From an early age, Jamal Motlagh was immersed in the figurative waters of business. The Harvard Business School graduate and former professional water polo player, landed in fashion tech upon creating Acustom Apparel. Understanding most guys find the process of shopping as enjoyable as going to battle, he knew the answer was in an innovative, bespoke retail concept. “I was shocked that with today’s technology there wasn’t an affordable way to get custom clothing. That is why I started Acustom Apparel.”
What is Acustom Apparel? Acustom Apparel uses innovative digital technologies to craft custom clothing— intelligent fit for your style and your body. Custom clothing + retail + 3D body scanning at traditional retail prices.
Podcast Deep Dive
What makes Acustom stand out from other brands using 3D body scanning is:
- 1. Their digital, bespoke pattern making software
- 2. Expanded product line to include jeans, shirts, shorts, chinos, overcoats, suits, raincoats…we can go on and on.
- 3. Killer retail environment where finding it is easy. Marketing it is easier because they have 20ft of windows on West Boradway in Soho.
- 4. In store, you can design your product, get 3D body scanned and measured and pay, and be in-and-out in 20 mins.
- 5. In store stylists are educators too.
Why is that cool? Traditionally, a bespoke pattern is created by hand by a master pattern maker and comes with a large price tag. Quick glance of bespoke denim: Levis jeans for $900, Earnest Sewn for $1200 & Acustom sells theirs for $225.
The Acustom Way
Step 1: pick out your fabric
Step 2: Get 3D body scanned. 2 sets of scans. One natural pose and another more structured pose. Each scan takes 7 seconds a piece and produces 200,000 data points
Step 3: Try on sample product
Step 4: Talk about fit (slim, tapered, relaxed, etc.)
How to create an unforgettable selling experience
1. Have ONE hypothesis you want to prove. What do you want to achieve? For Jamal it was to create a walk-in custom clothing experience where a guy could be sipping coffee at 11am on a Saturday, not thinking about custom clothing, see his store, come in, get pitched and be sold.
2. Real estate. This mattered because of Jamal’s goal. It took him from January 2013 to August 2013 to find his retail space. He spent his time, stopped for little to let the market refresh and then found his gem.
Jamal’s broker’s advice: “If you don’t have a hard on for the place, it’s not the space for you.”
Jamal’s advice: Get less space than you think you need.
3. Build a unique selling experience and process. In the first few months, Acustom had to add new things, change new things, learn how to speak with customers
4. Build a team and product that’s flexible
5. Don’t try to over innovate
What’s next for Acustom?
- 1. Launching ecommerce with an online fit guarantee if you’ve been scanned.
- 2. Improving local operations in NY because NY will be the blueprint for other retail stores
- 3. Launch Acustom Pop-ups
- 4. Build one more store on the east cost and then expand nationally
“I know there won’t be one winner. So with more people in my part of the pie, makes it a higher likelihood that we can actually push the needle.”
“Don’t try to over innovate and maybe those are words I should live by better.”
“Don’t spread yourself too thin. Prove one thing and then start to prove another.”
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