Men’s Wearhouse founder takes tailoring online
June 4, 2015 02:48 PM
George Zimmer, the former CEO and TV commercial front man of The Men’s Wearhouse Inc., is taking his years of experience in working with tailors to the web in a new venture called zTailors.
ZTailors enables men and women to schedule tailoring services via its website. A local tailor will come to a consumer’s home or office at a set time, take measurements and return the tailored items within a week. The consumer confirms the fit, and any additional adjustments are paid for by zTailors.
A mobile app is also in the works and is slated for release in the next month or two, Zimmer says
The service should resonate with shoppers, he says, because so many men and women have clothing in their closets that they don’t wear because of poor fit.
“You don’t have to make a purchase of new apparel to want a tailor,” Zimmer says. “What makes this economic model work is that there are millions and millions of dollars of apparel hanging in closets in America. There’s a good side and a bad side to everybody’s closet, and that’s not based on quality, it’s based on fit.”
Services will cost $30 to $40 on average per suit, Zimmer tells Internet Retailer, which is mostly in line with what consumers would spend for traditional tailoring services. “We expect it to be profitable based on volume, not based on up-charging the consumer.”
ZTailors also has a business-to-business component, which aims to connect tailors with consumers via other retailers’ e-commerce channels.
Macy’s Inc., No. 7 in the Internet Retailer 2015 Top 500 Guide, is the first major retail chain to contract with zTailors, and the merchant will begin recommending zTailors’ services to online customers based in Los Angeles this week, Zimmer says.
“On Macys.com and Bloomingdales.com, when you make a purchase of something that requires tailoring like a suit, sport coat or slack, it will say, ‘do you need a tailor to come to your home or office?’” Zimmer says. If the consumer clicks on yes, he will be taken to zTailors.com where he can schedule a tailor’s visit. By the end of the summer, Macy’s will roll out zTailors services from its network of 1,000 tailors to online consumers nationwide.
For each consumer that clicks from Macys.com and completes a purchase with zTailors, the company will pay an undisclosed affiliate fee to Macy’s, though Zimmer says this financial arrangement could change as the company signs additional online retailers.
“Because Macy’s was our first B2B client, we are giving them a small affiliate fee, but that really was in order to get this thing launched, and we didn’t want to quibble over small dollars,” Zimmer says.
Zimmer has been busy pitching other major retail chains, and he says many like the idea because most merchants that offer tailoring services for no charge, or even a fee, are losing money on the tailoring services. “The tailoring side of the business is something people have run from as long as I can remember. It’s a loss center, not a profit center,” he says.
Zimmer is funding most of the venture himself, but notes that Marc Benioff, billionaire CEO of software company Salesforce.com, and David Duffield, co-founder of software companies PeopleSoft and WorkDay Inc., are both investors.
ZTailors has around 75 employees at its headquarters in Oakland, Calif., and an additional 75 or 100 employees at a fulfillment center in Kentucky. Zimmer would not comment on what purpose the fulfillment center will serve, except to say that zTailors is “building for the future.”
George Zimmer long served as the public face of Men’s Wearhouse, No. 153 in the Top 500, starring in commercials made famous with the line, “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.”
Zimmer founded Men’s Wearhouse in 1973 and served as CEO until 2011, when Douglas Ewert, previously the president and chief operating officer, took over that job. He was removed as executive chairman of the board in mid-2013.