TAELOR: YOUR VERY OWN ‘AT-HOME’ STYLIST IS HERE!
BY: LAURIE MELCHIONNE
EDITOR IN CHIEF: COREY GUEVARRA
PHOTOS: COURTESY OF TAELOR
It’s 8:30 a.m. You have a breakfast meeting with your boss at 9 and after that, you have a casual anniversary lunch date with your partner. Your closet is in shambles; you’ve spent the better part of your morning rummaging through ties, blazers and collared shirts. A tie is too fancy for the day’s activities, but a button-up shirt isn’t enough. The clock is ticking as you realize…
YOU NEED A STYLIST!
Meet TAELOR, the internet’s hottest innovation in custom menswear tailoring. Founded by Anya Cheng and Phoebe Tan just three years ago, what was once a baby-new start-up is now a rent-and-renew subscription service backed by million-dollar investors and rivaling some of the biggest names in rental fashion.
Both Cheng and Tan have a history with technology and innovation, two of the major skills that set TAELOR apart from other custom apparel services. Cheng got her start in Silicon Valley, while Tan was VP of procurement for a food company. The two met in Chicago during college, and their shared love of fashion brought them together to create an outside-of-the-box subscription service that is different from more seasoned names like Rent the Runway and Stitch Fix. While Rent the Runway offers custom styling solutions, one of its downfalls in Cheng’s eyes is that customers have to actually purchase their looks. This defeats the whole purpose of a short-term, circular rental service.
With TAELOR, not only are customers shipped outfits based on a personalized style quiz, in addition to one-on-one consultations with a team of stylists, but the pressure of a purchasing decision is eliminated. They can wear the clothes for the occasions they need them for, re-use them if desired, then return them. If they fall in love with a piece, they have the option to buy it. And that’s just the beauty of it: no commitments, no pressure, and no wasted closet space. Cheng and Tan wanted to offer a service that saves customers from spending thousands of dollars on the latest-trend clothes that, let’s face it, they’ll wear once or twice and then forget about. While this is the nature of the fashion industry, Cheng and Tan are throwing the status quo out the window.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
While TAELOR is run as a subscription service, control remains within the customer’s hands. Pricing depends on how many shipments the customer wants per month. Flat fees range from $79 for one shipment per month. For two monthly shipments containing five items each (10 in total), the fee is $109. Each box that arrives on your door features a variety of categories. From T-shirts to blazers and chinos, customers can sample an endless array of options and see what works for them (and what doesn’t). From there, TAELOR thrives on feedback. If a customer writes back saying, “I’m a size medium and need something for date night,” or “I really love red and blues,” TAELOR’s stylists take the customer’s words and run with them. Fashion is a constantly changing beast; our outfits fluctuate as often as our bodies. Seasons, moods, routines and special occasions all dictate what gets used or forgotten in our closets. TAELOR’s expert stylists know this; this is why they want your feedback. By the time the next month rolls around, an entirely new look is sent to the customer based on their evolving style developments.
If customers wish to take things a step further, they can meet with a stylist for that one-on-one consultation. Together, the nitty gritty of their style needs can be serviced. During the consultations, the stylist will send the client initial emails of their recommendations that tailor their entire wardrobe.
WHAT MAKES TAELOR GOOD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?
According to studies, people only wear 20% of what’s in their closets. The rest is left there to rot on hangers, unused and forgotten. What if there was a service that allowed you to use the clothes as long as you wanted them? When you’re finished using it, you don’t have to think about them again. That’s where TAELOR comes in. It allows for resale and circular fashion to thrive, a growing industry in the sustainable fashion sector.
A WIN-WIN COLLABORATION
Also at the heart of TAELOR’s operations are its brand partnerships. Together, Cheng and Tan travel all over the country to strategically select the hottest up-and-coming brands to offer to their subscribers. “There are some major elements we ensure that these brands will provide to our customers: sustainability, performance, comfort and quality,” said Tan when discussing TAELOR’s strategic approach to brand partnerships.
The two recently returned from the summer trade shows in Las Vegas at PROJECT and MAGIC, where they spoke to various brands on display. Partnerships with brands in Japan and Europe have also allowed these labels to establish a name for themselves in the competitive North American market. For TAELOR users, colors, styles and brands they typically would by-pass on department store shelves have the opportunity to be put to good use. Not only does this result in returning customers for both the partnered brand and TAELOR, but it also delivers buzz to a brand that would otherwise have to seek numbers from scratch. Think of it as a marketing scheme that offers a valuable service…to TAELOR, to their brands and to the customers that they dress.
Not only does this result in more traction and revenue for the brand, but it also provides them a seamless way to enter circular fashion with very little investment. According to Cheng, partnered brands’ financial incentives also revolve around unsold inventory pile-ups or new collection ideas that they need to light a fire under. This is where brands can take advantage TAELOR’s constant customer feedback, and tailor their own style developments accordingly. “They’ll say things like, ‘Hey, I'm curious about how many more I should produce?’ or ‘How can we test our new collection on TAELOR?’” explained Cheng. Small investment and big rewards are what TAELOR offers brands because it’s all about providing personalized customer satisfaction…which makes it hard for a customer to be disappointed, given that they have a hand in the process every step of the way.
PEACE OF MIND STYLING!
The best part of TAELOR, according to Cheng, is the peace of mind it brings to customers. TAELOR knows that the men who use their services lead busy lives; they might not have time to update their wardrobe each time a special occasion calls for it. Power lunches, weekend get-togethers and travel/vacations happen too frequently for many men; they can’t be bothered to tailor an entire wardrobe according to their schedule’s various needs. Fortunately, TAELOR does the work so you don’t have to.
“It’s an easy, modern way for them to play dress up,” Cheng added. “They can look good without spending a lot of time, energy and money on their style."