Clothing is one of the few basic human needs. But not everyone wants to spend a lot of time shopping for shirts, especially men. The whole process of deciding where to go, physically going there, choosing the right design, size and color might be too tedious for these folks. Bleu Flamme, a San Franscisco-based startup, aims to solve this problem by focusing on custom-made shirts for men.
Launched back in 2011, Bleu Flamme’s mission is to create the best online shopping experience for custom men’s dress shirts. For $99 per piece, you can choose and customize your shirt and get it delivered right to your doorstep. The user experience is fairly straightforward: choose the design, pick a style, a collar, and then you can proceed to enter your measurements. This is where it gets interesting. Bleu Flamme has an “Auto Size Me” feature, which automagically knows all your measurements based on your weight, height, and waist size. When cofounder Jin Takahito Koh was in town earlier last week, he shared with us that the feature has a margin error of only 3%.
Bleu Flamme has grown to a team of 12 in both San Francisco and in Japan. The team aims to be the number one shirt company in Japan in the next two years. Orders are fulfilled worldwide from factories based in Shanghai. Shirts that do not fit your measurement are also available for exchange at no cost.
Jin declined to answer questions regarding transaction volumes at Bleu Flamme. However, he revealed that 20% of his customers come back for a return purchase within a month, and 80% of them return within a year.
Of course, the question of the viability of this business has popped up during our conversation with Jin. Custom-made shirts are not entirely a new concept. One of the players in Singapore, which immediately came to mention was Shirtpal/Neumodo, which was cofounded by Angel’s Gate’s Ash Singh back in 2009. The site has since gone offline. Jin assured us that Blue Flamme stands out from its competitors due to its various innovative features, particularly the Auto Size Me feature, as well as a real time 3D model of your custom design.
For e27 readers, Jin is kind enough to offer a discount code to get $50 off. When you place your order, key in the code “U1OP”. Here’s a message from Jin:
The purpose of this code is to help men to rediscover the value of their time and experience a super easy way to just a shirt so they can move on to do other things that matters more.
For women readers who want to surprise their fathers, husbands, or boyfriends with a truly personalized gift and take away their shopping frustrations forever – they can use this code too.