Tuesday, April 16, 2024

INDOCHINO

The Perfect Fit

Founded on the belief that you do not need to spend a fortune to build a custom wardrobe, Indochino has taken the premium made-to-measure experience direct to the consumer, creating a superior alternative to off-the-rack clothing at ready-to-wear prices. Here, we speak with Drew Green, CEO of Indochino to discuss how the business has become the largest exclusive made-to-measure apparel company in the world.

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Built to inspire confidence that people admire, Indochino allows customers to step into the shoes of a designer to create custom suits, shirts, chinos, blazers, and overcoats. Selecting from hundreds of fabrics and endless personalization options, people can create a garment that is then made to their precise measurements and shipped directly to their doors within three weeks for a great fit that is hassle-free.

Having recently celebrated its 15-year anniversary, Indochino began life as an online-only company, increasing its presence gradually before really gaining traction across 2014 and 2015, when they committed to an omni-channel strategy. Since then, the company has grown by around 900 per cent.

Today the business operates a total of 83 retail locations across the US and Canada, and in recent months, they have focused on profitability and the bottom line. “Our EBITA has increased by 350 per cent, and this was our key focus for 2023, so much so that we did not open any new showrooms last year,” explains Drew Green, CEO of Indochino. “As for 2024, this is a different story as we will be opening as many as 57 new locations. Seven of these will be flagship sites, and the remaining 50 will be opened with our partners, so we have an exciting year in store.”

Discussing the development pipeline, Green highlights that while the idea of expanding the brand’s physical locations to countries such as the UK, Australia, China, and Japan is exciting, for the moment their store portfolio will focus on the US and Canada. However, their online presence does continue to grow, and last year they delivered to 57 countries.

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Away from their store portfolio and online presence, they continue to evolve and expand through their integration into current and mainstream culture, which incorporates their partnerships with sports teams, high school and university leagues. This strategy is helping to grow the brand on multiple different levels and increase their cultural reach.

Since its inception, Indochino has always looked to expand its product assortment into new categories. Last year they took the next step in this development and launched its women’s made-to-measure line, which has had a tremendous response. Having been in the works for a long time, Drew and the team around him are very proud of what they have achieved with the women’s line and are looking forward to seeing how it evolves in the coming months and years.

Just like their menswear range, there are literally tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions of product combinations that a customer can create, and the idea is that it is a one-of-a-kind garment that is designed and made to fit each individual customer.

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After a turbulent few years for the retail industry as a whole, the ‘experience’ a brand offers is more pertinent than ever. At Indochino, they feel they have a fantastic opportunity to offer a unique experience every time a customer walks into one of their showrooms.

“Most people who come to our stores have booked an hour with a style guide, who then helps the customer design their one-of-a-kind garment, and so this relationship, that customer experience that can be developed through this one-on-one interaction, is unique. When compared to other brands in the industry, we remain committed to selling an experience versus a product and we are continuously trying to enhance that experience,” Green highlights.

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Social media platforms are now so important that every retail company must utilize their potential, and for a business like Indochino, who want to tell great stories, these platforms offer them the opportunity to do so. Green tells us that they have almost tripled the amount of content released in recent times and this is set to continue with some exciting plans in place throughout the year with their partners, which revolve around content and great storytelling.

As our conversation moves onto the topic of sustainability and the place this now holds in customers’ minds, the CEO points out they have almost zero waste and that their return rates are less than one per cent. In addition, as the brand in non-inventory and does not have excess at the end of every quarter, season, or year, there is no wastage on an ongoing basis.

“We have great experience in how to run a sustainable retail brand; we are very aware of how important it is, and moving forward we will continue to look at other initiatives we can implement.”

Discussing the key drivers behind the success of the brand in the last 15 years, Drew comments that they have a relentless focus on people and having the best people possible in the business, on their board and as partners and shareholders.

“Secondly, I would say the refinement of our product has been pivotal in any success we have had and making our products the best in the industry has helped us to become the market leader. Finally, I would say partnerships are crucial and we have been fortunate to have exceptional partners such as Dayang Group and Nordstrom.”

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Before our time with Drew runs out, we ask what the greatest challenge is facing the business?

“There is a lot of change that has taken place in retail in the last couple of years, some businesses have struggled, some are looking to find their way, and some have had great success. For us, we are constantly inundated with fantastic opportunities and my greatest challenge is to ensure we stay focused and we choose the right things to keep moving us forward towards continued growth online and offline.”

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