This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.
people, wedding, suit, customers, fit, brands, showrooms, katie, size, suiting, purchase, work, talking, customer experience, experience, great, product, alterations, pant, order
Mariah Parsons, Kristen Tomasonis, Katy Eriks
Mariah Parsons 00:04
Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go malomo.com. So hello, everyone. And welcome back to retention Chronicles. Today, I'm joined by Kristen and Katie, thank you so much both for being here. We've had a lot of fun over the recent months had you all on our webinar, featured in a case study and now our podcast. So I love all this momentum. Super excited to have you here. I'm going to start off with an intro from you both really quick. Maybe Katie, we can start off with you and then have Kristen follow up shortly.
Kristen Tomasonis 01:26
Yeah, absolutely. I'm Katie. I'm the director of customer experience at suit shop. I have a background in retail management and retail sales. And which I did for about eight years before using suit shop for my wedding. I could 2016. And when I heard they were hiring about a year later, I jumped on the chance to join. When I got my wedding party suited up. It was only our two co founders in the company. So I knew that they were going to be really cool people to work for.
Katy Eriks 01:58
Yeah, that's awesome. And I'm Kristen, I'm the Director of Marketing at to chop and I have been working in DTC marketing for about six years I started in like the paid media and email marketing side of things with an account management role at SAS tool before I went freelance, and you know, did that for a little bit and then started with to chop about two and a half years ago. So I decided I really just wanted to focus on one brand and now again, have been here for two and a half years couldn't I never really imagined myself honestly working with suits, or weddings. But I honestly like cannot imagine anything different at this point. And so I always like to throw in at least while it's so relevant that Well Katie was one of the first suit shop Brides, I was one of the more recent got married in October. So I think it's pretty cool that Katie and I both get to come at this with that experience as bride that's gone through the process of soup job, but we also both know all the internal workings of how things work for us. So yeah, that's us.
Mariah Parsons 02:57
Yeah, that's awesome. I love that both you get to play kata. Are you seeing both sides? Because, Chris, and I think when we had you on the webinar, or when we were talking about it, it was I think before, maybe no, no, not before. I think you were just coming off your wedding, as you said October, right. So yeah, yeah.
Katy Eriks 03:17
We're on our honeymoon.
Mariah Parsons 03:18
Yes. Yeah. That was it about to go on your honeymoon. Yes. I was like, I know, there's something around the wedding. That you all were doing. And then Katie, I didn't know the story of you, before working for suit shop were abroad and then joined when they were hiring. So that's, that's awesome. I love that it's
Kristen Tomasonis 03:37
really seen the evolution of our company. Yeah, and pretty much.
Mariah Parsons 03:41
Yeah. Wow, that's awesome. And so so great that we get to have both of those presents that perspectives both as a consumer and obviously knowing the insides of the company. But before we dive into it, can you all describe what su shop is just for our listeners in case they're not familiar with the name? I don't know who wants to take it but either one of you.
Kristen Tomasonis 04:03
I can. Suit shop is a company that offers affordable and inclusive suiting to own our prices start at $199. We have quality suits for men, women, non binary folks, kids, we're really trying to pioneer a new path in weddings, formal air and everyday suiting. We do have brick and mortar showrooms, even though we are mostly online based. But all of our sizing tools and solutions are very tech driven. And we're trying to create just the best suiting experience we can.
Mariah Parsons 04:34
Yeah, I love that. Thank you. Thank you, Katie. One of the things that we've discussed between the three of us before has been kind of this new space in the shooting industry. So I'm wondering if you all can describe kind of wear suit shop lies just in the industry, and then you kind of got into it a little bit just with the boilerplate of suit shop, but thinking through you know how you all are differentiated. How you all are making sure that the customer experience is
Katy Eriks 05:03
delightful and different compared to others in the industry. I wrote down a few notes on this one. But I really think that it's weird when we're in this like, place where so many things exist to think of ourselves in a category of our own. But in a way we actually really are. Because it is true that you can find similar prices and potentially fast fashion or big box retailers. But you're really not going to find the experience and the size range that we offer, I see it and tick tock comments all the time where people are like, Oh, go to Asus. And they're like, yeah, a switch doesn't work for me, because I don't have the size range just I need or something like that. So you might see some comparisons there. You could also compare us to the traditional rentals that people are using for weddings. But even that doesn't really work. I mean, obviously, our price point is going to be kind of neck and neck with them. So it's the most closely related from a pricing perspective. But we're not a rental, everybody gets to keep their suits, and they're not hit with any fees amongst like all of the many other things and inconveniences that are associated with rentals. I, Katie Priestley did like a deep dive into this. And then I did one the other day, actually, just to kind of like see where things change. And it's crazy to think that if you're more than three days after your wedding not returning something, you can get hit with a fee from anywhere from 25 to $60. So then you're already spending more for your rentals. So there's that when you can also compare us to some of like the made to measure brands, won't name drop, but you know, people, they have showrooms in a lot of major cities, so people probably can figure out who I'm speaking about. But we're not made to measure and everything is at a fraction of the price. So you're we're still technically off the rack. But because of the size range that we continue to talk about, we're able to get as close to custom as possible with high quality materials. And so if somebody adds a few bucks, honestly, an alterations, pant alteration is typically around $15. A jacket, could you know my husband, I think we do $45 For our jacket, but you know, you add anywhere from 15 to 70 bucks and alterations on top of the 199. And you're still getting a pretty much very close to custom suit for under $300. And you get that same look. So it's unbeatable. No one else is really doing it like us, we're able to provide that seamless experience completely online. But we've also taken it a step further by adding five showrooms in our high volume cities. So this is allows us to get those customers that are in those cities that want to come in and see things in person, this really, they get to have this really unique experience that adds to their overall suit job experience. But what's interesting is that we're not traditional retail in the sense that if someone comes to a showroom, they're not going to walk out with their product like they would if they were to go to a retail store there, what's going to happen is we're still gonna ship it direct to consumer and having things like Malomo to talk about their shipping updates, and if they need to make returns and exchanges with integration with loop etc. Like all of those things are still very critical to even the people that come in person because of the fact that we still ship direct to consumer. So yeah, the full summary.
Mariah Parsons 07:58
Yes, I love it. I love it. Katie, is there anything you'd add before I post my next question and dive
Kristen Tomasonis 08:03
in? No, I think Kristin nailed all the hot topics. Love it. Love it.
Mariah Parsons 08:07
Yeah, I think it's so fascinating. That's why I'm so excited to dive into the showrooms and the customer experience and all of that. And I was actually at Cinco Demayo celebration this past weekend, and one of my close friends is getting married. And he was talking about, you know, all the logistical side of the wedding, which I'm not married. So I haven't had the pleasure of seeing that firsthand. But he was talking about suits. So of course, I had to be like, Oh, have you heard of suit shop? And he was like, actually, yeah, I have a suit from them. And he was like, Oh my God, that reminds me I need to go get a tailor because it's for like a wedding soon. I was like yeah, definitely need to do that. Because the pants like you need to him and he was like, that works out so well for me because usually I can't find like usually the the whatever suits I've had before just the pant leg, it never is, you know, never hits where it's supposed to hit. So he's like, usually I have to just undo that stitching or the heavy or whatever, and then fix it. Myself. Yeah. Which I've, I think I've heard at least one other friend in college, I think speak to that, because he was like in his sister's wedding. And so trying to, you know, it makes sense because you're just kind of avoiding that hassle altogether, right like of having to maybe guess whatever size is going to be right for you. And then the pant not be the length that you want it to be.
Kristen Tomasonis 09:27
I think that's great that your friend actually cares about that because I've seen tons of wedding photos with pants that are way too long, a little bit too short, and it really truly makes a difference to have them tailored correctly.
Katy Eriks 09:40
Again, we didn't speak to us in the beginning, but for people who don't know we were formally named the groomsmen suit and the idea was literally born of this similar horror story from our co founder Jean Foley's wedding. She has like like her photos from her wedding. You know the beautiful photos but we also can all laugh at The fact that like, everybody's super ridiculous, because they got a rental that like they couldn't alter. So I was actually on wedding this weekend, as well, or Adzuna Mio. And it was a guy that my husband actually he was wearing a tuxedo or navy tuxedo, and there was a guy talking, he was like, Yeah, I would never buy a tuxedo. It just doesn't make sense. It cost so much money. And my husband walked up to him. I actually walked into the conversation later was like, wow, my husband's out here making friends. He's not like super social like that. So later, he told me, he was like, Well, I overheard this conversation, I had to let him know that my tuxedo was only $200. Oh, no, no, there. There are a lot of misconceptions, which I actually think segues really nicely into the next topic.
Mariah Parsons 10:46
Yeah, yeah, there's yeah, there's like, I think there are a lot of misconceptions that I know too. With weddings, it's just crazy. I feel like it's crazy time, in general, for anyone who's involved or anyone who's planning like, right, there's movies made off of it, they're everything. And so trying to think through how to ease some of those nerves, and make the process really streamlined and easy. I think that's like you said really well into the next topic. So how, how are you all thinking about how you can ease those nerves, the customer experience, making sure that what you all are doing, you're trying to put, you know, take your experience from being in a wedding party and being brides yourselves take that experience and rope it into the customer experience at suit shop?
Katy Eriks 11:35
Yeah, I can start and I think Katie has some points to cover here too. But like, I think what we were just talking about is it's super common for people to assume that suit shopping, especially online has to be really hard. Or if they're doing it in person, it's gonna be really awkward, there's in person measurements, it's gonna be time consuming, because if they go talk to somebody, it's understandable because a lot of the competition and like the people who really, you know, started this industry have operated this way and continue to message this way. Actually, a few of the competition that I was looking at the other day, when I was doing the comparison doesn't even have online tools, like you'd have to go in person. And there are some of the most common names that you would recognize. So I think that one of the best things we can focus on is customer education, from the top of the funnel all the way to the bottom of the funnel, and even post purchase. So um, and then with that, I think Katie has a little bit to add to this.
Kristen Tomasonis 12:28
Yeah, we really, the goal is to make the process for our customers as easy as possible. So you truly never have to leave your house, you could take a quiz on our website that will let you know what size to take your suits delivered to your door, we just improved our Fit Guide and our size charts. So there's even more education on the website now about our fit, and how to choose a size all on your own. But if you want to contact customer service, it's so easy to reach us phone, chat, email, social media, that's all the ways you can reach us, it usually takes us about a minute and a half is their average to respond and six no so outrageous, that I promise. And if you're calling us, it'll be about a minute wait on the phone. So it's really important to us to have all of the tools for self service, but also a staff that's super knowledgeable and can help you as well.
Katy Eriks 13:22
And then, kind of bringing it back into marketing to I think beyond what we do with customer service. There's a lot of retention marketing happening that starts kind of after the first or even second touch point. You know, if somebody if we have somebody's wedding date, which we do have a lead list that we get from a giveaway every month, and we have all their wedding dates, if we attend events, whatever. But if we have these event dates, we actually have very custom flows throughout our marketing that are specific to people's wedding date and where they are in the wedding planning process. And for us that is all about the education not even just about suits, but about wedding planning in general, like how can we be a resource to them outside of just you know, suiting and outfitting which we get a lot of great response from. And a lot of these flows actually, you know, it goes beyond just the 12 month below that I'm talking about but anywhere from after their swatches are delivered after the trials are delivered, the follow up, you know, abandoned cart is really specific based off of other actions they've taken with us, again, with swatches trials, etc. So there's so personalized, that we actually have customers that believe that Katie is personally emailing them. He was like, DMing me like we're laughing because she'll get on the phone and be like, this is Katie. And I'm like, oh yeah. You know, by having these like really specific things that we're doing to educate and follow up with people to make sure they know what the next steps are, how to execute on those things on their own. It's really helpful and then you know, Malomo I mean, we are on multiple podcasts we have to like plug it a little bit but having that love it purchase like landings. Ah for them to see and view kind of what are your next steps allows us to give them even more education so that they can feel empowered to self serve if they need to get alterations or potentially make an exchange. So all those things are part of anything from that first touch point to even after they've made an order.
Mariah Parsons 15:19
Yeah, I love that you brought up how detailed the flows are. And it's so interesting being, I mean, not being in the space myself, but from an outsider point of view of thinking through all the different communications that are going to happen over like you said, maybe a year or a year and a half, or however far away the event is. And I feel like that's one of the things that is more unique to your industry, specifically with bigger events in someone's life, because something that is maybe more of a CPG type of brand that you're not necessarily needing, or having as much time between when someone is ordering or when someone is talking to your team. And the actual event of when they're going to use your product. It's it has a lot of there's it's kind of a beast to tackle, at least from what I would think of like, how do you even approach trying to communicate with someone over 12 months, like all the little details, all the little things that they need to remember. But also like the other side of the coin to that is, there's so much opportunity to be able to educate those customers to be able to, to be able to, you know, personalize that experience, as if Katie is emailing every customer personally. So I think it's one of those things that as I'm thinking through our typical, you know, when we're talking about flows that we're emailing out, it's usually within I feel like average time period of maybe two weeks and from you know, purchase to product and that's on the longer side as well. So it's just yeah, it's so it's so fascinating to dive into and it reminds me of we just had happiest baby which they have this new I don't know if you heard of that. Yeah. But yeah,
Kristen Tomasonis 17:08
we're well well versed. Okay.
Mariah Parsons 17:11
I'm just had her on Lexie, and she was talking just about how they try and plan like for the date as well that the babies arrive. And if you haven't date, it's exactly you can get? Yeah, exactly. Like, oh, my God, these these conversations are mirroring each other, which is why always so fast. I
Kristen Tomasonis 17:32
want to add, though, even if you're not planning your wedding, 12 months in advance, we get a lot of those two months ahead calls for this, and we're like, No, not even close. You can order week of if you really have to, but please go that long.
Katy Eriks 17:45
I think to like, add to that from like a, what is the life cycle look like? Sure we have people who know their wedding day a year out or maybe even two years out or whatever. But to give like a summarized version, we recommend that a couple starts considering like, what brand are you gonna go with the let's say they choose to chop about six months out. And then they probably want to like maybe set up their group and really start sending out communications around three months out to give people kind of the idea of like, where are we shopping? What are we getting, how much it's going to cost, things like that. So then by week six, when you're six weeks out from your wedding day, everybody started to place their order, we have plenty of time to potentially make exchanges, if that's needed, or for them to, you know, drag their feet on getting alterations. For example, my husband, we went to the alternations, or the seamstress, literally on Tuesday for the Friday wedding that I had left. So you know, we give people plenty of time so that they're not doing that rush stuff. But at this point, I also have an influencer, who got engaged last weekend, and they're having a very short engagement. They're getting married next month. So you know, I'm currently talking to them about like, Let's get your group set up as soon as possible, because we need to, like do those orders like tomorrow. So yeah, so you know, we, we definitely still have those capabilities. Whereas if you, you know, just to tie back in some of the rental experience, or even some kind of experience that you're getting me to measure technically, or you're definitely going to be like six plus weeks, you know, timeline if you're getting a rental depending on who you're shopping with, but most of them will deliver two weeks before your event date. And if you don't respond within 48 hours, you're charged a $50 Rush fee to now rush your shipping, our rush shipping like maxes out around 20 to $30. Just it depends on where you live. So it can vary. But you know, we're not charging fees for that. It just you're paying shipping. And then the other side of it is if you're working with someone in person, you pick it up the day before, which is so scary. Yeah, but yeah, so I mean, our purchases are different. Our profit, the purchase is very different than most brands that you're probably talking to, other than, you know, when we're looking at this new product, but most I think especially CPG you can you can see an ad and then get someone at checkout at the same time. If the app is good enough, versus us people gotta do the research, maybe order a trial and like go through this whole funnel system before they can really make a purchase decision and repurchase decision.
Mariah Parsons 20:04
Yeah, there's a there's a bigger not Association, there's a bigger period, I guess of research that you have to go through because it is a bigger purchase in the perspective of normal like DDC CPG brands, but then in the industry itself, it's on the, it's way more affordable than some of the other choices on the market. And I love that you also brought up you know, you can still get the closer wedding dates that are you all work with, so And what came to mind was, so the email, emails, if you have a cadence for say, do you have like different cadences for 12 months out of the wedding date, and six months out, like is it the same
Katy Eriks 20:49
educator into the same flow, but it's based off of their date. So like, if they enter in like six months, they'll just start a six month email. Like I plan my wedding four months in, I obviously was subscribed. So like, I got, oh, you're four months out, but you're three months out, or two weeks out, like you know, went through the whole thing. So it'll just be more catered to like where you should be in that moment of your planning. You know, obviously, if they're entering our funnel, at three months out our messaging three months out, it's probably not like register your group. You know, at that point, if they've entered our funnel at that point, I'm assuming that they're already kind of like a little bit deeper into the funnel in terms of purchasing. So they're probably going to get more catered messaging around their group around their trial, like wherever they are in that purchase decision. And then that flow is just going to pick up wherever they're at in their wedding planning like stage. So you know, around three months out, I think we refer a brand that we work with called confetti, it's a it's like a SAS tool for weddings to get collect photos from everybody and message people etc. So you know, they might get something around that time or two months out, it might be like, don't forget about your dad's or your mom's or other people that we need to it's and then maybe when they're two weeks out, it might be like last minute gifts or and then following their wedding date. They're gonna get that like, congrats, we're so excited for you. So we do have people you know, every once in awhile that unfortunately, either move or cancel their wedding that we need to like remove them from the Slavs to like, you know, add to the heartbreak, but for the most part, they're just going to enter where they are in their flow.
Mariah Parsons 22:21
Okay, yeah, that's exactly the question I was asking. Thank you know, we've been talking about how the marketing experience and all the communication that is being sent to C sharp customers helps in that customer experience helps educate them. And so I also want to talk about another piece that we briefly touched upon in the beginning of this episode, which is your showrooms and talking about how that experience in person that someone can have is aiding in that customer experience, and then how that also transfers into your learnings in the DTC realm. So I don't know who wants to kind of dive into the showrooms. But I'd love to share more about just the thought process behind it, how it's helping you all.
Kristen Tomasonis 23:12
Sure. The showrooms, I'd say only add to the experience that suit shop offers. We've worked with an expert design team to try to create a really fun and welcoming environment, not necessarily what you think though, when you're thinking of walking into like a stuffy suit store. We really want it to be attractive. We've got disco balls, checkered floors, you thought about strength there. You know, we try to make it as fun as the bride and bridesmaids get you know, when they go and have champagne and do that whole shopping experience. And we're welcoming to anyone so you're not going to walk into the store and only see men suiting you can walk in if you're a woman or your identify as non binary, and you'll still feel welcome. We're really able to fill up appointments because a lot of times, maybe the engaged couple doesn't live near one of our showrooms, but someone in their wedding party does. Or we're working with a wedding planner who lives near one of our showrooms. So she sends all of her couples in to see us. Really word of mouth in the showroom cities grows very rapidly, and we see a significant increase every time that we open a new space.
Mariah Parsons 24:27
That's awesome. Yeah, I think it's so fascinating. Thinking through just I mean, I don't know if you too grew up on this, but like Say Yes to the Dress, like
Katy Eriks 24:39
Atlanta staples, so
Mariah Parsons 24:42
I'm just like HGTV in general. I feel like I was always watching with my mom. But like that's what I'm thinking through have. You have this experience and it's, it's part of the fun, right of like having this wedding. There's just all these different types of experiences that you might have One time or multiple times in your life. And so for you all to have showrooms, that a customer could walk in, and interact with your team and interact with the materials and the fabrics and see how it fits on them. Like I personally, am not much of an online apparel shopper, just because I know I like to be in person when I can. Or if I already have something, then you know, that's obviously a weight, easier purchase, but to see something in person and try it on, like, I've always valued that experience. So I think it's great that you're offering that option to people who want it and like you said, you know, if or if they have their parent or someone or, you know, friend in a city, then they can go and check it out and kind of relay and then word of mouth marketing, you know, share their findings with their customer, if someone wants to have that in person experience.
Katy Eriks 25:54
Yeah. And I think, you know, to your point interest caters to the two different types of shoppers that we're going to interact with as an online brand. And, you know, there are plenty of people who like don't want to ever talk to human like, they will do anything that they can not talk to human, which is like why we have all these resources and tools available on our website. So that if we have that person, which is a lot of people actually, you know, they can self serve up to a certain point, honestly, they can get through the whole the whole flow, but if they want help that help is available to them. But then you have this other side of things like someone like you who maybe wants to plan a trip towards your room and feel it in person seat in person. And you know how many experience of just getting to try it all on, especially, you know, we have people sometimes that might want to order multiple sizes and try it on and deal with exchanges. But if tickets go person, we're really eliminating that risk of even needing an exchange or return, like we're gonna have a 100% satisfaction at that point, because they've tried everything on they know exactly what fits for their body type. And then you know, when they place that order, now they're very secure in what they've placed, you know, online, we've made it to a point where I think our exchanges are under 15%, or sorry, our repairs are under 15%. But, um, with that being said, you know, there's still room for error, like there's always going to be room for error, even if we provide all the tools. So like, having that in person kind of allows them to have that 100% Like guarantee that nothing like they don't need exchange, they don't have to go through that. But we do our best to provide all the tools to really limit the need for anybody to need to make those exchanges and returns so that they feel confident online as well.
Mariah Parsons 27:34
Yeah, I think also one of the things that, as we three have all chatted before about the show rooms is that it allows you all to cater to groups to which I think is super interesting. So can we talk about that just a little bit, like that appeal at the showroom? Yeah, I
Kristen Tomasonis 27:51
think that's really having the experience, you know, you can find a date for all 10 people in your wedding party to come in together. are, you know, for example, our showroom in Chicago is across the street from a really fun bar. And a lot of times they'll make a whole day out of it, or it's part of the bachelor weekend or something like that. And that's always fun for our team as well. To do an entire group. It just really lifts your spirits when everyone is enjoying themselves.
Katy Eriks 28:21
Yeah, and, you know, this is just like a small plug. But you know, having the show rooms and like the group experience in general also opens up us for more opportunities. So you know, season two Love is blind Chicago, if you haven't been watching, you'll see our showrooms where we had all of the love is blind people are I don't want to call them contestants. But like, you know, the people I love is blind. All the different couple polls are guys, they love blinders. Yeah, the one liners, the pod squad is what I've heard, my friends call themselves. You know, we had them in the recording the cast and crew, we're coming up on another reality show I heard love as binders was filming in Denver, so hopefully we'll get to work with them again. But having the show rooms really does allow us to create this fun experience where like TV shows want to come in and like, you know, shop with us because we do have this bunch of room and they are gonna have this like in person experience where they can have drinks and everybody tries on. And again, it goes back to what we were just talking about where you know, when you have 10 people and let's if our if our error is around 15% let's say from like our fifth wineries 85% accurate this time, it only gets better every day. But like if there's 15% error, and then you have 10 People like there's a chance that like one of those people is probably going to have to make the changes versus if you got 10 people that can come into the showroom, like everyone like is gonna just walk out with everything they need so or walk out with the sizes and it'll be shipped to their house, okay, and they get to go do the rest of the party stuff and not have to carry everything around. So
Mariah Parsons 29:53
that's a great point. Oh, yeah, I didn't think about that because just so the listeners are super clear in the show room, you don't walk out with a zoo you order on online.
Katy Eriks 30:04
We can place orders in the showroom. They don't have to, like go place the order themselves when they leave. But yes, they don't walk away with product, they can walk out hands free and go enjoy the rest of their day and have a bachelor party. Whatever.
Mariah Parsons 30:15
Oh, that's so funny. I didn't even think about having to have like a shopping bag walking around. And that potential annoyance. Okay, yeah, that's awesome. I love also, I didn't know. Love is blind. I've heard great things I haven't been able to watch it
Katy Eriks 30:33
depends on what you like.
Mariah Parsons 30:37
Yeah, um, well, I have a couple of friends who just like reality TV shows. I mean, we have bachelorette watches. But we never actually watched the thing. It's just an excuse for us to all get together on a Monday night. But that's exactly, yeah, yeah. You know, the type. We all bake for it. It's a whole thing. Um, but no, that's awesome to see. And that emphasizes the point of having an experience that is entertaining, because quite literally, TV shows want to come into the showroom. And that, and they do that because they think it's entertaining for viewers. So I can only imagine the experience if you're going through it, right? Yeah, that's awesome. Okay, so we've touched upon it a little bit. And you were talking about just returns and the potential for returns. So I think that fits really nicely to talk about your new fit guide. And kind of the inspiration behind it, just tell us about it. Tell us what that you know, means for a customer what it means for you all as a company. Because it's, I think, some very exciting stuff.
Kristen Tomasonis 31:36
Yes, we are super excited about it, it's been on the wish list or to do list for literally years.
Mariah Parsons 31:43
That relatable by the way.
Kristen Tomasonis 31:46
But guide, our co founder, Jean Foley, she's the one who designs all of our products. So she's really like listed out everything you could possibly want to know about our product. And then we've worked really hard to make it user friendly. And we want all of the tools to be reachable. So whereas before, you had to go on a couple of different pages to find, you know, the size chart or fit binder, everything now is all on one page. And it's all linked from every product page that we have. So the likelihood of hitting this new fit guide is almost 100%, which is super exciting for the team that worked so hard to create it. We really want that self service experience to feel empowering. And so the customer is like, Oh yes, I feel confident about this. I've researched I've done my homework. And I also know if I didn't get it quite right, the return process. And her exchange process is super simple with us.
Katy Eriks 32:45
And like just for perspective, for people who don't know, suiting, I was just watching Tech Talk video about it because I was plating some content, but like I saw a girl who was like, this is the suit and the slip that hopefully all of our guys are gonna get the slimfit in like people don't realize when they see slim fit, especially on our website, that that that doesn't work for every body type. So having a fit guy like what we've developed is super important to explain to people that difference between what is the difference between a slim and a modern fit, it's not necessarily about how the overall look is going to be at the end of the day, it's more about how your body has shaved. And at the end of the day, we're still going to give you that nice fitted like very clean look, that is going to look incredible, but it's all about your body type because somebody who has like thick legs and a caboose are not going to be the same as someone who has like this broad shoulders slim waist, like straight legs, like they're not going to need the same fit types. And so that page, I think really also helps combat some of those things that people they're like the misconceptions of what are the Fit types? And what does it supposed to look like? So didn't have that as like a note, but it just like came to mind because I was watching that tick tock this morning. And I was like no, you don't want everybody to
Kristen Tomasonis 33:57
constantly telling people do not tell your groomsmen what to order, they will appreciate it if
Katy Eriks 34:03
you don't, yeah,
Mariah Parsons 34:04
yes. Yeah, I think that's a great point, too. And one of the things that, like you said, you know, it's one of those points that you only think of when you see it and you're like, oh, wait, that's a good point to make. Because, yeah, I feel like there's just so many different things. And one of the things that I think about with suiting is like, I mean, it's one of those things that I'm gonna take out a measuring tape and like, make sure I actually look at the fit guide. And if you know if the brand has a fit guide, but make sure that like I'm taking my measurements the right way and trying to do my due diligence and making sure that it's going to fit because something like a suit or I also like come to also bathing suits come to mind where it's like you want to make sure that that fit is correct. And because it's one of those moments that you know, like you want to feel competent in your own body, right so like, whatever you're shopping for, you want to be able to have, like you said all that tools that you possibly can to make the best decision to try and prevent, you know, returns or exchanges, which I know if if and when that happens, obviously easier. With the experience, you all have you all out for your customers. And one of the things that I think is super interesting about the fifth guide is like sizing accuracy and trying to make sure that, you know, you're giving the best information possible to your customers so that they can make the most informed decision. So I don't we didn't talk about this before. But I'm curious if either of you know, like, how do you because I know in apparel, it's like there's industry averages, and then like each product product is different. So how are you trying to find them, like best information, the best sizing information possible to share in that fit guide.
Kristen Tomasonis 35:58
A lot of that has come from researching other brands and seeing what is out there and what is lacking in the customer experience. But most of it has come truly from interacting with customers and the questions that they have asked us that we didn't necessarily think someone needed to know the thigh measurement of the pants. But if you're a bodybuilder, if you work out, that might be your hardest aspect of buying clothing. So I think a lot of it came from the customers and then just wanting to be more informative than maybe our competitors.
Katy Eriks 36:32
Yeah, I think I personally like if you go look at any of our competition, just type if you just Google that guide, for like, you're not even googling necessarily suiting, there is like a huge lack of knowledge in this space. And when we think about how different every body is, especially like, for me, I'm a mid sized person. And I can literally range from a small to extra large, depending on the brain that makes no sense. I can be a six, but I can also be a 12. So it's to me, I think that is somebody who really needs this type of tool. And we have a lot of customers like that. Because because of the type of people we're dealing with on a day to day basis. So really thinking about what questions they're asking, like, what is the fit, like, you know, what is my body type, like compared to the way that this this cut is, you know, this, this fabric is cut, and being able to see those things. Again, it all comes from a lot of console consumer feedback that we've just received over the years. And, you know, questions that are like very redundant, we can put them in the FAQs. But if they're if it's right in your face on the fake guide, and that's on every single product page that you're accessing this, it helps. I would like to think that over time, we'll be able to look back and see a reduction and certain macros that the team is using or a reduction in outreach in general. So for these types of questions, but we're still this is still a pretty fairly newly launched page that it's really hard to say like, what impact is having so far? I definitely think it I've already gotten really great feedback from just peers. And I'm not sure if Katie has anything to add from our customers. But um, you know, it will probably be time before we get to see like, what is that direct impact? But, you know, one of the top searched things that we see in our industry is people trying to compare that modern fit and a slim fit, like what is the difference? And how do you have those things? So another like, you know, benefit to this page is it's loaded with keywords and search terms about what are these like, what is the comparison? So it has its pros outside of just customer service as well. So hopefully we'll drive some new people to our to our website that way too.
Mariah Parsons 38:46
Yeah, that's awesome. Very smart. Katie, have you seen anything on the like, customer any customer feedback? I know it's, it's it was just
Kristen Tomasonis 38:54
had phone calls where the person has clearly been to the fifth guy, because of the language that they're using with me that I'm like, Oh, you read something on our website, you come up with that term on your own, which is fabulous. And usually it's someone that's narrowed it down to like, I think I'm between these two sizes. What do you think I should get? And that's huge that they've been able to get down to just two options. That's a win in itself. I know that I shared our Fit Guide on LinkedIn and one of my friends commented like can you please share this with every brand by shop?
Katy Eriks 39:32
It's lacking I'm not I'm not joking, like literally Google Fit Guide and just see what people offer. Like there are some brands that I think do a good job, you know, a really large retailer that comes to mind when we were researching his loft. I think Locke does a really great job with the different sizes they have because they offer petite and plus so they do really great job but most brands, especially smaller DTC brands that are in the similar categories us are really really lacking in the space. So Oh, it's pretty interesting to see.
Mariah Parsons 40:02
Yeah, I'll double tap that. Oh, it was love a fit guide. So yeah. I also think this fits really well to talk about the unisex fit, because we're, as we're talking about the modern This slim fit, I can see the, you know, just from a consumer wanting to know all the differences and whatnot, and that you all have done such a great job to distinguish the differences between the two of them. And I know the unisex fit, is it. It's currently up online, but is there more that's being done with it? Is that correct? Or is it a newer launch?
Kristen Tomasonis 40:36
Yes, it is on our website currently as coming soon. That's a yes have outfitted a lot of customers in the fit already. And it is already part of our special order process. So yes, right now, anyone can order that fit. So far, feedback has been great. You know, there's so many customers that don't identify with or fit into like a men's or women's collection. And this really is like that perfect in between. option that I think it just doesn't exist really anywhere else.
Katy Eriks 41:09
Yeah. When we talk about David internally, it really is unisex, like it can fit on someone who identifies as male, female, non binary. But when we look at who's feeling the best for the audience that's leaning towards it the most is it's either someone who is woman identifies as a woman and just like once more masculine chi but doesn't want to be swallowed by admins. But there's so many experiences out there, you can probably look it up on Tik Tok, that have nothing to do with us where someone's like, Oh, my whole life, I've had to go into menswear stores and shop men's products. And then you know it, there's huge shoulders, it doesn't fit my waist, it just swollen knee, which is something that we heard over and over again, which is what lied, the original women's line to be to be fit. But then, you know, again, you have these people, the other people that I'm speaking to specifically are people who were assigned female at birth, but probably identify as non binary, or as a man who really do want that more masculine look, it's not fitting straight to their curves, like our women's bent, but again, isn't going to swallow the frame that they were born with. So I think it's really to allow it's, it's more of an extension of our women's line, in a sense, because it is gonna fit a smaller frame person a little bit better. But ultimately, at the end of the day, again, it can go both ways. And it just providing more options for people to feel truly themselves. Whenever they put the suit on. They're not feeling like oh, I have to wear a men's suit to get this masculine look, or, Oh, I'm a woman. So I must wear the woman's suit that's gonna give me all these curves that I don't necessarily want to show off. Or, if you're, if you're like a small, like we have some small frame models that we use for it, where it gives them a really nice shape. And it's not necessarily it's giving them more of that. It kind of reminds me of like, if you were to order a wide leg pant, you know, it's not gonna be something that's like straight, like tied to your body. Yep, it's gonna give you more of that, like, you know, more comfortable fit, honestly. So it kind of reminds me of that and what people did whenever we went from the straight leg pant to like the flare pant or the wildlife.
Mariah Parsons 43:18
Yeah, which I also doubletap that I love, love a good flavor pant or wide leg pants. Yeah, I
Kristen Tomasonis 43:24
think their jeans on right now.
Mariah Parsons 43:26
Oh, there you go. Um, yeah, I feel like I don't wear skinny jeans anymore, which I hope that does not come back. Um, but yeah, it kind of reminds me of what's the saying, I feel like I'm gonna butcher it. But it's like, instead of the clothes wearing you, you wear the clothes, right? Like, it's just something It's like another nother way to make sure that you're meeting the customer where they want to be and whatever choice that they want to make, you're giving them as many options as you possibly can. And I very much respect it just from a personal and a professional lens of being able to have different options for whoever is shopping with you all. I hope that as well as the pick guide is things that something that other brands take into consideration of trying to expand their product line to make sure that they're catering to any and all audit audiences possible.
Katy Eriks 44:22
I wonder I want to mention something about what you just said too, because we do talk about this a lot, especially with like our PR team of like when Steve Jobs develop something because we're so fortunate to have gene as our co founder and technical designer that all of our sizes that we have, they have their own grading for each size. So each each size have its has its own, it's not like we just took the 10 and then we were like okay, add a few inches and now it's 12 or, you know, we're talking men's 4042 You know, these are individually graded sites for each, each garment size. So that's something that in fashion and the fashion industry is not very common. Um, especially with like a smaller brand, or when you're buying off the rack suiting specifically. So that's a huge thing. And I do feel like suit shop, I obviously am incredibly biased, but that we do pay attention to those little things. And we are meeting our customers where they are, we wouldn't have made the women's line or the unisex line, if we weren't getting that feedback. Like those are things that we hear same with our merch, like it goes the same way in our marketing aren't one of our first like big branded photoshoots, that was so much money, we got a lot of people that were like, oh, all these models are like models, they're skinny, they're non normal person. You know, they are, I don't want to call them non normal person, there are people too, but I can't relate to them. Like that's not the average person, you know, so that we got that feedback or so then the next the next shoot that we did, we did more of a wedding theme. But we also did some mix and match with like everyday shooting that wasn't so a wedding or so special event. And then the following shoot that we finally got to do, we tried to include as many diverse models as possible, which are featured a lot on our fit guide, where we have less models, we have petite models we have, you know, more muscular men are taller men versus just like the standard 42, like slim fit guy. And then we have a non binary model. So we really wanted to find that representation. And all of that came from feedback that we were consistently getting, we are constantly trying to achieve what our customers want. But if there are consumers that are listening, or even if you're a brand that also happens to consume, I think what's something important to know is that these things take time planning and money. And some brands maybe are fortunate enough to have VC funding and unlimited, you know, opportunity to do these things as soon as someone asks them. But for a brand like us, it takes us a lot of time to do those things. So just sometimes just because you don't see something doesn't mean that it's not heard. It just means that it's probably in process or in progress and that things are coming in. So I think suit shop does a really great job of hearing what people say and meeting them where they are and giving them what they want. So but again, finest
Mariah Parsons 47:08
Yeah, no, I think that's great. Katie, were you going to add something I saw you for a second? No, I
Kristen Tomasonis 47:14
was just thinking like, yes, the women's line took years to to make. And I remember being there. And when I first started, we had a line that we created and Gene just was not satisfied with it enough. And it took two additional years for us to finally launch it on our website. So what Kristin said about each size being you know, unique that is truly part of what takes us so long, because we want to make sure it's perfect as can be.
Mariah Parsons 47:44
Yeah, my tic tock must be so well tailored to me, because I literally had a video yesterday talking about how, just with sizing, usually it's just like, especially in fast fashion. But like you just take the the smallest size and then just like upgrade upgrade upgrade and the fit, you lose the integrity of the fit as you go along. Because yeah, it's just you, you don't have the same amount of fabric, you need more fabric to cover different areas or just different fits different body types. So it I love that you brought up that point, Chris, in that you echoed it, Katie, that you have like you have the unique sizes, and you're not you're looking at a one but you're looking on a one by one basis, instead of just manufacturing based off of one model and then just adding X amount of
Katy Eriks 48:32
fabric so much like Dean sends out so many samples when like a new cycle is developed, like, you know, obviously we send them out internally in the team first make this like slight adjustments that she needs here and there. But then like before we launch on our site, if a customer needs it, or reach out reaches out to us, like specifically I you know, what's coming to mind for me is our women's 22 like 24 sizes. Anytime someone comment, like I don't see my size on your website, or that or we would even get like, you know, inclusive Instagram, you know, influencers who are like this right is actually not inclusive, they say everybody, but they don't go at the height, it's like we do go at the height of the DMS because we're like trying to work on it. So like when people when people reach out to us and they have those concerns, we're able to then send them the samples and work with them to like really make sure that the size grading is right and that we didn't just say oh, we'll just add a couple inches everywhere. And some people will come to us and be like, Why does this size jump from this many inches to this many inches and it's because in order for it to like the right way and with people's body shapes when tipic when like they typically jump from the size to the size, it makes a difference. So and people don't really understand that. So I do think it's important to mention like that is part of the customer experience for us to actually go through and develop products that are going to fit people and not just you know, increase some inches here and there to great up from that original size. So anyway,
Mariah Parsons 49:55
so no, I love the tangents are some of the best stuff, you know, um I also think we've been talking about a lot about the customer experience just in general and whatnot. And I know you gave us a little bit of a shout out with Malomo earlier. But I do want to talk about, maybe for the last couple minutes, just the post purchase experience in general. And the importance there as we round out the episode, because I think we've really highlighted what you all are doing, what considerations you're making to make sure that while someone is either placing an order or about to place an order, shopping with you all you're trying to make the best decisions possible for your customers. So I love to also provide some insight into the back end on how you're making sure you continue to do that after someone purchases with you.
Kristen Tomasonis 50:45
We, you know, we sell a product that really requires education. And maybe it's not just on how it fits or what size you should buy. But it's also like how much of your dress shirt should be showing for like a new modern look, or what side of the lapel you're supposed to button your booth or pin your booth near on. You know, it's just different than buying like a T shirt or a pair of jeans, there's like rules to suiting and things that you want to keep in mind. So I think having all of that education after they purchase is really beneficial for them, like with information they'll probably use for the rest of their lives. And I think that's really something that will have them coming back to us again, because we've taught them like, Okay, this is how your shoot suit should fit. And this is how you should wear it. And they feel confident that we actually maybe know what we're doing a little bit more than, like, selling you know, this this suiting products that we offer.
Katy Eriks 51:40
Yeah, and I mean, Malomo obviously plays a big part in that for us, because as soon as they place the order, we're hitting them with all the information they need. But we do that in other places as well where you know, if someone orders specifically a swatch, or specifically a trial, but they haven't ordered a swatch before, if they've ordered a trial, and they never look or they were just watching it never ordered to trial. And then they've abandoned cart like or whatever. Those are still post purchase experiences. They're just the purchases just slightly different, like technically the the trial and as much as a free, but we still need to educate them at those steps of like, what is the next step after that we kind of talked about that earlier, too. So I mean, I don't want to dive into it too much. But really, the post purchase experience to us is I would say just as equally as important as some of those like pre purchase experiences, so that they do feel confident when their suit arrives to them. And they do feel confident when they get the alterations. And like Katie mentioned, those moments are what keep them coming back. Just we're not in a CPG product like they're in. In a lot of cases, people don't think they're going to need multiple suits in their life of multiple different colors, and which is why people might lean towards rental. So once they realize that they can get the suit for the same price have this incredible experience not need to make a ton of exchanges and returns and some really great because we've given them that education. That's what gets our customers to go tell all their engaged friends. Anyone that they know that that that has to go to an event or wedding. That's how that is our retention, our return customer. It is that word of mouth and that all this all just circles back to you know, what is that experience like from the first touch point all the way to post purchase.
Kristen Tomasonis 53:23
I mean, we see again and again that a groomsmen in a wedding becomes the groom and the next wedding. And it's just like a cycle that continues to repeat, which is amazing.
Katy Eriks 53:32
We've had people I think that have been like their bear suit that they get for their wedding is like their fifth suit shot suit, or like their fifth suit job experience. Like it's 27 dresses, but yeah, I'm
Kristen Tomasonis 53:45
doing for my wedding.
Mariah Parsons 53:47
Yeah, yeah. And all the colors, all the facial everything. No, I think that's a great point. And like one of the things that I love that you pointed out, Katie is that the education will stay with them for a while. Yeah. And like that is like kind of like best practices, right? Like you're thinking through how to wear your suit. Yes. Like all those things, how to get it tailored, all the things that are specific to their suit, shops suit, but then you're also going that extra mile and saying like, Okay, this is how, you know, this is how you wear your dress shirt for this look and all that extra stuff that maybe you wouldn't consider unless it's kind of like, right in front of you're like, Oh, I didn't even think I had to consider that and now you know, look at the suit shots. He was gracefully telling me oh, you can wear it this certain way to achieve this certain look, if if you're in the market for that kind of thing. And one of the things I know that we've also discussed as a group has been, how you can be how those proactive messages and how that proactive educational content can help mitigate support and you know a customer feeling like they have to reach out to Katie, your team specifically to have One on one, contact details. So I just wanted to throw that in there because I think that's also something that is super helpful to consider for brands where it's like, that also helps mitigate concerns on both ends. It's not just one party or the other.
Kristen Tomasonis 55:15
Yeah. And it's truly based on what our most frequently asked questions are. So we're trying to answer them for you before you even have the chance to reach out to us.
Mariah Parsons 55:25
Yeah, well, I know this is been I feel like the conversation has been so quick moving. It's like crazy the hours flown by. But thank you so much for taking the time to join both Katie and Kristen. It is an absolute delight whenever I get to talk to you both. And I think our listeners are very, very, very excited to have such great experts in the field and be able to tune into the conversation.
Kristen Tomasonis 55:49
Thank you so much for always supporting us, guys.
Mariah Parsons 55:53
I got you don't you worry.