For the second year in succession, the UK has a very worthy Dell Small Business Excellence Award winner in the (well-tailored) shape of A Suit That Fits.com. And like all great business stories, there’s a humble beginning.
Warren Bennett had always had a passion for suits, which became more than an interest after a high quality fine woollen suit was made for him whilst doing voluntary work in Nepal in 2005. On his return to the UK, he met up with old schoolfriend David Hathiramini, who like Warren had a keen eye for fine suits. Together, they decided to combine their engineering and software backgrounds to simplify and improve tailoring. And it’s from here that A Suit That Fits.com was born.
Four years on and Warren and David, as co-founders and directors, can enjoy the recognition from Dell and its global partners of being a truly innovative and customer-focused business.
Like a fine French wine or classic Swiss timepiece, there’s something seriously sophisticated and timeless about a hand-made tailored suit – and quintessentially British. Offer them at high street prices with complete control over design and you’ve got one half of a sustainable business. Bring in unique web technology to enable this customisation and a highly skilled manufacturing base in Nepal and you’ve got a winner.
In three years, Warren and David have sold over 17,000 suits – recording very impressive year on year growth – and boast 22,000 registered members. A Suit That Fits.com is also No.1 on Google-ranking for “tailored suits” and 36% of customers reorder online within six months of buying their first suit. Today, 85% of existing customers reorder online, without having to visit one of their 4 branches in London or ‘Travelling Tailorstops’. These statistics certainly cut an impressive figure.
With their tailors in Nepal paid more than 50% over the local rate for manufacture, together with 5% from all suit costs donated to projects in the Nepalese community, there’s a strong sense of ethical responsibility at work.
A Suit That Fits.com emerged from a very strong field to take this year’s prestigious UK award title. They are a great example to small businesses everywhere that success can be achieved with a great business idea, hard work and innovative and imaginative use of technology. Our congratulations to Warren, David and the whole team. To hear from the winners, check out the video below.
So last year it was worms, this year it’s suits. I wonder what we’ll be celebrating in 2010?