April 20, 2013
Custom menswear brand Arden Reed was founded in 2008 by Mike Abadi and Carlos Solorio. After leaving their investment banking jobs in New York, the two turned to Kickstarter and launched the company last year. They ended up raising over five times their original goal and became the men behind Kickstarter’s 12th most funded fashion project at the time. Since then, Arden Reed has grown to five full-time employees, shipping custom suits to over 20 different countries.
These days, Abadi and Solorio are excited about launching something entirely new, which they hope will revolutionize approaches to custom suit making. It’s a concept that will allow suit-seeking men to get their sharpest look merely steps away from their office (or home).
“We originally had the theory that men would be more than willing to measure themselves in order to get an affordable custom suit,” Solorio shared. “But over time, we learned that it’s only the early adopter crowd that’s willing to do that. So we decided to change our entire business model to cater towards a wider audience.”
This is why Arden Reed is launching – again via Kickstarter – the Tailor Truck, a new concept mobile store with a built-in 3D scanner that will circulate the United States twice a year. The Tailor Truck will be fully stocked with fabrics that customers can touch and feel. Professional tailors will also be there to measure and scan customers’ body forms to create the best custom-fitted suit possible.
Once Arden Reed has the measurements, customers can order from the comforts of their own office or home – without worrying about the wrong measurements that cause baggy, ill-fitting suits. Arden Reed’s Tailor Truck is scheduled to launch in July, and the deadline for its Kickstarter project is May 17th.
Tech Cocktail recently caught up with cofounder Solorio in New York, where he shared his vision of Arden Reed, his entrepreneurial journey, and the challenges that the company has had to overcome since its founding.
Tech Cocktail: What’s the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn so far?
Carlos Solorio: That being location-independent is not the best way to operate this company. I’ve been traveling during the build-out, and I was also in Start-Up Chile, which required me to be in South America. I’ve since realized that I need to be in the US – specifically, in New York – in order to really connect and grow the company as we’ve envisioned it.
Tech Cocktail: What’s the best entrepreneurship book you’ve read and why?
Solorio: I read a lot, and I think the best books are the ones that have had an impact on my life. I’ll have to give credit to The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. I’d add many caveats to the book, but it’s what got me to see a bigger world than what I had been aware of.
Tech Cocktail: How do you unwind?
Solorio: Reading fiction is one of the best ways to relax. I find that picking up a book at night helps me get outside my own life. Plus, I get better sleep!
Tech Cocktail: What’s your crazy, long-term, huge vision?
Solorio: We want to become the better version of Brooks Brothers. Over the next few years, I want the Arden Reed custom suit to become the norm – and that the first-ever suit a guy decides to get will be measured and scanned by Arden Reed.
Tech Cocktail: What’s one quirky fact about your team?
Solorio: We’re all over the place. We’re actually currently based out of NYC, Shanghai, Argentina, and Chile. Each country has different responsibilities, and it’s hectic getting everyone’s time zones aligned for meetings.
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