It’s wedding season! The majority of weddings take place from May to October, and planning for the big day starts months in advance. According to The Knot 2017 Real Wedding Study, the average wedding costs $33,391, with $1,800 spend on attire. The study also revealed that personalization has become a priority for couples as they plan their weddings. Several data-based formalwear startups have recently launched, offering affordable customized attire for brides and grooms on their big days.
For native tech users accustomed to ecommerce as a typical means of shopping for attire, formalwear startups are a natural extension of shopping habits, with the added bonus of customization and convenience.
Wedding Formalwear For Men That Goes Beyond Tux Rentals
The Groomsman Suit was founded by two women, one of whom, Jeanne Foley, didn’t like the tuxedo rental process her husband went through when they married. Foley and her business partner Diana Ganz imagined a better way. “We realized men were gravely under-served in this [wedding attire] market,” said Foley. “Women have such an experience getting ready for a wedding, either as a bride or a bridesmaid. With men, it’s a daunting, inconvenient, expensive process.”
Founded in 2016 on Kickstarter, offering just five suit and tuxedo options, The Groomsmen Suit has since grown to a 22,000 square-foot warehouse and showroom in Chicago, which carries 80,000 pieces at all times to allow for quick order turnaround. Although the showroom is not a true brick and mortar, an option the founders aren’t interested in, it is available to Chicago shoppers for in-person fittings. However, most transactions take place online using The Groomsman Suit’s predictive software system. The online fit finder tallies the groom’s size and style preferences to determine the best suit and fit for the big day. “Usually we get within one size because our algorithm is very, very accurate,” said Ganz. “But if we don’t nail it, we offer free and unlimited exchanges.”
By providing a customized suit or tuxedo to buy for less than the cost of a rental, and with faster turnaround, The Groomsman Suit has been able to uniquely position themselves in the men’s formalwear market. The Groomsman Suit has grown quickly with $10 million in online sales predicted in 2019. Foley and Ganz plan to experiment with new marketing opportunities, after seeing most of their growth come from organic SEO and word of mouth.
Using Data To Scale Revenue Growth And Automate Customization
When husband and wife Anomalie co-founders Calley Means and Leslie Voorhees got married in 2016, Voorhees used her knowledge of bridal workshops in China to design her custom wedding gown at a fraction of what she would have spent ordering it through a retailer, without compromising quality. Voorhees’ custom gown became the start of their business Anomalie, a custom wedding direct-to-consumer (DTC) business that now creates dresses for hundreds of brides each month. “By partnering with these workshops and selling direct to brides, we’re able to offer a much better price and almost unlimited customization,” said Voorhees.
The purchasing process is designed to offer a custom experience for the bride, while also creating a scalable revenue model for Anomalie. During an initial consultation phone call, the bride is asked a series of questions about the vision she has for her dress. Those answers are put into a responsive survey form, which directs successive questions that collect data to further the customization of the bride’s dress.
The feeling of a bespoke gown remains intact for brides, while the process and products become scalable for the brand. “As we are creating thousands of custom dresses in our second year, we’re increasingly able to spot trends and make operations more efficient to accomplish this goal of mass customization,” said Voorhees. And, while it’s obvious that Anomalie’s data-based solutions are integral to their success, continuing to encourage growth in the company via word-of-mouth excitement and enthusiasm from their brides is also a top priority.
Digital Innovation In The Wedding Industry Offers New Opportunities
Despite recent difficulties in the wedding industry, the total revenue for wedding services in 2019 was estimated at $76 billion, an increase of 0.3% annual growth over the past five years. This steady growth and the willingness by brides and grooms to use technology as a planning tool for their weddings offers startup brands like The Groomsman Suit and Anomalie opportunities to use digital innovations to disrupt the wedding attire industry and angle for market share.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Sarah Cavill