Too tired after work but still need a tailored suit? Imagine having to travel to a tailor and standing around for your measurements to be taken when you could be resting in the comfort of your home.
Well, there’s no need for such a hassle anymore as mobile tailoring is now a reality in Singapore thanks to A Gentleman’s Tale.
With just a phone call, A Gentleman’s Tale will drive their mobile showroom and 3D body scanner bus right to your doorstep for all your tailoring needs.
However, there’s much more behind the concept of mobile tailoring as I sat down and had a chat with the founders of A Gentleman’s Tale, Kenneth Chia and Lyn Chan.
Of course, the route to building an established tailoring brand isn’t easy at all, given the fierce competition in Singapore.
“Lyn and myself, we took about 3-6 months off to learn how to cut, how to draft, learn about body shapes and colours. It’s really difficult,” says Kenneth.
They have branded themselves as graduates of the “school of hard knocks” due to the extensive and gruelling training they had to undergo from master tailors before venturing out themselves in the field of tailoring.
Lyn had worked in the fashion industry for 10 years and Kenneth honed his technical skillset in tailoring from the courses that he had undertaken. Seeing that the tailoring market had a lack of convenience provided to customers, they mutually decided that a mobile tailor can solve this issue. Fitting each of their strengths together, A Gentleman’s Tale was born.
Both Lyn and Kenneth believe that not all customers are purely looking at buying suits, shirts or pants like commodities but, but also want to experience full customer service.
“We want to build a relationship with you,” Lyn mentioned. Relationship and trust between tailor and client formed the core mission for A Gentleman’s Tale.
When they first started their mobile tailoring company, convenience to the customers was what drove their fundamental belief to work towards being a mobile tailor.
“We saw that convenience was something that is missing in the [tailoring] market – these days everybody is working very long hours and we thought, what can we do to make their lives easier?” Lyn wondered.
It is true that we barely have enough time to relax at home before turning in for work again the next day. Having to head down to a tailor to do up a suit? Man, it would be 10pm by the time I get there and all the shops will be closed.
“I can safely say we are one of the few tailors [in Singapore] that are 24 hours,” Kenneth said. Appointments in the middle of the night are a common occurrence for them.
To help solve the need for convenient tailoring services, the concept of a mobile tailor was incorporated into their business model.
During the initial stages of the company, Lyn and Kenneth would carry their backpacks and luggage full of fabric samples to their customer’s home while squeezing with the crowd on public transport. Measurements and fabric selection would be done at the client’s place before heading back to the factory to create the final product.
When their business started to grow, they felt that commuting via public transport is not as feasible as before. Getting a van would allow them to use it as a means of transport as well as to do administrative work, a way for them to have more appointments in a day.
After several months, they bought a van which was retrofitted with a mini wardrobe, full-length mirror and a curtained changing room. They could now easily carry all their samples and fabrics via the vehicle. The sofa in the van is also used as an office space for Lyn to carry out administrative work on the road.
As business picked up, thoughts of upgrading the van to improve the customer experience entered. “We love to travel, so why not we have a bus that is able to travel so we can travel up to even Malaysia and Thailand. Why a mobile tailor, when we can even be a travelling tailor?” Kenneth mentioned. As a van may not be able to hold enough materials to travel all the way up and might be tedious to provide the best customer experience, this mobile showroom was soon upgraded to a bus.
The bus was then fitted with the latest 3D body scanning technology that aids in the tailoring process and even a walk-in wardrobe where customers have standing space to browse as opposed to the smaller van.
Most importantly, customers can take full body measurements via the scanner to tailor different kinds of outfits which are stored in a databank. Furthermore, this helps to save time as compared to a traditional measurement process.
Standing still for long periods can get tiring and awkward while the tailor measures you out with a measuring tape, and that’s where the beauty of a 3D scanner comes in.
By standing in a specific spot for the camera and letting the 16 infrared points from the pillars scan, the 3D Body scanner takes your measurements in just two seconds and a 3D model avatar is created. Yes, 2 seconds and it’s pretty damn precise.
Of course, the old van still has its uses even though it is no longer used for measurements. The van is used as a courier transport to deliver customized T-shirts and polo tees to clients. Talks are underway for another mobile 3D scanner to be implemented in the van to double up usage too.
Lyn states that mobile tailoring may not be a new thing but what differentiates A Gentleman’s Tale from the rest of the Singapore mobile tailors was customizing an entire vehicle for customers to experience a full-fledged tailor shop at your home, unlike simply bringing some samples to them.
“Being mobile is not a new thing, but it’s how you bring the mobile concept bigger and stronger to let people know it’s a unique business,” Kenneth added on.
A Gentleman’s Tale has also collaborated with several local fashion brands such as W.H.Y & CO and Faire Leather where you can match unique merchandises to their suits.
Collaborations are essential for any business to accelerate growth and provide longevity. Lyn advises that “no man is an island.” These partnerships are what brought them to where they are today.
Asked about A Gentleman’s Tale’s future, the owners are wishing for their own factory to do better outfits and manage the entire timeline tighter. As mentioned, making a mark in the regions beyond Singapore as a travelling tailor is within sight too.
Most ambitiously, they brought up the dream of developing a poverty-stricken village into a craft village so that its villagers can make beads, watches and other accessories as stable income – thus completing the entire manufacturing cycle.
“When you provide the village with the means to earn an income, it allows the kids to be set for education.”
The owners feel that this craft village would provide more opportunities for those in need and allow for bigger dreams.
“When we first started this business, we never expected ourselves to own a shop and a bus.” Kenneth quipped.
“What I sell is confidence.”
Kenneth reinforces the company’s motto of “Look good, Feel Good, Do Good”, and believes in changing the world one outfit at a time.
Building a personal relationship with every single customer, A Gentleman’s Tale wants to be there alongside the life journey of their customers. “When you get a job, I want to make the suit that you will wear.”
More than just fashion, more than just a piece of suit; it’s about creating a story together.
“That’s why it’s ‘A Gentleman’s Tale’, everybody has their stories, it’s how our stories inspire other people.” Kenneth ended. Your suits aren’t just suits, it’s your story cast in fabric.
Price: From $599 for a suit, depending on the scale of customisation