Andrew Blackmon of The Black Tux shares how the company is using machine-learning models to streamline the fitting process
When Patrick Coyne and I launched The Black Tux, we never expected such an incredible response. Following a positive piece in GQ magazine, demand for our rental garments was so high that we found ourselves with a waitlist of over 30,000 new customers. This obviously created cause for concern—while the initial demand was a great proof-of-concept (we were clearly solving a need), we didn’t want our potential new customers to seek an alternative tux rental given we were out of inventory. Pre-launch, we had envisioned steady growth that we could measure over time, but the quick (and overwhelming) interest created a new obstacle that we were unprepared for. We took the time to listen to our customers and cater to a larger group than we had planned. To our surprise, customers were willing to wait until our inventory was sorted, which bought us time to resolve the issue. We quickly realized that in order to retain a healthy amount of inventory and cut down on potential shortages in the future, we needed to raise more capital, which we eventually did.