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From eHABERDASHER - a half canvassed suit in $325 - $350 range. Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by eHaberdasher, May 8, 2013.

  1. VinnyMac

    VinnyMac Senior member

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    Oh. I see. That makes some sense. You may be able to pick up more of those $300-$400 customers.

    As far as cannibalism goes, it's not necessarily a bad thing. If you don't cannibalize your own sales, someone else will. It's a delicate balance. None of us know enough about your demand/supply or pricing strategy to make that call.
     
  2. thisfits

    thisfits Senior member

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    I think these are key insights.

    There's been a lot of concern in this thread about cannibalizing sales from the existing Benjamin line, but I also think this is a good opportunity to reach folks who otherwise wouldn't have checked you out -- that is, folks with a $250 budget who'd stretch another $100 if it meant a much better product.

    Maybe this is just me, but I think that $100, $250, and $500 represent key psychological barriers, where people maybe pause a little longer to ask themselves if it's really worth spending more. In this case, I think once someone's decided they're OK with spending $500+ on a suit, they're less likely to take a downgrade in quality in order to save $150 (as scatterbrain noted about himself). Similarly, someone who's accepted $250+ as a threshold for a suit is probably open to spending up to about $100 more for what they perceive as a disproportionate increase in quality.

    I'm no behavioral psychologist or pricing expert though, so what do I know?
     
  3. redboat

    redboat Senior member

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    I would be interested in half-canvassed suits at that price, especially if they have decent fabrics, the quality of construction is good, as I've heard yours are, and are in a modern cut. This would compete with Suit Supply for my dollar since they have half-canvassed suits at $399 and reportedly have pretty good construction standards.

    It sounds like you would carefully distinguish your different lines to retain the perceived value of the more expensive offerings, a classic marketing strategy that seems to work well in fashion as well as, for example, automobiles (VW/Audi, Toyota/Lexus,Chevrolet/Cadillac,...).
     
  4. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Interesting perspective... and I'm sure there is certainly a bit of truth to that. Then again there seems to be a general consensus that for entry level suits the customer may be slightly less sophisticated and therefore perhaps LESS picky. How often do we read on this board how most men in the world don't even wear the right size suit - let alone know much about how a suit ought to fit? I'm sure we'd get our share of returns and complaints, but that's just part of doing business. Service is the key, and we'll continue to try to provide the best customer service possible. We don't care to make it a common practice, but we've even taken back clothing that has been worn and altered. We've even accepted returns for items purchased over a year prior. That being said, it would be interesting to see if our experience with a lower priced buyer will be similar to your experience. Only one way to find out I guess.
     
  5. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    LOL I ought to put you on our payroll... thanks for (oddly) taking the time and thought! Your personal experience with our suits provide a valuable perspective and helps illustrate what thisfits also pointed out above.

    I have clicked on your article and I look forward to reading it later today - thanks again for your post and perspective.
     
  6. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Bingo you hit it - at least this is what I theorize as well.
     
  7. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Yes, this is a key point. For the most part I'm strongly leaning towards using the Benjamin label for this lower-priced half canvassed product, but it would just say "BENJAMIN" and a blue label with white lettering. Hopefully this would distinguish it enough from the white on black "BENJAMIN Sartorial Collection" label.

    OR do you guys think I should do a completely different name like VW/Audi? I tend to think not for simple branding reasons, but would be interested to hear opinions.
     
  8. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Senior member

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    Use something like Ralph Lauren, which differentiates between different colors (black label, purple label), or Johnny Walker, which offers the terrible red label, but very nice blue label. It would be a waste not the use the "well-known" name of Benjamin. As long as you make a clear distinction between these labels you'll be fine.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2013
  9. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    Honestly, i think the biggest thing will be the cut.

    slimmer, higher arm holes, side vents, etc, but while still conservative enough for a business environment (which suitsupply doesn't always meet) That way, even if customers don't value the half canvas or the fabric, at least the cut will be desirable.

    Leave the sack suits to BB.
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Yes - as always fit will be key. The models would essentially be the same between the two different lines. They certainly will not be sack suits... we will continue to offer fitted but not tight silhouettes.
     
  11. kmdsimpson

    kmdsimpson Senior member

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    Ben, as a biased fan of your store, I think this a great idea. There is a real hole for the style you offer at this price point. To me, the key is going to be educating or finding people who want the classic Italian styling and fit that you offer.

    When I look at what is out there, I see:

    - Jos Bank: Very different style than you offer (boxy, traditional), but very low prices - I just saw an ad last weekend for buy 1 get 3 free suits! (Yes, 4 for the price of 1). You cannot compete with that price and volume, but you can on style.

    - Brooks: Many more fits, but American, not European style. And very overpriced.

    - J. Crew: The very narrow, modern, young look. I find it faddish, myself. But the point is it is different than your style.

    - Men's Wearhouse: Not sure, as I have not been in one in ages, but I bet you can beat their quality.

    - Various brands in department stores: Boss (I know they have various lines), Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, etc... I find these to be different than yours, as well, but I wonder how much a casual observer would notice.

    - Store brands: Saks Off 5th is getting into self-branded suits in a big way. I don't like their styles and construction at all. But they clearly sell a lot and have compelling prices.

    Actually, the closest brand I can think of in terms of quality construction and nice fit for a half-canvassed suit is Ralph Lauren (the ones sold in RL stores, not "Lauren" sold in department stores). But they charge $1,500 for their half-canvassed suit.

    So to me, there is certainly a product niche there for you. The question I have is whether you can market against these guys and find enough people who appreciate the classic, tasteful European styling and fit you offer. There does seem to be a large audience here of people just starting their careers who are interested in dressing a certain way, but who cannot afford a $500 suit. Currently they are buying outlet finds or used from either here or on Ebay. I think all of them would flock to you.

    I also think that you could get people hooked on your suits so that they "move up" to your fully canvassed suits as they progress financially. Just like the RL stepladder as mentioned before.

    I hope there's a way for you to start out at a reasonable volume and give it a try. It will be exciting to see how it does.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  12. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Thanks for your input! I'm in the process of moving forward to at least test the market - I also plan on hitting suitsupply here in London later this week. I tried to search for a survey on this forum asking how much guys pay, on average, for a brand new suit off the rack. I may post a survey if I can't find one - or at least one that's been conducted here on the forum recently...
     
  13. chocsosa

    chocsosa Senior member

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    I think in the half canvass option if you can provide that with a good cut (softer shoulders, higher armholes, Lower button stance) at a $300-$350 price point you will beat out the competition. I look forward to what you come up with!
     
  14. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Finally read this article a few days ago... I'm still slightly conflicted but ultimately am determined to give it a shot. The overwhelming response on this board has been positive, and while the quality of a lower priced Benjamin will be slightly lesser quality in construction, we plan to continue to improve/up the quality of the Benjamin Sartorial line. Interesting argument in the article regarding Starbucks... lowering prices by 10-15%. Anyway thanks again for posting the article and for your thoughts.
     
  15. CousinDonuts

    CousinDonuts Senior member

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    Any thoughts to offer a line of sportcoats at the same time? Hell, if you priced just the coat at $350 I'd buy it.
     
  16. scatterbrain

    scatterbrain Senior member

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    Sounds good. I do think there's a lot of opportunity at that price point. If you make a brown suit with interesting fabric (nailhead, pinstipe, windowpane or glen plaid) in 43R I will buy it. :)
     
  17. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    No worries - jackets are definitely going to happen - possibly sooner than a restock of suits. Things got so delayed I'll have all sorts of fabrics for all seasons, which is fine since we've got scores of customers in Australia too! :slayer:
     
  18. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Admittedly we don't' get many requests for brown, but we're looking into doing a MTO program and may offer a TON of fabric ends we're buying from Biella from all the great mills. If this happens I'm quite certain you will have your needs AND wants met - and probably even needs and wants you didn't know you had! :D

    To clarify the MTO program would be for the Sartorial line only... not the half canvassed line.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  19. eHaberdasher

    eHaberdasher Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    Finally made it to Suit Supply yesterday here in London. VERY aggressive sales people... wow. But hey everyone's gotta eat I guess. Overall the styles were pretty nice I suppose - relatively wide range of models, but surprisingly not much in basics. I think someone else may have commented that it is headed in the direction of being more "fashiony" rather than classic in styling, and all the already functional sleeve buttons might work for some, but certainly not for me (need shortened by a good 1-1.5"). They had all but 4 different sport jackets - do they not do a big SJ biz? Didn't try on any trousers because those sales guys were on me like flies and were cramping my style - I was just there wanting to snoop around and try things on and they simply wouldn't leave me alone... had to get out of there. Headed north to Marinella... what a contrast - such nice people and beautiful little shop and great stuff as always. Received an invitation to the 2nd anniversary of the store opening cocktail party which is in a few weeks... anyone going?
     
  20. xxxamazexxx

    xxxamazexxx Senior member

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    As someone who's potentially a customer of your $350 half-canvassed suit, I don't think it will be good business for you, because:

    1. Your target customers will be those college students/grads getting their first suit for a job interview. They are more likely to go to the mall/department store and get something they can recognize, rather than spend their nervous money on something with little mass market recognition. To them, brand is quality, and you can't compete with J Crew, Banana Republic, etc. on that.

    2. As for the minority of college students/grads like myself who sneak around SF and appreciate true quality, they will actually go for the full-canvassed suit. Because there's no reason to get a half-canvassed at $350 when you can get a full-canvassed at $500. Some of them may still buy the half-canvassed as a backup or second suit, but I doubt if volume will justify your effort.

    That's not to say you can't make it happen. You will have to go another way instead of just making the suit and putting it out there. It will take some genius marketing because talking about quality to those frat bros and starving liberal arts college grads already sounds like a lost cause.

    There's another market for your suit, the SF member type who will buy a decent, half-canvassed suit at $350 but is not actually in need of one, because they already have something else better. To attract these people you should make your suits 'unique' in some aspects, such as fabric, styling, construction, and make them in short-run collections to stir interest. You can run parallel collections within the Sartorial line in order to capitalize on the interest and avoid the half-canvassed line eating too much into the full-canvassed line. (I suppose there will be economies of scale with regards to material and labor too.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2013

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