The company is one of 12 finalists for the Montreal Startup Challenge
Tailor2Go has changed a lot since its launch in July 2014. Founder Nathon Kong started off with just a measuring tape and a suitcase, traveling to businesses to give white-collar workers a chance to be fitted for a suit without the time-consuming shopping trips.
Now, Kong is putting his work on wheels. He drives his truck (named Elisabeth) to various spots around downtown Montreal to meet with clients who book appointments for fittings.
Tailor2Go is one of the 12 finalists competing in the first-ever Montreal Startup Challenge, an initiative started by MTL Blog. More than 60 startups entered the contest for entrepreneurs who are either enrolled—or have been enrolled—in CEGEP or university in the last two years. The competitors will soon be whittled down to the top five businesses with the most votes received online.
Tailor2Go has already garnered attention in the business community and has won several awards, including second place at the Concours québécois en entrepreneuriat in 2015.
While the convenience of having a tailor just outside your office building is a novelty in itself, Kong equipped the truck with a 360-degree scanner that calculates a person’s exact measurements.
“Before I bought the scanner, I went to 10 different tailors and had them measure me,” he said. “I got 10 different results. All tailors have different ways of measuring that will contribute to an error, so having a scanner makes it quick, simple, less invasive and more accurate.”
Kong said the scanner provides 80 per cent of the measurements needed for a suit, and that the other 20 per cent are preferences which vary by customer, including jacket length and the pant leg width, which can’t be measured by the machine.
“The scanner and the truck are a convenient way to go shopping, but we do so well by focusing on two things: one is the quality of products for low prices,” he said. “Because we don’t pay rent or have a lot of operating expenses, our prices are lower.”
The other, Kong said, is maintaining relationships with customers.
“We make sure you get exactly what you want and that you feel comfortable,” he added.
Nearly two months after re-launching Tailor2Go with the truck, Kong said the business has over one hundred customers. He said he’s trying to expand his business by working with companies directly instead of individual customers.
“In a practical point of view, it’s difficult for me to drive all the way to see one person just to sell one shirt; it doesn’t make sense,” said Kong. “When you go to a company, with one stop, you’ll have a lot of people who will want to see us.”
Kong said he got a lot of support from District 3, a collaborative centre for entrepreneurs within Concordia’s community.
“I’m very thankful with the mentorship and the help I’ve been getting from them,” he said. “I wouldn’t be here without getting help from my mentors.”
Voting for the Montreal Startup Challenge ends on Oct. 1. The five startups with the most votes will have to give a live pitch about their companies to a panel of judges. The first-place winner will receive a $10,000 marketing campaign from MTL Blog, including free accounting, legal, banking, and marketing consultation sessions.
To learn more about the startup companies competing or to vote, visit mtlblog.com/startup-challenge.