Custom clothing company J. Hilburn launched its first e-commerce website on March 23. Th site, which the company created in-house, features sophisticated social media and e-mail sharing mechanisms.
Prior to the launch, J. Hilburn’s products were available exclusively through more than 800 personal style advisors nationwide who would meet with customers to take measurements and provide fashion suggestions. Customers can now make purchases through the company’s website, although they still have to meet with an advisor in person.
“Men will still meet with style advisors to take measurements, but now they can also peruse the sites prior to their meetings, order ready-to-wear items, reorder custom shirts, and share ideas virtually with their advisors,” said Veeral Rathod, cofounder of the company.
Asked why fittings must still occur in-person, Rathod said: “Most men won’t take the time to measure themselves, or they won’t do it accurately. If they do it [incorrectly] online, the shirts will ultimately get returned and the customer will feel like it’s our fault.”
The site, which cost $250,000 to build, enables customers to build and share outfits on Facebook, Twitter and through e-mail. Ultimately, Rathod said he would like to build “a most popular styles section” and “coolest shirt voting.”
“You can’t build a brand online,” said Rathod, explaining J. Hilburn’s hybrid e-commerce and in-person approach. “Most men don’t like going to the mall, they don’t like browsing, and they have a hard time with what to wear and how things should fit. But now is the time to extend the brand [online] and offer the customers another avenue to shop.”