If you want to succeed in today’s competitive business world, regardless of your niche, you need to befriend data analysis and 3D technology. Just ask Suuchi.
Suuchi is the founder of Suuchi Inc. – a one stop solution for all wardrobe needs. Disrupting the clothing industry, Suuchi is making custom mainstream with clothes starting USD 15. Using a combination of cool 3D technology and big data analysis to fit each unique taste & body, Suuchi is transforming the custom industry from ‘snooty’ to ‘every woman accessible’.
Suuchi’s products are ALL made in the United States, in their warehouses in New Jersey and they ship to customers in 5 days.
Want to know more about Suuchi and her cool startup? Here’s our exclusive Q&A:
Ivan Widjaya (Q): Hi, Suuchi – please tell us a bit about you and your innovative, game-changing startup, Suuchi Inc.
Suuchi (A): First, thanks Ivan for the interest! Kudos to your efforts in drawing attention to young business stories.
I am Suuchi, a geek that loves clothes and all things classic style. I was raised in the East and traveled across Asian countries through work. Being a petite woman, regular retail never fit me – wearing retail was abuse to style & confidence. I discovered that the solution was to have my best friends, my tailors, on speed dial!
When I first started making my own clothes with tailors, I was just out of school and on a tight budget. And even if I’d had the money, I would not spend big amounts on clothes – I was raised to know that I didn’t need to be validated by wearing expensive, big brands. So the custom clothes I got done were both inexpensive and beautiful, the perfect combination. I loved the magic of having something made lighting quick and wearing it the day after I’d imagined it.
But when I moved home to the US, clothing became a nightmare. There was almost no channel for women’s custom wear. And the few places I found custom…it seemed I’d have to sell my organs and then on top, give 2 pounds of flesh to pay for them. And so that’s how Suuchi Inc was born.
There is a powerful sensuality I feel when I wear something made just for me. Every woman in the United States deserves that feeling, and this seems just a loud, insanely huge gap to me! She (every woman) just has to change the way she shops and wears her clothes! And she shouldn’t have to break the bank doing that.
Q: You attempt to solve problems for women by adopting advanced analytics. I’m a geek – so I can understand you (a little). For the rest of us, can you tell us how it works? Why analyzing data is so important for you?
A: While custom fashion and style have been my art for over 15 years, my formal education & career was developed in data and advanced analytics. I have solved interesting problems for many fashion retailers using the science of data. To me if we have to change how clothing is made, worn and purchased, the answer is data and visualization. Suuchi makes all clothes in the US (our warehouses are in North Bergen, NJ), our pieces start at USD 15, and we can ship out in as quickly as 24 hours!
If you think about it, these 3 factors – cost, speed and US manufacturing – intuitively combat one another. The reason we’re able to have these 3 factors come together in happy confluence is because we use data. Our data guides the pattern science, so we pick patterns that work for body types. Our data guides our supply chain efficiencies in terms of inventory forecasting (we don’t carry finished products inventory, just fabrics) and shipping time. And our data guides our pricing.
We have a business model with an inventive margin-revenue relationship to work toward our long-term disruptive vision. If some of this seems very high level, feel free to email me at [email protected].
In essence, data guides our every action. We’re always obsessively measuring, analyzing, iterating. We’ve also established early partnerships with data science companies that specialize in studying women’s data – this has been super helpful.
The visualization part cannot be ignored. We use some very cool and unique 3D and photo graphics technology to allow users to put together styles from scratch. You can play with our photos online and dynamically click different fabrics to see how it looks on the models. If you are a designer at heart, want to create a look from scratch, you can play dress up on our mannequin (we call her ‘Bee’) and put together your own design.
Q: You claim that Suuchi Inc. will be able to make custom clothing first choice within 5 days, all manufactured in the US – that’s pretty amazing! How can you achieve such turnaround time?
A: Having friends & family in the East, it would hypothetically have been easy to get manufacturing done there. But our team is rigidly passionate about the advantages of making right here at home. We’re first players in womens’ mainstream custom clothing, and quality is the most important metric. We would lose sight of that quality if we outsourced manufacturing.
So first, making everything here is the first parameter positively influencing rapid execution.
The second factor is how we collaborate. Everything happens in one large warehouse. We have organized compartments for picking, cutting, sewing and shipping. Customer service and marketing also sits in the same warehouse. So we’re all communicating 24/7, in fact, since most of our team is women, we’re always over communicating!
The third factor is our choice in patterns. We’re not trend driven in our choice of styles. Our patters are simple, classic styles that we tweak and re-tweak many times before releasing on the website. That has made us faster and helped drastically reduce returns. Fourth, we do it all online; no measuring yourself with a tailor/no pop-up store visits. Our next website iteration release in 2 weeks, in fact, will even eliminate the need to use a measuring tape.
Q: What’s your plan for Suuchi Inc. in the future?
A: Haha! As a founder, I am also obviously a crazy dreamer. Our vision is to make custom the only choice for clothing, for it to replace regular retail. That’s not an overnight thing, right? So in the short and medium term, the plan is to work things forward and make tangible, measurable progress every day across our various functions.
Our marketing team’s focus is to make our brand a household name. On the execution side, we’re always anal about quality and making returns 0%. We want to get better than 5 days and equal regular retail shipping time or beat it. Our buying team goes berserk finding the best fabrics at the best bargains. We want our customer service to be best in class, and win hearts, and this function is arguably most critical in a relatively new field like custom clothing. AND, we want to build an A-plus, authentic, hardworking team. As long as we make progress in each of these functions, every day, we are on track to making our long term vision a reality.
Whether, it’s Suuchi that does it, or someone else, I believe with iron-strength conviction that custom is the way the world of fashion will go.
Q: Please share your tips for our readers who are interested in starting up a fashion-related business.
A: Well what I’ve learned would apply to any business really. I’ll pick and talk about 3. The first is making daily progress. Challenges will keep coming up, and every few days, something will seem big enough to tear down all progress. I just focus on getting through that day and charging forward with the day’s goals. Focus on the short term, and the long term takes care of itself.
Second is the fun aspect. This ride can be so overwhelming that sometimes you forget to have fun and forget to feel the excitement. For each of us entrepreneurs, the struggles can drown the voice of the dream. Our team remembers to have fun together. And sometimes, I just like to sit alone with a glass of neat Whiskey and say to myself, ‘f***, I’m actually doing this!’
Third, my biggest learning is my team. Our group is gorgeous and crazy and each in love with one another. I made some mistakes early on with the team members, but also quickly, ended the wrong relationships. I’ve realized how important it is, especially at the start, to fill the team with the right people. Not just the team, but everyone we interact and collaborate has to strongly believe. Our team is our strongest asset. Each of us is in it for the right reasons, and no one person is bigger than the whole.
Huge thanks Ivan for carving out time to chat with us. We would love for your support to introduce Suuchi to the larger world.
Thanks all the same, Suuchi, and much success in your endeavor!