Interview: Crystal Walton, Product Marketing Manager Indochino

Friday, January 18, 2013

Interview Crystal Walton Indochino

At the end of 2012 I sat down and thought a bit of what I could offer my readers for 2013. I remember the interview with Indochino CEO Kyle Vucko I had done in 2010 and thought felt it was time for an interview of some sorts again. I got the chance to do an informal email interview with Indochino's Product Marketing Manager, Crystal Walton. Read on for the full story below.

Q: As Indochino's Product Marketing Manager, how does a usual day at work look like for you?

This depends on what is going on with the company so it can vary quite a bit. For example I could be at the Traveling Tailor assisting clients, VIPs, leading a style presentation, or taking our street teams around whatever city we are visiting to pass out promotional collateral. Gearing up to Traveling Tailor I am usually immersed in writing copy and looking over visual assets while planning whatever marketing events will be occuring at the TT (Ex. style presentations, street teams) If we do not currently have a Traveling Tailor coming up or on the go I am usually working on a major collection or product launches whether that be writing product descriptions, collection slogans and landing page creative or even at our Shanghai office at a photoshoot. 

Q: The Indochino Traveling Tailor events have raised quite some attention last year, you are also part of the team working on that. How satisfied are you with the events?

Overall I have been happy with what we have been able to achieve with these events – bringing our offline business to major cities and allowing men who may have been considering Indochino but had hesitations for whatever reasons to have a personal interaction with our brand. That to me is priceless. It's easy to buy from an online company, but to meet someone who is immersed in the brand, touch the product before you purchase and have a really positive personal experience is something you cant’t put a price on and I’m happy we are able to deliver this.

Q: It seems the Traveling Tailor events are constantly evolving. I noticed there are now models showcasing Indochino clothes outside the event locations. It's all becoming more and more professional and innovative. Are there any plans of having a constant shop set up in key markets?

This is something we have definitely thought about and there has been no lack of requests for us to make this happen. At this point in time I can’t give a definite yes or no on whether that will transpire or not – it's all about the right opportunity that makes sense for our brand.

Q: When you look at those customers who got measured at the Traveling Tailor events, do you see a higher satisfaction rate or an even lower remake rate? Is the target group different from the online buyers, perhaps older or more conservative?

Currently both the satisfaction rate and the remake rate of those who attend our Traveling Tailor events is about flush with those who participate in the online experience. Those who attend events have a much higher expectation than those ordering online so its important to keep that in mind when analyzing results. The target group is pretty similar, some people are just not online shoppers so they don’t feel comforable to purchase online but will happily attend an event where they can deal with another person. As this is still a new initiative for us we are contantly looking at ways to streamline and improve the process at event, we feel more confident than ever given how successful the New York TT was that we are on the right track.

Q: What was the most memorable, the best collection 2012 in your opinion and why?

Personally I would have to say the Deco Collection was the most memorable for me. My role allows me to see the collection come together from the early stages and I just knew it was going to be special from the beginning. I was actually in Shanghai and attended this photoshoot and I was blown away by the fabrics before they were even on the models – that says a lot. I think this collection was so successful because we stayed true to what the customer wanted, great looking quality suits, but really played up the styling aspect with the different patterns and colors and touched on the current trend of 1920’s style. 

Q: You're also responsible for naming all the new collections and for the content on the website in general. How do you get the inspiration for all the names?

I normally drill down into one specific aspect of the collection then do some indepth research on whatever I’ve chosen that I feel is both unique, and complelling. For example with the Deco Collection I took inspiration from 1920’s culture – popular dances, common nicknames etc. Same thing for the Superhero Collection – superhero powers, actions, etc. Whatever I think will resonate with the customer and make them remember the name when someone asks them about their suit “Oh I got this from Indochino, it’s called the White Lightning Suit”.

Q: Perhaps you can share some statistical info with us, what was the most sold suit 2012? The most sold shirt? The most sold customization option would also be interesting. 

The classic pieces that every guy needs are always our top sellers – The Essential Gray Suit & The White Essential Wrinkle-Free Shirt. Many of our customers are coming to us to buy their first suit so they are looking for those staple pieces that can be mixed and matched to make a wide variety of wardrobe options. To narrow down the most chosen customization option is a lot harder. Our default options are by far the most popular as many people choose to go with what is recommended however there is not one in particular which stands out more than the others. 

Q: I collected some questions from readers, there were a couple of product related questions people asked. Are there any plans to make features such as higher armholes, full canvas, lower/higher button stance an official choice?

Great questions. At this time we are striving to make improvements to our patterns as a whole so customers do not have to worry about an abundance of customization options that could potentially add complexity to the process. With this being said when there is a strong demand for one particular customization for a continued period of time we will offer it as an option like we did with our recent double-breasted customization addition.

Q: A couple of customers seem to have noticed a change in the construction method. Have there been any recent changes, e.g. fusing in different parts or less canvas in the lapels?

Absolutely, we made significant changes to our suit patterns recently. We talk about them in the new section of our website Some highlights are improvements to the inner components, (interlining, fusible, etc. are all now from renowned supplier Freudenberg) hand-stiched arm/shoulders for a better form and drape as well new Helsa shoulder pads which are thinner, lighter and formed in a curve before sewn into your jacket for a more natural looking shoulder line.

Q: What can we expect for 2013? 
Constant improvements to suit patterns and fit, more customer support, sku expansion in all our product categories not just suits and of course unique and innovative collections filled with great looking suits.

Interview with:
Crystal Walton
Product Marketing Manager

by Lorenz Loidl