Y Combinator alum Vastrm has been pretty busy lately. In addition to locking up another $1 million in seed funding from A16z, SV Angels, Ignition Partners, and Will Smith (to name a few), the startup redesigned its website slightly modified its sense of purpose. The team has always been about giving its customers the perfect fitting polo, but now they’re working to make the process even more personal.
The process is largely unchanged from when Billy checked it out last year, but the biggest recent addition was the launch of a try-at-home option. In exchange for a $20 deposit, you’ll get a trio of shirts in sizes of your choosing so you can try to pin down your perfect polo. Vastrm toyed with the idea for a long while and tested it with a slew of early beta users (CEO Jonathan Tang said 55 percent of testers tried the feature), but the full-on launch took place fairly recently.
But how well does it really work?
I recently gave that home try-on service for a spin and so far it seems like a much-needed addition to the mix (don’t worry, I won’t subject you to photos of me wearing them). After all, for a startup that’s focused on crafting custom fitted polos for its customers, it only makes sense that they embrace a Warby Parkeresque model to ensure that ideal fit.
It’s not so much meant to help you figure out if you’re a small, medium, or large. Instead, you’re supposed to figure out, say, what kind of medium you are. Different brands have different conceptions of what “medium” means after all, so Vastrm has introduced subtypes like slim, sport, and relaxed (for the portly polo-wearers out there) to give customers a more granular grasp on what suits them best.
To my surprise, I fell in between a small sport and a medium slim. I’ve never been able to squeeze into a small before and I’m not exactly what I’d consider “slim”, so it’s unlikely I would ever even bother trying on those sorts of shirts in a store.
Those subtypes, along with any other tweaks you want to make (think sleeve length, waist width, chest changes) are folded into your so-called FitID, a persisting recipe of preferences that can be saved and applied to all your future orders. All in all, it was a dead simple experience and one that should serve Vastrm’s early customers very well… as long as they’re fine with the ultimate asking price. While some seemingly similar bespoke clothing companies like Indochino can compete on price — $449 for a fitted suit isn’t too shabby — $95 for a simple fitted polo means Vastrm’s wares aren’t going to be for everyone.
So what’s next for Vastrm? I had to ask Tang if focusing purely on bespoke polo shirts is, well, problematic. After all, isn’t there some sort of upper limit to the number of expensive polo shirts a person can feasibly own? While Tang doesn’t necessarily agree, he did concede that the Vastrm formula and the structure the team built around it could easily be rejiggered to churn out other custom garments.
“The whole backend is really solid,” he said, adding that he wanted to expand the assortment to include long sleeve polos and hoodies. The team ran a Crowdtilt campaign to test the hoodie concept — within a week they sold about $40k of hoodies, but only time will tell when they’ll officially try to disrupt other aspects of your wardrobe.