Game Changers: Jeanne Foley and Diana Ganz, Co-Founders, The Groomsman Suit
This is an excerpt from an interview conducted with best friends Jeanne Foley and Diana Ganz, co-founders of The Groomsman Suit, an online retailer that sells affordable groomsmen suits that cost less than a rental tuxedo. Foley and Ganz were recognized by Total Retail as entrepreneurs that are disrupting the traditional retail industry. For the full interview with Foley and Ganz, as well as profiles of other entrepreneurs and startups reshaping retail's future, check out our Game Changers issue.
Total Retail: What was the white space in the market that you identified, and how do you believe your company can address it?
Diana Ganz: When it comes to wedding attire, there are few if any brands solely dedicated to ensuring grooms, groomsmen and bridesmen look their best affordably. For years, the market has been dominated by luxury or big-box brands which have convinced men that the only way they could afford a tuxedo is to rent. The majority of men agree that the experience of renting a tuxedo leaves a lot to be desired. In fact, so can the whole experience of getting suited up for a wedding as a groomsman or bridesman. We knew we could offer men a sharp looking and fitted suit affordably, all while making the process easy and even enjoyable. The Groomsman Suit is disrupting the tuxedo and suit rental model by offering stylish options men can own for less than the cost of a rental.
TR: What was the “aha moment” when you realized you might have a successful business?
Jeanne Foley: Our Kickstarter campaign really gave us the validation we needed to move forward full force. In February 2016, we launched The Groomsman Suit’s concept of owning a suit or tuxedo for $179 to see what the interest would be. After selling almost 100 tuxedos and suits in 30 days, we quickly placed our first inventory order and launched our website.
TR: How are you planning to scale your business?
DG: We believe in growing The Groomsman Suit intentionally. Since our start in 2016, we’ve had the good fortune of scaling to a multimillion-dollar company. While we’ve seen exponential growth in sales year-over-year, our focus remains on our product and customer service. Fast growth is exciting, but it can also be distracting and dangerous. We’ve held off on a lot of our marketing plans in order to double down on giving our customers an excellent product and experience. We know that if we do that, our customers will do marketing for us.
TR: What types of retail technology are you watching closely and/ or thinking of implementing?
JF: With online retail replacing a lot of brick-and mortar, figuring out ways to recommend the right fit to our customers is critical. Many online retailers struggle with communicating fit, and as a result they encounter incredibly high exchange/return rates. This is something we’re always keeping our eye on as the industry starts to come out with new sizing technology. We’ve developed our own custom “Fit Finder” based on customer data and sales history that has proven very helpful with minimizing exchanges and providing a great customer experience. We continue to use the data we gather to fine-tune and improve the Fit Finder. In addition, we’re always keeping our eyes out for new technology that we could benefit from implementing.
In addition to improving size order accuracy, we’re always looking to enhance our customers’ experiences. We’ve become a little obsessed with ways we can make our website more intuitive and easy to navigate. There’s so much we would like to do with our data to make our website smarter. In addition to that, we’re trying to find ways we can communicate with our customers in advance of them even thinking to reach out. We want to stay ahead of their needs before they even know they have them.
For the rest of this interview, and others like it, download Total Retail's 2018 Game Changers issue.
Related story: Total Retail's 2018 Game Changers List