A Fitting Beginning
Boston resident Samantha Shih was tired of trying to find clothing in American stores that worked for her über-petite but curvy frame. While living in China a year ago, she commissioned a tailor to create a 60-piece wardrobe expressly for her. The clothing fit brilliantly—and inspired the 27-year-old business consultant to look into what she could bring to the traditionally pricey made-to-order market here at home.
The result is 9Tailors, an online design-your-own-shirt company. Launched last month with partners Austin Wei (Shih’s fiancé), Joey Ho, and Joan Liao, it currently deals in men’s dress shirts that start at an affordable $60, and plans to debut a women’s line by year’s end. Customers log on to the website, where they can channel their inner Armani to choose collar style, cuff buttons, fabric, and other details, as well as watch video tutorials on how to take their own measurements. (For less Internet- or fashion-savvy Bostonians, 9Tailors offers at-home consultations with stylists at no extra cost.) Approximately four weeks later, your creation arrives at your door.
Shih says the key to her vision is placing a premium on personal style. With more than 40,000 total combinations, amateur couturiers have plenty of tools to craft their own distinctive look. "They don’t want to look like the person standing next to them," says Shih.