When most men go out to buy a casual shirt, they think of sizing in terms of small, medium, or large. But a new startup called Trumaker wants men to start expecting more from the fit of their day to day shirts, by bringing personalized made-to-measure fitting to the world of casual men’s shirts — all at a price point that’s in line with the current offerings from mainstream men’s clothing companies.
To help in achieving its mission, Trumaker has raised $1.9 million from a group of seed backers that include Venrock, RRE, and angels including Alex Bard, David Tisch, Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn, Velos Partners, Eniac Ventures, and others.
From top to bottom, Trumaker’s business model is quite unique. Made-to-measure has been done on a more mainstream level for formal clothing such as men’s suits, but Trumaker is focusing on the casual space, with the kinds of button-down shirts that men wear with jeans. In terms of its sales force, the company has no brick and mortar stores: Instead, it employs contractors called “Outfitters” who come to clients wherever they are — at home, work, wherever — and take their measurements to ensure a proper fit.
The Outfitter then programs those measurements into Trumaker’s mobile app along with the customer’s custom order, which allows him to choose the fabric, fit, collar shape, and other details (Trumaker’s shirts are made at a factory in Malaysia that also manufactures high-end shirts for the likes of Brooks Brothers.) Trumaker shirts start at around $100, which is in line with nicer off the rack men’s shirts from stores like J. Crew.
Since Trumaker’s Outfitters collect a commission on each purchase made by their clients during that first fitting and going forward into the future, working for Trumaker can be a lucrative job either in a full or part-time capacity — just like people working for startups such as Lyft and Sidecar. And sales seem to be going quite well: Since Trumaker’s soft launch in San Francisco this past December, the company has sold more than 2,000 shirts simply through word of mouth.
It’s all pretty exciting stuff, so we stopped by Trumaker’s San Francisco headquarters to meet with founder and CEO Mark Lovas and get a look at what the company is doing and what exactly the process of ordering a Trumaker shirt is like. Check all that out in the video embedded above.