I would like to thank Matt Wignall for making this interview possible.
A Suit That Fits was founded in 2006 by school friends, David Hathiramani and Warren Bennett. Warren spent time working in Nepal and whilst volunteering at a school in Kathmandu met a family of tailors who made him a woollen tailored suit.
On his return, Warren met with old school friend David Hathiramani, who felt there was a gap in the market for quality, yet affordable, tailored suits and wanted to use their technical backgrounds to simplify the ordering process; it was then that A Suit That Fits started as the world’s first on-line hand tailored suit making company.
Using unique web technology, the service gives customers the flexibility to design and completely customise their individually hand-tailored suit at an affordable ‘off-the-peg’ price, starting at £200. Since then A Suit That Fits has opened three permanent branches throughout London and one in Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester, in addition to 19 ‘TailorStop’ (pop-up) branches nationwide.
Hi Warren, nice to have you on YHP, How are you doing?
It’s great to be here - we love the website and think it’s really inspiring for the next generation of young entrepreneurs.
Here’s a nice ice ice-breaker -who are your style icons?
I have had time to develop my own style: classic tailoring combined with an eccentric twist! I suppose my own individual style comes from timeless fashion icons such as Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant or even James Bond, combined with an element of fun from Ziggy Stardust!
When would you say, you first experienced your entrepreneurial talent?
I think I have always had a sense of entrepreneurial talent; both David and I grew up with entrepreneurial fathers, who had a big influence in our lives. Before A Suit That Fits began, I had lots of great ideas for businesses, some could work very well, some were outrageous! I actually started by importing silk carpets and pashminas from India, before David and I turned our attention to our idea for A Suit That Fits.
Only four years later, we have 25 branches nationwide and we’re very proud of what we’ve achieved.
So how did A Suit That Fits first begin, where did your idea come from?
Having spent gap years teaching in various schools around the world, I was introduced by a school master to one of the local tailoring family in Nepal, who made me some fantastic suits. I was so impressed by the quality and workmanship that before I returned to the UK, I bought a number of suits for myself, friends and family.
When I came back to Britain I met up with my old school friend David, who shared my passion for fine tailoring. David had big ideas and suggested that we went on-line; offering a small selection of fabrics, styles, linings and all the different attributes.
We took the idea to Hampstead market in North London, and displayed one of my suits on a dummy; after just 20 minutes we had sold two suits. It was a clear sign that we had a viable business plan; we then worked quickly to create a website for our customers, and we set up shop in a small studio in Liverpool Street.
Since 2006 when we registered our first customer, we’ve been thrilled and very proud to be part of a fantastic and growing team of wonderful people both here in the UK and in Nepal.
How did you fund your business in the beginning?
In terms of cash flow, the online model provided the ideal start-up template. We never had to hold any stock, we simply sent requests out to our tailors in Nepal once the suits were ordered, and paid for, online.
To fund the essentials such as our premises in Liverpool Street, we used our credit cards, whilst David continued to work two jobs to support the business.
How are customers becoming more individual through their choice of suit?
Trends tend to come and go, however it will always be fashionable to offer the customer more choice. There are three main types of suits: British, Italian and American; British suits tend to have tapered panels, little shoulder padding and two vents, Italian suits are often fitted with structured lapels and shoulder padding, whilst American suits are more relaxed.
We’ve noticed that our customers are now mixing all three types of suit along with a subtle splash of colour with a special lining to create their own style and individual identity. We now offer a choice of over 200 fabrics to choose from, so alongside our range of style options, customers can choose from selection of 40 billion different combinations of suit.
What shall we be expecting from A Suit That Fits in the future?
We have lots of fantastic ideas that we are exploring; we continue to source fabrics from all over the world and push suiting style and innovation. We also plan to focus on launching further permanent branches in key cities throughout the UK.
What advice do you have for those who want to pursue a career in fashion?
The first step is to complete your education; and following university try to get as much work experience as you can; some members of our team have completed several internships and work experience programs. You’ll make it if you have talent, combined with the determination and ambition.
What advice do you have for the fans of YHP?
It’s a scary prospect starting your own business and not knowing what’s around the corner, however it’s a lot of fun and can pay off in so many ways if you’re prepared to put everything into it. Focus on how you solve a problem for your customer in an easy, cost-effective way and build a great team to deliver that product.
I wish anyone considering taking on the challenge of starting their own company or developing a unique business plan the very best of luck and I hope one day I’ll have the pleasure of reading about your success.
Thanks for your time warren, hope to catch up with you soon.
Dont forget to check out their website