In the research for our recently released Future Of Retail report, PSFK came across, ShirtsMyWay.com, a China-based e-retailer of custom dress shirts, allows customers total control of the dress shirt – everything from the fabric weight to the buttons on the cuffs – allowing for over 7 trillion possible shirt variations. This made-to-measure service ensures consumers a great fit without having to leave home. With guaranteed delivery within nine days of an order, free shipping worldwide, and prices between $75 and $175, ShirtsMyWay.com provides a high quality and affordable dress shirt customization option for men. We reached out to founders Peter Crawfurd and Michael Yang to get their thoughts.
Tell us about ShirtsMyWay. How does it work? Who is your target audience? What do you think distinguishes your service from other customized menswear retailers online?
ShirtsMyWay.com is about making dress shirt shopping more personal. The typical way of shopping for dress shirts is heading down to the store and picking up a standard sized shirt, the problem with this is that for most people they don’t actually fit that well. The common problems are that there is too much fabric around the waist, sleeves are too long, or the collar is too tight. Most people experience one of these issues when buying standard sized shirts as opposed to custom dress shirts.
So ShirtsMyWay solves this problem by letting shoppers take measurements and get a shirt made according to their specific build. This ensures a much better fit than you’d get from a standard shirt.
On top of the sizing aspect customers can customize the look of their shirt in great detail using the shirt designer on our site. That includes choosing the type of collar, cuffs, buttonhole colors, combining different fabrics on the shirt and much more.
Our target audience is the white collar office man between 23 and 60. Although most people order our shirts for the office, many also use them for events like parties, weddings, or dinners. Our service is quite unique to other customized menswear retailers online in that we offer far more options. In fact, we offer over 7 trillion different shirt designs on our site. We focus only on shirts and make sure that our customers get shirts they are happy with through personal customer service. We also offer free shipping to many countries and can deliver in 9 business days.
We have noticed a range of services that allow customers to design and/or order customized products, which are often available to scale. Do you see this trend manifesting on a wider scale? How so?
We launched in 2009 and since then we’ve seen a definite increase in customizable products online. It’s important that these customizable products actually meet a demand, some of them are unique and interesting but not as useful. For those it might be more challenging to gain a more consistent customer base. There will certainly be more customization available with time, but for a lot of products the need for customization is not as strong. To answer your question, then yes there is a trend and once customization has saturated more traditional items we’ll see a lot more unique products offered on a customized level.
What do you see the key factors driving bespoke services offered at scale? Do you believe this is something that shoppers have come/will come to expect?
I think one of the key advantages to bespoke services today is that with globalization and the internet it’s possible to make the service available at a far more affordable rate than it would be if you got it in an offline retail shop. For example bespoke shirts will often cost $200 or more at offline stores while at a site like ShirtsMyWay prices start at $75. Customization is nice but there also have to be an economic incentive for the customer, while keeping a high quality level. This can be applied to many other niches as well.
I think over the next ten years customization will be quite common across far more niches and people will come to expect customizable options of otherwise mass produced products.
How will you ensure that customers complete the measurement process successfully? Do you offer any tutorials or other inter-platform features to assist shoppers?
We have a step by step guide on our website where customers can either take measurements from a shirt that already fits them or they can take body measurements. By taking measurements from a shirt that already fits them well they can clone that same fit and get any design they like. This way they’ll always know they can get dress shirts that fit with pretty much any design they want.
For every order, we go through the measurements to check for any irregularities, if there are any we make sure to correct it. It is of course important that customers follow our guide carefully to get the best fit. Only a few of our customers have had problems with not getting the fit exactly how they want it, in those cases we make sure to sort out so that they get a fit they love.
Many customers love the flexibility of design options we offer and others like it more simple. That is typically seen when customers decide to order shirts with one fabric instead of combining different fabrics to make it more unique. We’ve had cases ranging from customers having different lengths of arms and need us to accommodate the sleeves for that to shirts for groomsmen that should match the brides dress.
As mentioned earlier, one big problem we are addressing is the fit issue, most people have problems getting dress shirts that fit properly online and offline.
Here is a video explaining how ShirtsMyWay works:
Thanks Peter and Michael!