Saibu no Akuma is a fashion technology brand that focuses on providing its customers a bespoke menswear experience in regards to shirting and suiting. Heavily influenced by menswear and street-wear, the brand has traditionally been a face-to-face operation in a studio or a shop.
“What happens is that we work with our clients in a one-to-one consultation basis and focus on collaborating with the client to get a product or design that’s specific to them, very custom based on their life, behaviours, aesthetic, and size,” says cofounder Tony Wu.
The business basically came from a rebirth from a business that the group of founders were working on prior.
“We started off running a tailoring service for an international tailor, and we weren’t really that happy with how things were going so we decided to reinvent the business model and essentially become tailors ourselves. As we restructured this old business, we’ve been about five to six years in the game now and it has just grown organically since,” says fellow cofounder Sebastian Rodriguez.
Along with that, the guys started to look at some of the things that they thought could be done better, such as customer service and the back-end of the business. What they wanted to do was be able to understand the customer and provide them with exceptional service through the use of technology that they themselves understood.
The demographic that Saibu no Akuma works with is between 22 and 27 years old, a demographic that includes savvy social media users, who are looking to get into the tailored clothing ‘game’ to dress better.
“We provide a service that has a new feel for a new generation, and we look to appeal to a demographic that would usually count themselves out of an experience like that,” says Wu.
Part of targeting that demographic is the launch of the new Saibu no Akuma online store.
“We’ve launched the online store now, but we’re just trialling it with a couple of products to ensure that we can understand the logistics side, the fulfilment side, and understand that everything is just working towards a smooth operating model,” says Wu.
“We’re very different in the sense that traditionally this is just a service-based business, but we’re looking at how can we build this business as an actual [technology] business. This involves utilising methodologies from tech startups or actual organisations, things that many other tailors would not even understand. For us it’s really about making sure that we can launch a million things, but lets make sure that when you launch it, it’s smooth, its right, and we have a risk model set up in case something goes wrong and we can fix it.”
Something that the team has managed to do to get things running more efficiently is move what is traditionally a ‘paper-heavy’ industry to an almost entirely paperless system. In fact, Saibu no Akuma have worked one on one with each of their suppliers and manufacturers to develop an online system which is specific to them.
“That’s a really important piece, and the reason we came to that point is we outgrew the old model, which was the one we set up while we were running out of my lounge room, with everything on paper and through an order-for-order basis. As our volume started to grow, we realised that we can’t facilitate scale if we keep running on this model, so we needed to facilitate scale via technology,” says Wu.
The business now uses systems like Google and MYOB in order to streamline its whole back end. Prior to doing this, the team was spending up to 10 hours a week trying to complete tasks like manufacturer ordering and invoicing – these tasks now take less than 10 minutes.
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