Kostoom CEO Putri Yuli A. got the inspiration to start the business from a complaint about her mother (who is a dressmaker) she once received from a client.
“The client told me, ‘Why don’t you put your mother’s service online so that I don’t have to come this far just to see her?’ It made me realised that, if these customers are willing to go all the way to this little kampong to use my mother’s service, then why can’t I put all these tailors’ services online so that more people will be able to use their service?” she explained.
And with that, was the birth of Kostoom, a desktop app service that connects customers (‘Kostoomers’) with tailors or dressmakers (‘Kostoomakers’). Kostoomers only have to upload a sample design or look for references available on the site, completed with their size, measurement, and the dress materials.
If they live in Greater Jakarta Area, Kostoom can help arrange and take the dressmakers for a home visit to measure the size, as well as to pick up the dress material.
The Depok-based startup currently has 170 dressmakers registered in its platform, with target to reach 2000 dressmakers this year alone. Most of these dressmakers are in Depok area, as Kostoom needs to verify the quality of their works.
The startup was launched this February, and it is in the process of developing its mobile app.
Kostoom is run by a team of four co-founders with no immediate plan to expand anytime soon, as the company said it would rather be focussed on optimising the existing team. The startup is currently funded through bootstrapping.
In an e-mail to e27, Yuli described the stereotype of local dressmakers that Indonesians seem to have in mind.
“If you watch Indonesian movies or TV series … You’ll see that dressmakers are often being portrayed as living in a simple house, can’t stop coughing with pain relief patches on their head. Most local dressmakers are not entrepreneurs with big budgets, marketing [strategies], or [sophisticated] technology … They are home-based tailor with limited income, though their work quality is excellent,” she wrote.
To help improve the living of these dressmakers, Kostoom offers a commission system that allows dressmakers to keep between 75 – 85 per cent of the fee, depending on dress size.
To encourage dressmakers to use its service, Kostoom uses a personal approach to meet dressmakers and their communities in order to really understand the challenges they are facing and how Kostoom can help.
As for the Kostoomers, the startup still relies on social media marketing to introduce the service.
“We are providing a win-win solution for both Kostoomers and Kostoomakers so that both may feel the benefits of using our service. Because our vision is to empower dressmakers, so no dressmaker should feel disadvantaged by the service,” she wrote.
When it comes to the future, apart from launching its first mobile app, Kostooom has at least three different plans in mind.
First, to partner with new stakeholders such as garment vendors and small fashion retail businesses. Second, to launch a ready-to-wear online shop in its platform and finally it wants to build a dress rental service in their platform.
“We will launch the ready-to-wear shop feature in Q2 2016. It is basically an online shop that features limited edition works from Kostoomakers,” Yuli explained.
“The clothing rental feature will be for Kostoomers who had made a dress once through Kostoom, but it is something that is only worn once, such as wedding dress or kebaya … If we gather all the Kostoomers’ collection in one feature, we are certain it can become the biggest and most complete clothing rental platform [in Indonesia],” she wrote.
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Image Credit: Kostoom