Knot Standard’s John Ballay Talks Bespoke E-commerce

WWD on 2016 -Apr -01

“It was about a niche, a hole in the market that made it ridiculous that this didn’t exist, that drove us to come out and say, “Hey, there is a market void that needs to be filled in custom men’s wear,’” said John Ballay, founder of men’s apparel company Knot Standard, about why he started his company.

This story first appeared in the March 30, 2016 issue of WWD.  See More.

John Ballay WWD Men's Wear Summit 2016

Ballay, who in 2010 was an expatriate living in Dubai, started scaling a local tailor shop in the area and selling suits to friends and family almost six years ago. Now the company operates a robust e-commerce platform and maintains eight national showrooms with an original flagship based in Dubai.

Bespoke suits and tuxedos on range from $595 for a classic charcoal and blue windowpane suit to $1,995 for a Drago gray Glen plaid suit, with overcoats starting at $695 and going up to $1,695. But the point of differentiation is the level of personalization that goes into the creation of each piece — whether it’s trousers for $175 or a blazer for $695.

The site asks for a few measurements to build a 3-D body model of the consumer’s body so it can create a digital pattern that’s unique to them. From there, the piece is laser-cut and hand-assembled, with the consumer being able to customize cut, lapel style (skinny or wide), jacket details (buttons, pockets or overall style), embroidery, pleats and upgrades including stitching, contrasting button holes, adding extra pants or a waistcoat.

Ballay insisted that he didn’t build the company this way to “tick this box of omnichannel; it was about how can you create this experience and this product for as many as possible — and that drive is what pushed us to expand and grow.”