It was January, 2009, and university classmates Winnie Cheung and Noorneet Singh began to research what was probably the best-known player in the custom-tailoring market, Hong-Kong based Maxwell's Clothiers.
Based on the Maxwell model, Ms. Cheung and Mr. Singh, now both 25, came up with the idea of starting Toronto-based Shirtpal Co. The company developed an online strategy to differentiate itself from the competition, where customers can easily custom-order clothing from the site, in addition to attending live purchasing events, which has been the foundation of the Maxwell's business model.
Shirtpal invested in its site with help from grants from the Singapore government, where a third partner, 28-year-old Ash Singh, now lives. Online sales represent 65 per cent of total Shirtpal orders.
Monthly sales in Toronto average $20,000 and Shirtpal has expanded to Montreal and Vancouver. It also started marketing in Australia this year, where Shirtpal said it is generating revenue between $3,500 and $5,000 a week. It is also operating in the United States, Singapore, Japan and Thailand, where there are either sales or franchise offices.
Ms. Cheung, and brothers Noorneet and Ash Singh, joined us to talk about Shirtpal, how it got started, and what makes it stand apart from its competitors. View an archive in the box below.