Thursday, January 04, 2007
WHO: Andrew Turner, GSB 2006
Andrew Turner has launched WorkshopShirts to bring quality custom shirts to the masses. You currently order from an offline sheet but online ordering is on the way. There have been a groundswelling of mass customization products that have hit the internet, from bags (Timbuk2), candy (M&M's), t-shirts (Zazzle), snowboard decks (CustomBoards) and even cars (Scion - although I think you cant really get all the features they promise) . All of these businesses succeed by building the operations back-end to allow fast customization and flexibility. They get a premium from the customers for letting them put the personal touch to a product that is mass produced on the back end.
Back to WorkshopShirts - they let you customize everything from sizing (chest, neck, waist, sleeves) to button styles, to monograms, to cuff styles, to collar styles, to fabric, etc. Essentially you can measure yourself and then make a shirt that is perfect for you. I can see getting a few made and slowly tweaking my design until its perfect and then never buying another shirt elsewhere again. Just change the fabric and go.
I personally applaud Andrew for the idea - I currently get my shirts from a little specialty shop on Union Street in San Francisco called Sean because they carry shirts that dont fit me like a balloon. They don't do custom shirt but luckily for me they have my body type nailed. I tried others like Thomas Pink and more expensive options and was left underwhelmed by the fit. They are usually good for the collar and arm length but the shoulders and waist turn my shirt to a tent.
There was some chatter around another GSB Grad, Lu Dong, who launched a similar custom shirt site in China called BeyondTailors but unless you are fluent in Chinese it will be hard to order a shirt from him or learn more about that service.
NEW - I had an email from someone noting another interesting custom shirt company. They have a twist that includes user generated content and crowd-ranking for T-Shirt designs. See more at Threadless.