Interview with Kyle Vucko, Indochino CEO

Friday, April 30, 2010



Left: Kyle Vuko Right: Heikal Gani
Photo copyright by www.guardian.co.uk

They say behind every successful company, lies a great story. It's not different with Indochino. According to their website, Heikal Gani had troubles finding the right suit for a conference. Unable to find anything that fit both his budget and taste, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He teamed up with  fellow student and friend Kyle Vucko and in 2007, Indochino was born. Kyle, the CEO runs the business from Canada, Heikal, the CCO (Chief Creative Officer) is responsible for design and production in Shanghai, China. Today, Indochino is the largest online retailer of customer suits in the world, with over 50 employees and customers from (almost) all over the world.

In 2010 the company is experiencing immense growth rates and media from all over the world is covering their success story. I had the great opportunity to do an email Interview with Kyle Vucko and ask him about the future of the business and the challenges ahead. Furthermore, I tried to focus on questions discussed within the community, expect some very promising answers. Please read on for the full interview below:

Part 1 - about the company

First of all, many thanks for taking the time for doing this interview! I am sure you must be very busy at the moment, the business seems to reach new heights. How did the year 2010 go so far for Indochino?

So far the year has been great for Indochino. We’re not even half way through and already we’ve expanded exponentially. It’s exciting, we have some exciting things still to come in 2010.

There are a number of companies on the Internet, offering similar products as Indochino. How is Indochino different from these companies and what is your unique selling point?

When Indochino began in 2007, we were the first in the space and it’s great to see that custom-made menswear online has grown into its own pocket of the industry. There are a number of things that still set us apart including the way we release new styles at a rapid pace and the close contact we have with manufacturing which allows us to have control over quality assurance. We are also still the only company that can deliver a suit in under two weeks and back it up with a Perfect Fit Promise.

What is the general direction for 2010? Overall, will you focus on growth, new product lines or rather on further improving quality and customer satisfaction?

We are focusing on all of these. Expanding product lines means finding more compelling fabrics and continuing to refine our construction quality. Plus, the way towards growth is by listening to our customers and providing them with the best service and products possible.

You are clearly getting a high number of new customers from all over the world every day, but how high is the share of returning customers?

Close to half of our sales right now are from returning customers. Once measurements are taken and the first suit is made, it’s just point, click, and buy. Indochino has a lot of fantastic, loyal customers.

According to your data, how high is the number of remakes?

Indochino has a 4% return rate, much lower than the 20%+ industry norm, which is in thanks to our Perfect Fit Promise which offers the option for alteration credits and remakes. Every customer is unique, and every purchase different, so our focus is to ensure that the final outcome of every purchase is for the suit/shirt/blazer to be the perfect fit for each customer’s taste.

Part 2 - about the product

Many customers are concerned about buying products produced in China and other parts of Asia. What can you tell us about the working conditions/the contractual situation for Indochino tailors? Can customers make a purchase with a clear conscience?

Absolutely. We have partnerships with our tailors and Indochino’s products are based on their craftsmanship, so we’re not just outsourcing to an unknown factory. A master tailor comes into our office every day and we work very closely with the team to ensure their working conditions are great and their compensation is higher than similar positions in Shanghai.

A bespoke tailor I recently spoke to, commented on the construction of Indochino suits. He believes that Indochino decided for a rather uncommon approach of interlining the suits (both fused and canvassed, no canvas on the lapels). Can you shed some light on the background of this decision?

We made the decision to construct our suits that way in order to provide the best quality construction at an affordable price. I believe we are the only apparel company who provides a full-canvas interlining at the price point we offer. There are varying opinions on suit constructions and we continually monitor this to ensure the best possible product is created. From next week onwards, customers can expect canvas throughout the lapels too.

While most reviews on the Internet seem to be very positive overall, many are not perfectly happy with the shoulders. More specifically, the criticism goes towards the little support in the shoulder part of the chest piece that can make them appear a bit lumpy. What is your opinion on this?

We have noted that there’s a section of our customer base that would prefer a different type of shoulder construction, so starting next month we will offer the option of natural shoulder construction as well as the lightly padded shoulders we have now.

You are providing great, detailed videos on how to measure yourself. Still, many people seem to be unsure about how to do it correctly. Many people claim that for getting a slim suit as seen on your models, you have to take a few inches off each measurement. What do you recommend doing?

Taking the time to measure is key when following our videos on Indochino.com. And also be as precise as possible with your height and weight.

A question asked from Style Forum members: Do you plan on expanding the style of linings offered or perhaps even more fabrics to choose from?

Stay tuned!

I think it's fantastic how quickly you come up with new styles, new suits that are just right for the season. Some of the linen suits for example look mouth-watering! How do you get your inspiration?

Our goal is to create compelling products that wow our customers, the inspiration for this takes many forms:  Customer insights, industry trends, and what people actually buy from Indochino to name a few.

some links to read through

Starting Tie Lineup
http://www.valetmag.com/ask-valet/style/2010/five-ties-beginner-collection-040710.php

From knit tie to bow tie - must have ties according to Valet Mag. To be honest, I don't have any of those but I'm really on the look for a knit tie (similar to the one on the left) to wear with my linen suit in summer. You can actually find some on ebay and I found a shop that sells Luciano Barbera basically around the corner. Cotton seems to be an interesting material for ties as well and a welcome change from silk.







Lucky Tiger

That is actually a product that I personally want to recommend. After years of using Nivea shaving cream and stuff like that I came across Lucky Tiger a while ago. I was reading about all the poisonous ingredients in the usual shaving products and was glad to find Lucky Tiger. It only contains natural ingredients, it has a very nice scent and it just works. Highly recommended! You can get it on Amazon but it's also available in regular shops. Check the website: http://www.luckytiger.net/





Deck Shoes Special

They are controversial, aren't they? My girlfiend hates them and calls them "grandpa" shoes, I actually like them a lot and have always had a pair. Well, if you happen to like them, check out the link!








Last but not least, I was checking through The Satorialist and came across this stylish beauty from Japan (the lips!) I love the blog and the pictures are always fantastic! 







plans for the upcoming week

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dear readers,

I have some good news for the upcoming week! Kyle Vucko, the CEO of Indochino is so kind to do an email interview with me. I am really honoured and I carefully selected a couple of questions that are hopefully of interest to you. I am sure Mr Vucko is a very busy guy, especially as business at Indochino seems to be increasing at rapid rates lately, but I can hopefully release the interview at some point this week.

I have also prepared an article on suit construction with a special focus on Indochino suits. It is basically ready to be released, but I want to wait for the interview and the answers concerning Indochino's suit construction.

Furthermore, I will update and upgrade the a bit lacklustre Indochino suit review I released on Thursday. I had come home tired after a longer business trip to find my suit waiting for me and neither the text nor the photos reflect how happy I am with the suit. Also, I went to the tailor with the jacket and had some things changed (namely the length of the sleeves and chest) and I want to update you with the results. Bear with me while this blog becomes more professional and helpful for you and many thanks to all readers for stopping by so often every day.

Moreover, please note that in order to comment you don't need to sign in or sign up. You can simply choose to comment as Anonymous or with a freely chosen nickname. I'm grateful for every comment (that is not spam) and discussion. 

Best regards and have a great Sunday,
Lorenz

Indochino Review: Navy Blue Suit

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Update: I added better pictures, the original ones are still available further below in that photobucket slideshow. The suit still appears very dark, simply because it is  - it's a very dark navy blue.

If you are interested in reviews, you might also want to read this (Indochino Walker Navy Tweed Suit) and this (Indochino Blueprint Windowpane Suit).

After nearly one month of waiting (thanks to the Icelandic volcano and the  hike in orders), I finally received my Navy Blue Indochino Suit, shirt and tie today. Everything is very nicely packaged, neatly folded and I think I could even scent a hint of perfume. The suit fabric (navy blue) feels quite nice, very light compared to my other suits. I have also included close up photos of the material and the pick stitching (which I personally think looks good).

Indochino Navy Blue Suit
Indochino Navy Blue Suit (with Indochino tie)
I measured myself I tried to stick as close to the videos as possible. I wore a custom made shirt and trousers and asked my girlfriend to help me. We actually measured twice, once in the evening and once in the morning. I still felt a bit insecure about the whole process and later noticed that I added 1-2 inches too much on the sleeves. I also decided not to tweak any settings, but see how it would come out and in the worst case ask for a remake later. I also ordered sleeves and trousers hemmed, which was probably a bit risky.

Luckily, everything turned out fine. The trousers fit just perfectly (not too tight, so I could do aerobics in it without problems) The shirt fits exceptionally well (sleeves a bit too long, but my fault) and the jacket looked great right from the start too. Here too sleeves are a bit too long, but that can easily be fixed. I might tweak some other measurements a little bit, but overall I'm pretty satisfied with the look.

My tailor thought the fit was pretty good, I just need to reduce the sleeve length by around 1-2inch and make the suit a bit tighter around the chest. Costs amount to 35€ (20€ for the sleeves, 15€ for tightening the chest) or around 46$. I scanned the bill, uploaded it on the website and got reimbursed by Indochino within 48 hours - couldn't work easier.

Indochino Navy Blue Suit
once more with flash, if that helps
There is one thing that I'm not so happy with, namely the shoulders. Due to the construction of the suit (more about that in another article on this blog, soon to be published), the shoulders appear a bit lumpy and are different from my other suits. A bit strange, but no show stopper.


The Shirt

I have read mixed reviews about the shirts, but I have to say that mine turned out really fine. The fabric (I chose the blue herringbone) is rather thick and the fit is really good. I got it for free with a coupon and I'm not sure if I would spend 99$ on it, but it's probably worth it. I got some very positive comments at work about the fit of it - I'm a very slim guy and the Indochino shirt is really one of the best fitting ones I have ever had.

Photobucket
Indochino Blue Herringbone Shirt
Overall, I am satisfied with both the product and the price. I now know what changes to make for the next order and expect my next suits to fit just fine without any alterations.




The whole suit is still available on Indochino and probably one of those ultimate suits that everyone needs in his wardrobe.

Indochino Classic Navy Blue Suit
Indochino Essential Navy Suit Reviewed by Lorenz. Rated: 8/ 10 (Good)

New Indochino Suits - The Linen Collection

Just in time for the summer, Indochino has introduced a number of new linen suits. Check the press review below for more info and head to their website to check out the new arrivals! My personal favourite is the one below, the texture of the fabric looks great and a bit different from the usual light linen suits you see every day. I also really like the knit tie on the model, I don't think it's available on Indochino yet, but I hope that will change! The only thing that I wonder about is the jacket length. I am sure it is purposely short, but I am not sure I like them like that. But as you input your own measures, it won't be a problem. What do you think, anything you'd order?


OUR GENTLEMAN IN HAVANA
(Press release)

Whether strolling the streets of Vieja or Pennsylvania Avenue, a linen suit is key to a gentleman's sartorial arsenal when attempting to beat the heat. This month Indochino launches The Linen Collection, a selection of limited-edition linen suiting inspired by both the casual ease of the Buena Vista Social Club and the sharp '60s work wear of JFK's White House staff. If the Cuban Missile Crisis had a style moment, this was it. Made of crisp and cool linen that is soft yet durable, the collection includes four custom-made suits. The elegant silk/linen blends and weighty, tight weave linens help mitigate wrinkles and ensure these suits won't look as though they've been through the wringer at the end of a long day at the office. Classic natural linen and modern tones of charcoal and taupe are handcrafted into slim cut suits with a retro edge. Key details include slim notch lapels and classic flap pockets.
                                 
Available April 22nd at www.indochino.com

Check here for details:
http://www.indochino.com/category/the_linen_collection.html

Update 29/04/10: Magnificent Bastard has a short Q&A about the new Indochino linen suits right here:
http://www.magnificentbastard.com/posts/ask-the-mb-indochino-linen-suits

coming soon on indochino reviews

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dear readers,

this is just to inform you about some of the things I'm preparing for the blog. As promised before and announced on Twitter, I will write a special report on suit construction, focused on the differences between fully canvassed, half-canvassed and fused. This might sound a bit technical at first, but the method used tells a lot about the quality of the suit and how well it stands the test of time (and dry cleaners). Some days ago JeffryD (you can find him on Style Forum or via his very own website, http://tuttofattoamano.blogspot.com/), a professional bespoke tailor, cut open an Indochino suit and his analysis is quite revealing. I also pestered him with various emails and he was so kind to respond to some questions concerning Indochino suits - more details soon. 

Moreover, I am also working on finding out more about the Indochino working conditions and wages. As most of you know, Indochino is producing in China and on many forums people stated their concerns about the social responsibility of the company. If you have any information, questions or suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them!

Hope the above mentioned articles will be interesting for you,
best,

Lorenz

Links for the weekend

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Fresh Balls
Go Nuts Over Fresh Balls
http://freshballs.com/

Yep, this nice product does just what you think it does - and more: 

And even though the product is for your balls, don’t be afraid to get a little liberal with how you apply it south of the border. After all, your balls aren’t the only thing down there that could use some freshening (primermagazine.com)







Environmentally Friendly Clothing
http://www.esquire.com/features/green/environmentally-friendly-clothing-0410

For those who care about our environment and sustainable businesses. On a sidenote, I plan to do some investigations about Indochino, their working conditions and wages they pay to their Chinese tailors (any comments welcome).











Target Merona Fit Dress Shirt
http://dappered.com/2010/04/target-merona-fitted-dress-shirt/

They are dirt cheap and they seem to fit well (apparently the are rather long too, I hate untucked shirts). On the other hand, for that price they are most likely not produced for fair wages or with fair trade materials...the choice is yours. You could check this link for sustainable style and stay away from those suspiciously cheap shirts: http://www.sustainablestyle.org/.

The Best of Citizen Watches
http://dappered.com/2010/04/the-best-of-citizen-watches/

Affordable and great looking - Citizen is one of those few watch makers that can do it both. If you are not prepared to spend thousands of $ or € on Rolex and the like, get one of those stylish watches.








How to Build Your Wardrobe - Part 1
http://artofmanliness.com/2010/04/16/how-to-build-a-manly-wardrobe-1/

Every man should read Art Of Manliness every day. It is the number 1 source for style advice and hardly ever does it disappoint. The link above is the first part of a 3 story piece, covering the aspects of how to build your wardrobe - the links it contains and the information are worth 24 hours of reading without a minute of boredom.

Are you happy with your Indochino suit?

Friday, April 16, 2010

When I started this blog, I asked my readers, "Are you happy with your Indochino suit?". More than 60 people answered and a vast majority seems to be quite happy with their suits. 29,5% thought it was just perfect, 45,9% were happy after some alterations (up to 75$ reimbursed by Indochino). This leaves the 24,6% whose expectations were not met  for one reason or another.



Depending on how you look at the data you might draw different conclusions. First of all, my little survey is surely not representative for Indochino, it might however give some indications. The number of 25% who were not quite so satisfied with their suit, seems rather high, but it's safe to assume they got a full refund and didn't experience any financial losses. According to a blog comment Kylie Vucko posted back in 2008, Indochino's overall  return rate is (was) 3% (compared to 17% industry average), so that shows a bit of a different picture. Obviously, not everyone who stated that his expectations were not met , returned the suit back.  

Whatever your interpretation is, I think we clearly see that Indochino overall is doing a good job with 75% satisfaction. I'd be interested in what causes people to be unsatisfied with the suits - wrong expectations are just one possibility.

The style of Charlie Watts

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Excuse the off-topic article here on the Indochino Review Blog, but I think it's a really interesting topic and well worth the read for style fanatics. Charlie Watts, drummer of the Rolling Stones, is not just the only white drummer that truly swings, he is also one of the best dressed men in the business. Check out this  slideshow, it contains some real gems. I took these photos from the inofficial Rolling Stones Forum www.iorr.org, here is a direct link to the thread, thanks to the users over there for gathering those photos. You will see some double breasted suits as well, similar in style (but  Charlie seems to prefer lighter colors) to the one offered from www.indochino.com. Charlie showcases how to pull off that look. Dennis Cahlo got one too and it looks cool enough to me!




Google ads on the blog

Dear readers,

I'm currently experimenting with Google AdSense - Google Ads. I'm testing several options, because I don't want it to interfere with your reading experience. If you feel it does, please let me know and I will place them at a different place or go for a different format. Many thanks for your understanding and I hope you enjoy my blog.

Regards,
Lorenz

About them shoes

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

While I'm still waiting patiently for my Navy Blue Indochino suitto arrive, I took a trip to the 1st district of Vienna today. Not only are there some great sights, the 1st district also hosts one of the most famous tailors in Austria (and even Europe?), namely Knize. If you are interested and speak German (or know how to use Google Translator) you can read on here.

I walked around the shop, looking at the Brioni Blazer, cashmere pullovers, a wide selection of ties - and ended up a bit frustrated because I currently cannot afford any of those...I did spend some of my savings on a really delicious pair of Derby shoes though. 




They look cool, don't they? Magnus the cat likes them too. Oh, and if you are interested in shoes or you have a great pair that looks a bit  like it would need some help, check out this blog entry from Dennis Cahlo about revamping shoes.

Speaking about shoes, what would they be without proper socks. If you are a messy guy like me, you'll need to buy a new pair of black socks every other week. Despite all her efforts, my girlfriend just never really managed to make me organize them, so I am ending up throwing out single socks without a matching significant other all the time. To cut a long story short, I found out about that really cool company called Black Socks http://www.blacksocks.com/. You can opt for a "Sockscription" and every once in a while you get a new shipment of classy black socks. Now I never have those arkward mornings, running around the flat to find a matching pair.

One more link that I would like to share with you, this guy from ebay sells classic US army aviator sunglasses at great prices. I got the outfit together, now I just need the suit to arrive...








The ultimate guide to the perfect Indochino suit

Sunday, April 11, 2010

last updated July 12, 2011


Having ordered from Indochino more than 5 times and counting, I would like to present you with the ultimate guide to the perfect Indochino suit. Over time I have perfected the most vital steps and I believe if you follow the advice as laid out below, you will likely get a suit that fits well. Please note that this guide was written specifically for Indochino suits, but may be applied to other online MTM companies as well. 

I will regularly update this guide as I learn about new things. Indochino is constantly growing and evolving, so please bookmark it and check back sometimes for updates (follow me on twitter.com/indochinoreview, on Facebook, or sign up for the RSS feed to get notified). For any suggestions, criticism and questions you can email me directly at lorenz@indochino-review.com. But now on to the interesting part (I know it's not a short read, but if you are about to spend 400$-500$ on a product, it's well worth your time!)


Have the right expectations

The truth is, you are not going to get a suit that rivals truly bespoke suits in the price range of many thousand dollars/euros. However, what you get is  a great product that is well worth the money and surely better than anything  in the same price range that can be bought off the rack (OTR). Indochino is experiencing a period of high growth and it is now vital for them to keep up their quick response rates and fast delivery times, their high customer orientation and their commitment to satisfy.

If you read the interview that I did with Indochino CEO Kyle Vucko back in 2010, you will see that they care a great deal about their customers and they are very quick to react to criticism. Their suits now also have canvas through the lapels and you can order natural shoulders and higher armholes, which gives you more freedom to move in your suit.

Order the Indochino Tailor's Kit to check the fabric



It might not seem that important to you at first and you might think a blue suit is just a blue suit. However, the fabric quality, look and feel make a huge difference. Furthermore, every screen displays colours a bit differently and you might get the wrong impressions. Read more about it here.

So if you you have some time before you order (sometimes their collections sell out quickly, then ordering the Tailor's Kit risks missing out on the suit you might have wanted). The Tailor's Kit is delivered within a few days and the cost of 29$ are credited for a future purchase - it can even be combined with a Groupon coupon. Just a quick word about polyester: even if it is a few dollars cheaper, don't do it. It's just not a material to wear on your skin and has many drawbacks (sweat!).

The Tailor's Kit is delivered within a few days, but if you can't wait, at least go for those fabrics with 100% natural fiber  One other advantage of the Tailor's Kit are the 2 free measuring tapes you get with it.
There is also a constant promotion on both Indochino's Twitter and Facebook accounts, on how to get a free tape measure if you are in the U.S.



Check for discount coupons


Indochino already offers great value for money on default, but that doesn't mean that you have to spend more than necessary. There are periodically great deals that can give you a discount, free shirts or ties and cufflinks. To find out about the best coupons, check my Coupon Page regularly for updates or check on the Indochino website, occasionally they announce their own special deals right there.

While we used to get great promotions very frequently in 2010, 2011 has been quite disappointing so far. We did get numerous Groupon deals at the beginning of the year, but since then it has been calm. Indochino has mentioned numerous times not to plan any Groupon deals or other coupon deals in the future. It is hard to say if they will stick with that plan or if new coupons will come up - I will definitely keep you updated.



Get your measurements right



Indochino promises measuring yourself won't take more than 10 minutes on their website, but this is mainly not to scare customers away with a lengthy measuring process. The truth is, you might just need some time and a good partner to do it properly. What you will also need is a measuring tape (you get 2 of them with their Tailor's Kit) - don't try it with anything else. Follow the video advice as closely as possible, as a rule of thumb: if you are slim, measure rather tight, if you are a bit bigger, measure a bit more generously.

Don't use any tweaks you might find on websites, as they are usually outdated or only valid for the individual that ordered originally. When the Indochino tailors start working on your suit, they consider your weight, your height and they use their experience to maybe tweak the settings a bit as well. In fact, the extend to which they adjust the measurements can be pretty high and the results vary - for some it turns out fine, for others (mostly those with unusual measurements) the fit of the first suit can be pretty off. If you are interested on how many people needed a rework or alterations, you can check the results of my Indochino Survey. I really want to emphasize again how importing accurate measurements are, so please make sure you take your time and be patient with the whole process.

My recommendation is to stick to the video instructions for the first suit and together with your local tailor, your girlfriend, etc. develop some tweaks for future orders or for a remake.

One more thing: If the Indochino tailors believe your measurements are way off, they will write you an email and ask you to confirm or suggest other measurements.

Advanced Options
Part of why ordering a suit from Indochino is so cool are the different customization options you can choose. These can be pretty overwhelming if you are buying your first Indochino suit, so if you want to find out more about what is worth having, check here for more information - the advanced customization menu is pretty well hidden, so make sure you check out how to find it in the link below.

A Guide To Indochino's Advanced Options - Part I - Jacket


Your first Indochino suit is not the final product


Well, it is of course ready to be worn, but you should not expect it to be flawless and fitting perfectly. If you go to a tailor to have a suit made, you will come back at least 1-2 times to check the work in progress and make changes. This is not possible with Indochino suits  (after all, their tailors have never seen you)until you receive the suit at your doorstep. Once you have your suit, regard it as the first fitting test - if there are changes to be made, Indochino will reimburse up to 75$. Don't forget to update your online measurements with the changes your tailor made, so your next suit will not need any changes.

If you are interested in statistics and other people's opinions, you can check out the Indochino Survey I did a while ago (100 participants) for some interesting insights.

It is important you keep that in your mind and don't expect the suit to fit perfectly right away. There are such cases, but chances are that some alterations will be needed on your first order. Be aware of the time and patience that is needed to get a good result - this applies for most other online MTM companies as well. At the end, I believe it's still worth it and I would never go back to OTR suits as it is now.

Remakes: 
If the tailor tells you he cannot alter your suit or you are completely unhappy with it, you can either ask Indochino for a complete rework (within 2 weeks of reception of the suit) or ask for a full refund. Multiple reworks are possible, they want you to be happy. Please note that in case of reworks or refunds you have to send your original suit back and pay for that yourself. Try to avoid high shipping costs by doing some research on the internet before. Also, you don't have to use the original packaging (which is rather heavy) to send back your items. I just recently found out that the returned suits are giving away to charity organisations - nice move.

One more word about remakes - there used to be some cases where remade jackets or pants didn't fit with the original garment. However, Indochino has taken the necessary steps to avoid this:

To get a better understanding of our processes, fabric only mis-matches when we exchange bolts of fabric. Our rotating stock is typically all sourced from a single bolt before it is sold out. As such, the only suits that could be remade with different shades of fabric are those from our Basic Collection.

Because of previous problems with this, we now also note which suits are made from which bolt and when there is the possibility of mis-matching fabric, we remake the entire suit to ensure a consistent and matching shade. (Taken from an email conversation with info@indochino.com from May 4, 2011)

Find a good local tailor

Having a tailor you feel comfortable with is quite an important thing. You don't want to nervously enter some shop and quickly tell them to shorten the sleeves. You may want to tell the tailor a bit about Indochino and how it works, put on the suit and let him take a close look at it.  He can also give you great fashion and style advice. Check this thread at Ask Andy to get an idea about the costs involved, but don't forget to ask your tailor directly on how much it will cost. There is a PDF that gives a quick overview on what on your suit can be altered - included is also a table to write down the changes made (don't forget to update the measurements online). I was a bit hesistant about finding a local tailor at first and actually didn't really spend any time researching. However, they are usually happy about the extra business and it does indeed help to have a tailor you trust and know.


There is a great article about suit alterations and how to find the perfect tailor over at Art Of Manliness. There is also a link on the Indochino website on tailors that have been recommended (link is not officially visible on the Indochino page anymore but still works) by Indochino users. Unfortunately, there are currently only tailors listed in the US and Canada (and one in Germany). Of course you can just use Google or Yelp etc. to find ratings on tailors. 


If something doesn't feel quite right, let them know


Their customer service is very response and helpful, don't feel ashamed or lazy to tell them what you don't like (also let them know if you are happy), so they can improve their product. I have heard many stories of Indochino being very helpful, they really want you to be satisfied. Always give it a try, also if you want some extra customization that is not offered by default. Customer Service at Indochino is really a benchmark for other companies, I have never been disappointed by how responsive and helpful they are.
    A quick word about import tariffs, because the question came up in the comments. It might happen that a local tariff agency calls you to ask for a bill, so they can determine VAT/other tariffs. In my case, they always billed Indochino directly with those tariffs (there was a special 3rd party account mentioned on the import papers). So, if anyone ever had to pay VAT/tariffs themselves, please let me know in the comments, but I know of no occasions.

    All in all, those (currently) 7 steps should give you a great suit. A poll on my website revealed a majority of suits needs some alterations by a local tailor, but don't let that put you off. You usually get a very nice suit and you can cover many of the alterations with the 75$ Indochino reimburses. If your tailor estimates the cost significantly higher than 75$, you might want to consider a remake. In the worst case (and this rarely happens), you will get your money back.

    - Lorenz

    disclaimer: I cannot guarantee that your suit will be perfect if you follow the steps outlined above. I do however believe that they will give you the best possible result.







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    Indochino shirt review

    Saturday, April 10, 2010

    The great Magnificent Bastard has a new special report on custom made shirts up on his website. Reviewed is not only an Indochino shirt, but also a couple of others shirts from companies such as A Tailored Suit, Biased Cut or Inditailored.

    From what I read on the web so far, most people are happy with their Indochino shirts, but most got them for free with a coupon. Many of them mentioned that they wouldn't buy it for the original price.

    The review on Magnificent Bastard likes the simple shirt selection and fast delivery times of Indochino, but criticises the comparably limited selection and the fact that measurements are slightly different from other websites. The shirt turned out fine, they only mentioned that the sleeves were a bit too short and the shirt was a bit tight around the chest. Winning shirt with the perfect fit was the one from Biased Cut.

    Find out more and read all the reviews here: http://www.magnificentbastard.com/features/custom-shirt-reviews/

    The Indochino Shirt

    121Time - Custom swiss watches

    Friday, April 9, 2010

    While I am waiting for my Indochino suit to arrive, I used the Easter Holidays to search around a bit for other custom/made-to-measure fashion items. I stumbled across 121Time, a website that allows you to design your own watch, based on several "base" designs or "themes" as they call it. You can change pretty much everything from straps to bezel and dial and hands.

    Watches are available for men and women and start from as low as 170€ (and go up to 1000€+). Anyone tried them yet and can say a bit more about the quality? I  like the concept and will probably order one soon and review.

    Here you can find some media coverage from their homepage:
    121 Time Press Coverage


    some great links

    Thursday, April 8, 2010

    Primer Magazine - Custom Shirts
    http://www.primermagazine.com/2010/spend/custom-shirts-blank-label

    Great article about ordering custom made shirts on the internet. Special coverage of Blank Label (www.blank-label.com)














    Makr Wallets
    http://www.makr.com/wallets

    Hate carrying those bulky wallets around? The stylish Flap Wallets from Makr are worth a look!





    GQ Guide - Dressing on a Budget
    http://www.gq.com/style/wear-it-now/201004/gq-guide-style-secrets-cheap-budget#slide=1

    Great advice on affordable style, many links and tips - worth taking a look!

    Indochino Review: The one with the funky shoulders

    Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    User "Quatsch" got his Indochino suit and posted a review along with some pictures over at Style Forum. He was so kind to let me put up his review here as well. As you will see, his feelings are a bit mixed, to say the least.




    measurements used: followed video advice, no tweaks
    hemmed or unhemmed: unhemmed
    the verdict: refund
    shoulders are massively too big, probably a full inch to inch and a half. I went back to the website and checked my measurement profile and on the shoulders measurement it says 19 inches, which perplexes me because I *very* distinctly remember measuring and entering 18 inches for the shoulder.
    I think the pants are fine. The suit has problems in the shoulders and sleeves. I requested a soft shoulder and while the shoulder itself has little or no padding, the top of the sleeve seems to have a fair bit, and I'm unsure about the effect this creates. The sleeves are too big in between the shoulder and the forearm. Probably all the way down.
    Something else I'd like to point out is that the lapel roll ends three inches about where the first button is (its a two-button jacket. It looks as if they made a three-button coat and simply never cut a whole for the top button.
     

    Longer delivery times

    According to the Indochino Website and their customer service, all orders made after March 23rd 2010 are subject to a 21 -28 day delivery time. You might not get an extra email about that, so be prepared to wait a bit longer for your suit.

    Indochino's development according to Google Insights

    Tuesday, April 6, 2010

    Google Insights is a helpful tool to find out about trending topics and current hypes. I have taken a quick look at Indochino and what Google comes up with. The graph below reveals a rapid and almost uninterrupted growth over the past years.



    It's safe to assume that this growth has not peaked quite yet. A closer look at the analysis reveals that while Indochino is shipping worldwide, a vast majority of interest is still coming from Canada and the US.

    If you are interested, you can check the whole thing here.

    Important Indochino reviews in a nutshell - Part I

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    The Style Forum Thread
    Style Forum

    One of the most extensive resources on Indochino suits on the Internet, this thread (started in 2008) now already stretches over 11 pages. In a way, this thread showcases the evolution of Indochino from a small start-up with fashion mistakes (lower button on suit done) to a company that more and more people are happy with. Opinions are mixed with probably, most criticism goes towards the use of polyester, unclear situation about lining (fused or fully canvased). Overall, results seem to be mixed, but I believe a lot of it has to do with the measurements.

    The Red Flag Deals Thread
    Red Flag Deals 


    Another extensive thread, with discussions worth 13 pages. Again, the measurements are the main topic of concern and opinions vary. Many people claim that following the video instructions will give you a baggy suit, however some others found the result to be very good. Generally, many people seem to make use of the tweaks as suggested on the Made To Measure NY blog (linked in the link list on the left). You should watch this thread for great deals - I got 25% off and a free shirt and tie this way :)

    Indochino CEO Kyle Vucko and others in a discussion about fashion & the Internet

    The Indochino Tailor's Kit

    When I read the many online reviews on Indochino, I noticed some people criticising the fact that you cannot check the fabric quality before the purchase. This was also something I am very concerned with, so I ordered the Indochino Tailor's Kit (29$ or around 22€). It arrived within a few days and I'm quite impressed how professional it looks. I did not order any samples containing polyester, I really don't believe in polyester suits...

    I chose several fabrics for suits, shirts and outerwear and additionally you get lining samples, a sample button and two measuring tapes (very useful!). The fabric all looks quite good, but not special. Nothing to be excited about, but it confirms that you get good quality for money and that Indochino is very transparent about their business.

    I believe that honesty pays off and the transparency coupled with the high customer orientation differentiates Indochino from countless other online suit makers. 

    Below find some pics of the Tailor Kit


    Indochino - the importance of correctly measuring yourself

    Saturday, April 3, 2010

    Correct measurements are vital for a good suiting suit, especially if you do not have the luxury of several fittings and changes at your favourite tailor. How do you get the best results for your Indochino suit?

    Dennis from Made to Measure NY refined his measurements and recommends to input a couple of inches less here and there for a slimmer fit (mainly on your biceps and waist). While these tweaks seem to work very well for Dennis, I am a bit sceptical if they can generally be applied for everyone. After all, the changes Dennis implemented are in relation to his body and 4 inches less for him might be quite a bit too much for someone else (we'd have to calculate his tweaks in percentage of his original measurements to be correct).

    The customer service from Indochino recommends to follow the instructions on the videos. Obviously, this makes sense for Indochino, as they need to get measurements that are based on the same assumptions.

    Angie from Indochino's customer support describes the whole process as follows:

    Your suit actually goes through 4 measurement processes, 1) The measurements you take yourself, 2) Our operations tweaks your measurements based on the standard measurements of someone for your weight and height, 3) The tailor then further updates your measurements based on his years of experience of cutting suits to your height and weight. 4) Finally when we send you the suit, we then ask for any alterations or remake changes based on the suit that was sent to you to get you a perfect fit. Once our customer goes through this process once, the 2nd time around we do not make any major adjustments nor will our customer need to re-meassure themselves on future orders because you will have a perfect fitting suit measurement.

    The measurements that are first submitted are never the measurements used on our suits, this is used as a base to be able to give you a perfect fitting suit and why we ask for all future updates to always be based on the items received and not your first measurements.

    [...] We are constantly changing our measurement process and find if you follow our measurement process you get the best fitting suit. Most websites that suggest taking measurements are old and provide information that may have been valid then but now is not.
    What becomes clear is also that Indochino doesn't consider the suit shipped to you to be the final product. They know that changes might be necessary and ask you to update your measurements after your local tailor has worked his magic. The next time your suit should be just perfect.

    Thus, it seems safest to stick to the Indochino videos when you order your first suit - there is of course a risk that your suit turns out a bit more baggy than it looks on the website. I actually wonder why Indochino doesn't just offer to options: slim fit and normal fit. This would probably clear up the whole situation a bit and give better results overall?

    What this is all about

    I recently stumbled across Indochino.com while reading my favourite daily newspaper and I really got interested. Indochino, the brain child of two Canadian students (or rather former students), is a company that sells custom made suits and shirts online. You input your measurements following some pretty detailed videos and order your suit. Prices are great (around 250€ or 350$) and they ship worldwide, within 2 weeks. If your suit doesn't fit, they pay for your local tailor to fix it (up to 55€ or 75$), or you can apply for a free remake - or you consider the suit worthless and you get your money back.

    Information and reviews about Indochino are spread all around the web. I will try to gather the most up-to-date and most relevant information here, post links to forums and write my own insights about Indochino (I have recently ordered my first suit from them). If you have any suggestions, comments, etc - please let me know :)

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