Shopping frustration becomes successful venture for partners
“Why can’t buying a suit be as easy as setting up a profile on Facebook?” Kyle Vucko asks rhetorically.
The former University of Victoria business student is the CEO of the fast-growing Indochino clothing label.
The brainchild of Vucko and fellow UVic student Heikal Gani, Indochino was hatched back in 2006 when the pair were frustrated by their efforts to buy suits from a store before attending a conference.
“It boiled down to a few things: Why do we have to stumble around with sizing? Why can’t everything we want fit us? And why do we have to spend all this time driving to malls, looking around multiple stores and having multiple fittings?”
Their answer became their business. Indochino is an online tailor website that allows customers to input their measurements, pick their suit and style it to their liking.
Though the company is no longer based out of Victoria – Vucko has been based in Vancouver since mid-2009, while Gani is now in Shanghai – Indochino’s roots remain stitched to the south Island.
“We were writing the business plan while studying at UVic. As I was going through the start-up process, I’d throw it to professors for advice,” Vucko says.
“Victoria and the university was a great environment to set up and incubate the idea.
“And the faculty were really supportive.”
Vucko grew up in Oak Bay and was educated at Glenlyon Norfolk from kindergarten to Grade 12. Neither of the founders graduated from university, though, as their business venture took off and required all of their attention.
The 25-year-old Vucko says business has tripled every year since 2007.
They’ve expanded the company to have a strong base of suppliers and tailors in China, and they employ 35 people between two locations.
“The biggest learning curve for us has been on the China side. We have to essentially create a supply chain from the ground up because nobody does mass customization in China and ships directly to the door,” he says.
Prior to this venture, Vucko wasn’t interested in the fashion world. He didn’t even know which direction he was going to take once he graduated from UVic.
“I never expected to be working in fashion. This just kind of came to, and I’m glad to be a part of it.”