Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting two very handsome men, Brian Luscombe and Jeff Settle of Tailored Republic, as I'm wont to do at all the various functions I attend. However, this time our meeting revolved around fashion.
Men's fashion that is.
I was thrilled to see this company representing at Cross Campus and others focused on men's fashion too because for the past seven years of covering LA Fashion Week, it was rare to find any menswear at all! As a result, I decided to interview them to learn more about this new LA Fashion Startup.
Brian Luscombe (L) and Jeff Settle (R), co-founders of Tailored Republic showcasing their company during the Digital LA/Cross Campus Fashion Show.
What are your backgrounds and how did you two find each other?
Jeff: I met Brian when I was in fourth grade. I had just moved from LA to Portland, Oregon and we went to the same elementary school together. It was there that we started wreaking havoc on the playground and forming our friendship. In sixth grade, I moved back down to LA.
We continued to keep in touch, especially throughout college, where I would make trips to Brian's Alma Mater, USC, and he would make trips to mine, ASU. I got my degree in Finance with an emphasis in entrepreneurship and started building business plans and businesses.
Brian: Our friendship really forged over youth sports. I remember Jeff’s basketball team struggling with our much more dominant on-court presence.
Growing up as a young boy in Portland, I always knew that I wanted to go to college in California to study engineering (when I was really young I would say I wanted to be “an inventor”) and that is exactly what I eventually did.
I know from hearing your story Jeff, you were traveling when you had the brainstorm. How did you afford to travel, what were you doing before traveling, and how long were you gone before you had the brainstorm/idea/concept?
Jeff: I sold my stake in a startup business I had been working on and that afforded me the ability to travel. A lot of people have the misconception that traveling is expensive. Going on a vacation is expensive, but long term traveling, especially in cheap places like SE Asia, is actually cheaper than paying for rent stateside.
Nha Trang, a coastal city and capital of Khanh Hoa province, on the South Central Coast of Vietnam
I had been travelling through SE Asia for 2.5 months and had been doing a lot of eye-opening activities before the idea for Tailored Republic came to me.
After the retreat, I journeyed up the coast of Vietnam on a $150 dirt bike and arrived in Hoi An, where the countless number of custom tailors inspired the idea to bring the experience stateside and Tailored Republic was born.
How long has Tailored Republic been in business?
Jeff: We incorporated the business March 31 of 2012 and we started selling suits to clients in October of 2012. We decided to establish a “ground game” selling suits to customers in person for months before we launched the full online experience. This allowed us to get a better idea of what customers wanted and how we could deliver an excellent experience to them, from the initial interactions to the final, delivered product.
What size is a typical Tailored Republic client?
Jeff: All Sizes! We offer suits that fit, meaning we suit short, tall, normal, and abnormal. That's the beauty of our business; we can make a suit that fits anyone.
Brian: Yeah, a lot of people say to us “I want to lose some weight before I buy a made-to-measure suit.” But what they don’t realize is that we build the suits to make you look as flattering as possible. Everybody looks excellent if the suit fits.
Why do people choose to work with Tailored Republic?
Brian: We make them happy and we make them look good. When our clients work with us, we give them an experience that is much more suited to the modern man than being dragged unwillingly around a department store. A lot of modern men love the convenience of being able to get an amazing wardrobe with a few simple clicks.
We give them a suit that brings out their confidence. When you're wearing a custom tailored suit, it’s the difference between opening the door as you walk into a restaurant and having the door opened up for you. The way you feel and the way people look at you is completely changed. And our clients love that feeling.
What are the benefits and features Tailored Republic offers?
Brian: Our service provides savings in terms of cost and time. By eliminating a lot of the wasteful overhead costs associated with having a brick and mortar store, we deliver a better suit for money spent and we provide a convenient way for customers to build their wardrobe.
We also provide options. Our customers are shocked at the level of customizability that we can offer them and deliver upon. If you have any additional requests that you don’t see on the website just shoot us an email or give us a call. Full canvas? We can do it. Double-breasted? Sure. Magicians have even reached out to us about suits with special built-in pockets. Yeah, we can do that too. That is the beauty of full customization.
Do you have any investors and what was the process like to find them? What stage are you currently?
Jeff: Our Seed investor was StartEngine. Finding them was not too difficult. They were doing a pretty good job of generating press and we checked them out. We applied and they brought us in for an initial interview. From there, we got funded and the business was set into motion. After the initial seed funding, a couple of close friends of mine have leant a helping hand, both financially and from a mentor perspective, so I certainly want to give a big thanks to Chris Kennedy and Tim Cheney.
We're currently generating traction and building ways to connect with even more of our customers.
Brian: To add on to what Jeff was saying, we would really like to build as much of this business the “old-fashioned way” as possible; sell some suits, make a profit, and then invest this profit back into the business. Doing this allows control of the company to stay in our hands and also allows us to immediately focus on expanding our customer base as opposed to spending all of our time trying to raise capital.
What are your long-term goals for Tailored Republic?
Brian: I would love to see Tailored Republic become the go-to brand for trendy men across the nation. Personally, I would love to go on a nationwide tour to help spread the brand to every man. Tailored suits are no longer solely for the yacht and caviar crowd.
Jeff: I want to build Tailored Republic into a brand that clothes the modern gentleman. It signifies class, cool, and fun.
Do you anticipate expanding Tailored Republic to include women's fashion?
Brian: We actually have our first Woman’s blazer sample in production as we speak. So many women have approached us asking if we do made-to-measure women’s blazers that we realized it would be foolish not to explore the opportunity.
Jeff: Maybe we should make you a blazer and find out, Joy!
Yes, Jeff, maybe you should!:)
And this concludes my interview with two amazing entreprenuers set on changing the way men present themselves. I personally wish them much success because nothing beats a well-dressed man in a suit.
Don't you agree ladies?:)
For more information, or to order your own custom suit: https://www.tailoredrepublic.com/