Stantt CEO Thinks Its Approach to Selling Men’s Wear Fits Just Right

Xconomy National — 

Stantt wants to make standard sizing anything but.

“Traditional sizing only fits 15 percent of guys,” says Matt Hornbuckle, the startup’s founder and co-CEO. “Twins come in and get different sizes.”

To connect guys with a shirt that fits well, the men’s wear startup created a database of “tens of thousands” of body scans. That information was then used to develop a proprietary algorithm called DataFit that has resulted in 99 different shirt sizes.

Stantt, which runs a physical store in New York, also sells the shirts online. Hornbuckle says the company can suggest the correct size—they are named after streets in Manhattan—using just three measurements: chest, waist, and sleeve. The shirts are made and delivered within seven days.

Getting the right fit is not just good for customers, it helps to solve a major headache for e-commerce companies: returns. Since sizes are different depending on the retailer or brand, many of us buy more than one size to see what fits best and then return the other items for free. In the retail world, that’s called “intentional returns,” and more than 40 percent of retailers report an increase in them in the past year, according to a study released in March by Brightpearl, which surveyed 200 retailers and 4,000 shoppers in the U.S. and the U.K. Intentional returns cost U.S. retailers $351 million in lost sales in 2017, about 10 percent of total retail sales, according to consultancy Appriss Retail.

Returns are free with Stantt, but Hornbuckle says customers rarely have an issue with their shirts. DataFit can provide a perfect fit with 98 percent of the time, he claims.

While most companies focused on the sizing issue are in women’s apparel, attention is beginning to shift to men. Earlier this year, The Black Tux, which offers formal wear rental for men and bills itself as the men’s version of Rent The Runway, reportedly raised $30 million from investors such as TZP Group. The Los Angeles-based startup also has a partnership with Nordstrom.

Knot Standard, which sells custom suits, creates a 3-D image from a man’s measurements in order to make digital patterns. The New York-based startup wants to provide the individualized service of custom tailoring, but on a large scale. “We decided to build a portal that would liaise between customers and old world tailor shops,” founder and CEO John Ballay told Forbes in an interview last year. (Disclosure: Ballay and I are acquaintances from when we both lived in Dubai.)

The seven-year-old company operates seven showrooms, along with pop-up shops, and has a partnership with Bloomingdale’s.

That’s the sort of “omnichannel” strategy—selling in stores, online, and through wholesale partners—that Hornbuckle is pursuing with Stantt. Customers can come into the New York outlet, buy online, or purchase through other retailers. Stantt’s shirts are available at 200 Nordstrom stores nationwide, for example.

“Seventy-five percent of purchases still happen in a retail setting,” Hornbuckle says. “But it’s shifting, and we want to be able to offer an easy shopping experience and an amazing product when and how he wants to have it.”

Stantt was founded in 2013, launching through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign that raised $60,088, nearly five times the initial goal of $12,500.

Hornbuckle says the startup has raised venture capital but declined to say how much or who the investors are. “I think we’ve set a new standard of how we approach shopping for men’s clothes,” he says. As Stantt pursues additional growth, we’ll see if customers also think it’s the right fit.