Sene, formerly known as Suitable, is bringing its customization capabilities to the women’s market. And although Ray Li, Sene’s founder and chief executive officer, said he’s targeting a customer who isn’t shopping at Zara, his ultimate goal is to be the Inditex of custom apparel.
“We want to produce runway-inspired custom product with a quick turnaround,” said Li. “The person we are trying to reach isn’t actually a custom shopper, but they gravitate to the product because of its unique design merit and they love the idea that it’s a piece they would buy as ready-to-wear but it will fit better.”
Li, who started with men’s suits, has released a women’s outerwear collection that consists of two trenchcoats, an evening coat and three casual jackets. Up next is shirting and blazers, followed by pants and summer-appropriate dresses.
The outerwear, which is available at Sene’s Los Angeles store on La Brea — Li also operates a New York store — is on-trend but classic. Women can walk into the shop, which is stocked with standard sizes, try on their size of choice and tweak the main pattern to better fit their bodies. The coats retail from $695 to $795, which includes the customization fees, and the shopper receives it within two to three weeks. While Sene used to work with body scanners, Li said the company now works from a sample garment in order to decrease the remake rate.
How is this different from a tailor? According to Li, tailors are restricted because they can’t change the placement or proportion of something such as a pocket. Sene uses software and machinery to generate technical patterns based on each client’s fit preferences, and they automate the pattern-cutting process to ensure accuracy, and then the garments are hand-assembled. The brand manufactures its clothes in the U.S. and China.
Li envisions opening 50 low-inventory stores throughout the states and wants to facilitate people who can’t get to the store by sending them samples and offering them the customization process via a Sene sales associate who can direct them over a video chat. The company raised $300,000 via angel investors and Li will start his first equity round in the next few months.
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