Movers & Shakers Q&A with David Hathiramani
Brought to you by Retailinsider.com and K3 Retail
David Hathiramani, co-founder of A Suit That Fits
1. What is the greatest opportunity for your business?
The opportunity we see for the business is the same as the one we saw when we started – to revolutionise the bespoke tailoring industry and bring it onto the high street as an affordable purchase option. A Suit That Fits is a bespoke tailoring company – we ethically hand-tailor suits, shirts and overcoats – starting from £259. With men’s style coming to the forefront of the fashion world at the moment (for example, the British Fashion Council has launched its London Collection: Men) it’s a really exciting time for us as a men’s style brand.
2. What is the biggest challenge to your business?
The biggest challenge for our business is ensuring that our team keeps the agile and entrepreneurial spirit as we grow from a small business to a SME.
3. With the benefit of hindsight what would you have done differently so far?
When we started the business, we introduced it as the world’s first online tailoring company. We quickly realised that customers wanted to see us in person and so we began building a network of studios and pop-up TailorStops which now total 30 – in hindsight, we could have introduced the business to customers that way.
4. What is the future of the physical store?
There will always be a role for the physical store – but perhaps not quite as we now know it now. Face-to-face interaction with customers is invaluable when they are first introduced to a brand and a new product; however, in future, the format, size and function of the store will develop with the customer’s lifestyle as it always has done when you look back at the history of retailing.
5. What will the high street look like in a decade?
It is difficult to predict as the high street adapts according to the current climate; more and more new brands are emerging, giving the high street a unique feel.
6. Will mobile devices be the primary sales channel in the future?
I don’t think you can pin down just one, as different channels work together. More and more, mobile phones are being used for quick information access – but I don’t think this will ever replace other channels as a sales channel on its own – all channels will work together to introduce an omni-retail experience for the customer.
7. What other retail business do you admire?
I admire the Dell business model and the idea of mass customisation – I was lucky enough to have a session with Michael Dell who advised us to introduce a Net Promoter Score to our business to help with customer service. For different reasons, I like how the Cambridge Satchel Company suddenly seems to have emerged as a young, fresh, entrepreneurial business and taken the fashion world by storm.
8. If you hadn’t been a retailer what would you have liked to do?
I’ve always been entrepreneurial so, although my background is in IT, I think I would have always started up my own business.
9. What marks out of 10 do you give yourself so far for achievement?
I wouldn’t want to give myself marks of achievement, but I’m so pleased that we’ve managed to build a team around us who we’ve working with to drive the brand forward to 10 studios and over 20 pop-up TailorStops nationwide in six short years.
10. Who would you place in the Top 20 Multi-channel/e-commerce Movers & Shakers?
Nick Robertson from ASOS is somewhat of a retail entrepreneur – seeing how the business has developed online and within its market over the years is quite something.