Over the last few years, several startups have popped up aiming to help couples plan their weddings, assisting them with everything from coordinating outfits to booking venues.
And now another local startup, The Groomsman Suit, can be added to the list. The e-commerce suit and tuxedo shop, which originally launched in New York in 2016, relocated to Chicago this summer.
Founded by Diana Ganz and Jeanne Foley, the startup advertises that their suits and tuxedos, designed for groomsmen in weddings, are cheaper than the average tuxedo rental.
“We’re a one-stop shop for men’s wedding wear, which is unique because there is no other brand that only focuses on that,” said Ganz, who has a background working in tech startups.
“You are going to get the highest quality suit at the lowest possible price and get to keep it,” added Foley, who worked as a fashion designer for more than a decade.
A third co-founder, Kevin Foley, Jeanne’s husband, helped launch The Groomsman Suit, but he is no longer involved in the day-to-day operations, Ganz and Foley said.
The company, which originally launched on Kickstarter and raised about $11,000, manufactures their suits in Italy and China. Because they cut out middle-men and brick-and-mortar locations, they’re able to keep prices on their suits low. Suits are available in black, navy blue and grey, and all garments are sold separately, allowing customers to only purchase what they need.
A classic suit jacket costs about $119, with matching pants retailing at $60. A premium option retails for $189 and $90, respectively.
A challenge the founders encountered when they first launched was ensuring that customers purchased the right sized garments. As an online clothing retailer, consumers are unable to try on suits before they buy them, which can result in many returns and exchanges.
But through a series of features on their website, visitors can find directions on how to measure themselves and view sizing reviews from others who’ve already bought the garment. Additionally, The Groomsman Suit offers free returns and exchanges, just in case.
“Everything is going to online shopping,” Foley said. “It is how the millennial generation is buying their clothes.”
The Groomsman Suit employs six people and has a warehouse and office space in Bucktown. The founders said they left New York for Chicago because it’s cheaper to run a business here, plus they have ties to the Midwest—both of them grew up in Michigan.
Next year, the founders say they might launch a fundraising round for $1 million to $3 million in the second quarter of 2018, but for now, business is growing.
Revenue in 2016 was about $100,000. This year, they’ve sold about 3,500 suits, have been in more than 300 weddings and expect revenue to top $700,000.
“Fashion is definitely becoming more tech-savvy,” Ganz said. “And we have this perfect combination of Jeanne’s fashion experience with my tech background that is going to set us ahead.”