We're kicking the week off right with a new custom tailor interview. We met up with the team from Arden Reed a few weeks ago to get the run down on their mobile tailoring service. Carlos Solorio, co-founder of Arden Reed, runs a full-service tailor from inside a refurbished FedEx truck. The showroom on wheels stops at multiple locations in New York City, not to mention their national tours. Keep reading to learn more about this tailor on wheels.
Give us the Twitter version of your business?
We’re trying to make it ridiculously easy for any guy to be the best-dressed man in the room. We drive to your office, we park outside and we have a 3D scanner which make the whole measurement process really fast.
How does the 3D scanner work?
It’s powered using ASUS sensors, seven in front and seven in the back. Step in and the scanner will measure over 1.5 million data points and use an algorithm to calculate your unique body measurements.
What does it sound like when you’re in there?
It’s funny you ask that because we were thinking of putting in lasers, just for the effect. But it’s actually a little French voice that guides you.
How accurate is it?
It depends. We’re still having some issues with the algorithms, lengthwise. We sometimes have to go in and manually measure the length.
What are some of the advantages of using the machine versus manual measurements?
It does help. When you’re making a custom suit, you have to take into account your body posture, how you stand, where your shoulders are. What we’ve done is reduce the number of measurements a traditional tailor has to take. So when we send your measurements to our production facilities, they can clearly see what your body looks like and what type of posture you have. That’s the biggest benefit. So we measure first with the machine and then follow-up with manual measurements for accuracy. We use all available information provided to us by the scanner and manual measurements to create the suit. Honestly, it’s from experience knowing which measurements to use.
How is it working with production companies in Shanghai?
When we first started, it was pretty bad. We were working through a middleman. And it takes a long time to build relationships, especially serious, business relationships. It just took some time to find them and some time to convince them to work with us.
What are some of the fabrics you’ve used?
We have one called Filarte, which is a collaboration between an Italian firm and Chinese counterparts. They are produced in Shanghai, very high quality. It’s comparable to other big brands but without the legacy. They’ve imported their entire factory to China. The designs are all Italian-made but it’s produced in Asia because it’s easier to ship from there.
What do your customers think about the mobile aspect?
For a custom tailor, you usually have to go back three times. Imagine going three times still, but the tailor is right in front of your office. So we’ve turned a really difficult process into something bearable. It takes 5-10 minutes. We have guys who’ve already bought from us who pop in on their lunch break and just say, “I want this fabric, this style,” and they’ll leave. We have all their measurements and it’s taken them only five-minutes. It’s more accessible.
Where else do you go in the city?
Midtown, Union Square, we’ve been all over the city. We’ve been to Columbia and Fordham even. We’ve been to several cities: DC, Boston. Our customers usually follow us on Twitter. We also mail out a calendar every week.
What have you done to promote the truck?
Actually, we did do one PR thing. We spent absolutely nothing. This is actually a funny story. We got a guy and put him in an off-the-rack suit and then put his profile up on OKCupid. Then we put up the same guy in a tailored suit and changed the picture. Anyway, four months later, 3.5 times more messages with the guy in a tailored suit.
What’s next for Arden Reed?
Right now, the goal is to have a bunch of trucks in the city. The next one will be opening up will be in March. It will also have windows!
Arden Reed is always mobile. To get notified when they’ll be in your neighborhood, visit their site newyork.ardenreed.com. You can also schedule an appointment in Midtown, Union Square and Wall Street.
Please note, we have not yet purchased garments from Arden Reed and cannot attest to the quality of their product or accuracy of their scanner.