Steve Lee, CEO, Stripes, a South Korean menswear e-commerce firm, tells e27 about launching in Singapore, what motivates him, and more
Founded in January 2013, South Korea-based custom-made menswear e-commerce platform Stripes has come a long way.
Today, Stripes has operations in South Korea and Singapore, and a range of 150 shirts, 20 suits and 10 pants for customers to choose from.
The service is pretty easy to get around too. Stylists – who are employed by Stripes – will meet customers at their convenience, take their measurements and log their sizes down.
Then, customers can log on to the website and purchase the sort of design they like. When the goods are ready, they will be shipped to the customer.
In a chat with Steve Lee, CEO, Stripes, e27 finds out more about the business and where the company is headed to next.
Here are the edited excerpts…
Can you tell me more about the company?
Stripes is a custom-made shirt company. When the customer request a stylist’s service on our website, our stylist will call the customer and make an appointment, then our stylist will visit the customer and take their measurements. After that, the customer can order our products.
How big is the company?
It is making US$5 million in annual sales in Korea. Excluding factory employees, we have 60 members.
How much funding has Stripes received?
We have closed a Series B round of US$5 million from Fast Track Asia, Smilegate Investment, Stonebridge Capital, Hyundai Technical Investments and SK Planet. As for Series A, we secured a US$1 million round from Smilegate Investment.
How does the company generate revenue?
We sell our custom-made shirts, suits and other products. That is our business model. The customer can also visit our website and repurchase our products using online or mobile. Our profit margin is from 40 per cent to 50 per cent.
What are your biggest challenges?
Everything. Number One challenge is marketing, and to acquire new customers. Secondly, it is about stylist and team management. There are about 30 stylists, who are employees of the company, not freelancers.
How has it been since Stripes expanded to Singapore? Where’s next?
Two weeks ago, we launched in Singapore. We had a waiting list of 100 people. We have one management staff and two stylists in Singapore. We plan to hire five stylists or more in Singapore.
After Singapore, we plan to launch in Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taipei and Bangkok. We plan to launch in these Asian markets next year.
What keeps you going when things are rough?
I want to change the wardrobe of men. I want to give the customer fitted, high-quality shirts, suits and pants. That is my motivation. I want to change ordinary men to perfect, good-looking men.
Five years ago, I always wear custom-made shirts. However, there were pain points like bad service, or a long waiting time to receive the shirt. I want to change the customer’s experience using online and mobile, as well as offline services.
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