August 28, 2012

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Utah-based Custom Suit Startup Closes Seed Round

Di Lewis

August 28, 2012

Chase Murdock’s vision of bringing great-fitting clothes at good prices is getting a boost as his company, Dress Code, completes a seed round.

Royal Street Investment & Innovation Center (RSIIC) of Park City invested an undisclosed amount in the 15-month-old company. Murdock, CEO and co-founder, said the partnership with RSIIC was a perfect alignment between the company’s vision and RSIIC’s portfolio stressing customer engagement and experience.

Dress Code was started by Murdock and Adam Weber after the two spent time traveling in Asia after college. Murdock said they were struck by how different the marketplace for suits was, with a whole market built around custom suits.

As the two started looking for professional clothing and post-college jobs, both were really dissatisfied with what they were finding. “You’re trying to find a suit really in line with your tastes and closet, but there are a lot of boxy, conservative suits out there…So we saw a good opportunity to make a better shopping experience.”

The more preferences customers have about a suit’s style, color and other options, the fewer choices they have in the retail marketplace. While there are limitless options online, Murdock said most men still prefer to buy suits in a retail environment. “You want to touch the fabric and feel it and talk to someone who knows suits better than you do.”

That’s how Dress Code was born. By marrying the convenience and options of online shopping with in-person consulting, Murdock said Dress Code provides the best of both worlds. A style consultant comes to the customer’s house or office with style and fabric options and takes measurements. Then the company’s Asian tailoring facility makes the clothing and it’s delivered four weeks later.

By avoiding the overhead of a brick-and-mortar store, Dress Code keeps prices comparable with department stores while delivering custom tailoring. Murdock said it was important to keep costs down—suits run between $250 and $400—to cater to men who wouldn’t traditionally have been able to afford custom clothing.

The Utah-based company recently expanded into Vegas. During the time they’ve been in operation, Murdock said Dress Code has a 50 percent reorder rate.

“It’s difficult to consider buying a shirt from somewhere else when they’ve gotten a shirt like that (customized) before,” he said.

With a perfect fit guarantee and personalized help, Murdock said Dress Code has been growing quickly, which is why they decided to start seeking additional funding. The seed money will go toward some internal infrastructure improvements, as well as an expansion into Denver, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Murdock said.

Because there’s no storefront, the business is easy to grow. In addition to new locations, Murdock said they also plan to expand products in the future, with things like jeans, sweaters and a wider variety of shirt offerings. “Our goal is to have guys experience their entire shopping experience with Dress Code.”

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