Vishaal Melwani and his brother Mo hope to corner the everyday suit market with Combatant Gentlemen, an online retailer that sells aggressively priced, boardroom-ready apparel. In order to create a more affordable suit without sacrificing quality, the Melwanis have traveled the world and created a unique supply chain. They found wool in Italy, cotton in Turkey and India, and a factory in China where they began training seamstresses.
"The quality of the suits is comparable with a lot of the Hugo Boss stuff you can find in a department store for $800," says Vishaal. "The total cost of producing one of our suits is between $24 and $37 plus shipping, and we're actually invested in factories abroad so we can be even more competitive about price."
Vishaal's honesty about production costs is a bit shocking – he says transparency is one of the services he wants to offer his savvy customers – but the numbers are even more surprising. Most run-of-the-mill suits from unknown or lesser labels cost at least $500; Combatant Gentlemen sells its goods for $160. Vishaal explains the cost differential by pointing out that everyone in the clothing industry is always fussing about branding. He says that he spends his time focused on making "corporate essentials" more efficiently, instead of trying to build the cachet of his brand. [combatgent.com]