswear tailoring industry, and they form the core of the organisation,” says founder Ehtasham Hussain.
The making of Un-Cuffed
Interestingly, Un-Cuffed was conceptualised when Ehtasham, who got married in 2015, could not find the right design, fit, or fabric combination for his own wedding.
He says: “The menswear market is dominated by brands churning out age-old designs and charging the customers a high price for the same.” His brand, Un-Cuffed is set out to disrupt this very segment, while “bridging this gap and allowing customers to design modern, well fitted, and unique outfits at off the rack pricing.”
Un-Cuffed caters to everything menswear - from trendy slim fit designs to classy double-breasted look, their designs are truly bespoke and yet easy on the budget. “We deal directly with the finest fabric distributors and cut out any middleman, thus passing on our savings to you as low cost,” says Ehtasham.
But what really helps Un-Cuffed stand out from competition – off-the-rack brands such as Zara, Blackberry, TailorMan for Suits and formal wear and Manyavar in the Indo-Western wear category – is its “at-your-doorstep” model.
Un-Cuffed works on the home appointment model, says the founder. Once an appointment is made, the team meets the clients at their preferred location to capture the mood, style, and to take the measurements. In the second step, they are asked to come back for a fitting session, which is followed by delivery.
Whatever the occasion - Suit-Up
Take a cue from the legends of fine dressing – the Harvey Specters and the Barney Stinsons of the world – there’s nothing that suits a gentleman like a fine set of three-pieced suit. Or for that matter, a custom tailored asymmetrical bandi paired with white cotton silk kurta – the style says it out aloud, ‘A-Game’.
At Un-Cuffed, an outfit like this can be curated just with a few simple steps. Right from design to fabric, colour, and the style of the neck, sleeves and pocket, a team of fashion consultants will help you pick every little element that goes into the final look.
“We are also working on a flagship store scheduled to open in March 2020 in Bengaluru. This will ensure we cater to customers who sometimes prefer the walk-in experience,” quips the founder.
Currently, with its specialty in suits, modern Indo-western apparels, and smart formal wear, Un-Cuffed is catering to a pretty diverse customer-base. Its market is primarily divided into three key categories: suits for graduation, professional, and corporate setups; suits for special occasions like weddings and anniversaries; and the evergreen Indian wear segment.
“What we envision for Un-Cuffed is to be an omni-channel where we provide the customer a seamless shopping experience whether they are shopping through our home appointments or through our brick and mortar store and touch points across the city,” adds Ehtasham.
Riding high on word-of-mouth marketing
Un-Cuffed acquired its first set of customers through its Facebook page and campaigns. Even without a physical store, the founder explains they continued to grow through the word-of-mouth marketing.
“Our client base currently consists of more than 2,000 clients, and we add 20+ clients every month,” says Ehtasham. “We do an average of 100-150 orders a month and our revenue growth has been close to 50 percent YoY, which we expect to stabilise.”
The menswear brand clocked an annual revenue of Rs 85 lakh between 2016-17, between 2017 and 2018 the number rose to Rs 1.25 crore, and in 2018-19 it generated Rs 2.05 crore in revenue. The goal, moving ahead, is to create other revenue channels “increase our sales and double our revenues.”
“We are open to the idea of funding, and we are working on it. We have ambitious plans to expand Un-Cuffed to various cities and locations, and we are also working on the women’s formalwear market, thus finding the right funding partner is crucial for us,” quips Ehtasham.
(Edited by Megha Reddy)