Tailored to convenience: New startup makes shopping effortless for men

Published: April 2, 2012

SHAHZEB SAEED’s representatives visit prospective clients on appointment to take measurements.DESIGN: MUHAMMAD SUHAIB

KARACHI: 

How many businesses, set up with a total investment of Rs45,000, achieve Rs1 million in annual sales within two years of their launch? SHAHZEB SAEED, a Karachi-based clothing brand for male corporate executives, is one such business. The brand has gained a strong foothold in the market for men’s formal shirts in a short period of time.

Featured recently as one of the ten entrepreneurs nominated for the Shell Tameer Awards 2012, and eventually winning the second prize, Shahzeb Saeed – the sole proprietor of his eponymously titled brand – thought of starting his own clothing line during an internship at Chevron Pakistan. “Executives there would often talk of the need for reasonably-priced, formal shirts that are well-stitched and made with good fabric,” Saeed tells The Express Tribune.

He formally launched his brand in January 2010 at an alumni dinner hosted by the Institute of Business Administration; where he was studying for an MBA degree at the time. On the inaugural night for the Shahzeb Saeed brand, he sold 20 shirts to 10 customers. From then on, with help from well-placed IBA alumni in Karachi’s business circles and frequent corporate events held on IBA campuses, Saeed capitalised on the easy access to his target market without incurring major marketing costs.

Made with similar quality imported fabric used by major brands like Cambridge and Cotton and Cotton, a formal shirt at SHAHZEB SAEED is priced at a reasonable Rs1,000 – about Rs800 less than what the other clothing brands charge.

Drawing inspiration from Ego – a clothing line for women that helps its employees become independent vendors by offering them interest-free loans to set up stitching machines and promising continuous business – Saeed has created three direct and seven indirect jobs.

SHAHZEB SAEED, which plans to gradually diversify into ties, cufflinks, trousers and suits, is currently based out of a retail outlet in Defence and relies primarily on word of mouth for advertising; especially in the vast IBA alumni network. “We have over 600 recurring customers right now,” he says.

“We’re going to introduce J. Hilburn’s business model for the first time in Pakistan, within [the] next two months,” he says, referring to the American luxury menswear brand. The new business model, Saeed says, will involve a relatively large sales force engaged on a commission basis. It will call on corporate executives with product catalogues, by appointment and at a place and time of the latter’s choosing, and take measurements and book customised orders.

“Corporate heads don’t have the time to drive to the tailor. We’d be the first brand to offer customised products to this market at affordable rates,” Saeed confidently reveals.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.

Reader Comments (10)

  • USK
    Apr 2, 2012 - 3:19AM

    this is not the first brand to do so , there are plenty and i know someone who has come a long way and started visiting corporations 10 years ago, nonetheless this is excellent for someone to capitalize on a need in such fashion

    Recommend

  • non-conformist
    Apr 2, 2012 - 6:06AM

    Well done Shahzeb Saeeed. Please enter the trouser stitching venture as well. We need you!

    Recommend

  • Wonderful
    Apr 2, 2012 - 9:48AM

    Give us your website, I would also like to buy to buy.

    Recommend

  • Ozzy
    Apr 2, 2012 - 10:26AM

    Not the first brand at all. I had been getting suits and shirts stitched from my tailor even 5-6 years back and he has a clientele of quite a few big bank executives on chundrigar rd.

    Recommend

  • Khalid
    Apr 2, 2012 - 11:47AM

    The concept is not new. The one you are referring does all on his own. Even I have gotten one stitched. Whereas, what their (Shahzeb Saeed Menswear) business model seem like is having a large sales force spread across Pakistan, giving tailoring at the consumer’s doorstep.

    Recommend

  • Khalid
    Apr 2, 2012 - 11:50AM

    Have personally experienced SS Menswear. Good personalized service and their prices and styles are too good for a corporate executive these days, taking into consideration the low share of wallet on clothing expenditure.

    Recommend

  • Fareed Ashraf
    Apr 2, 2012 - 3:54PM

    Great quality at a great price. I am an SS fan already. Keep up the good work SS.
    cheers
    fareed

    Recommend

  • Sheikh Ali Tariq
    Apr 2, 2012 - 5:58PM

    I have personally seen some of the work; and I like the business model.

    I think Shahzeb has the guts and the attitude to see this project through and make it a sustainable business. He is efficient, patient and hard-working.

    As far as novelty of the idea is concerned I am sure we all know that Orkut, Myspace came before Facebook but Facebook succeeded because of a competent CEO in Mark Zuckerberg.Similarly Shahzeb will competently implement his plans and see it through, I believe.

    Recommend

  • Syed Wajid Ali
    Apr 2, 2012 - 9:18PM

    Living in Dubai i roam around in big malls and just wonder why there isnt any Pakistani Entrepreneur even to speak of and why our best minds always end up in a cushy comfy jobs…….If we could learn just one lesson from our neighbor that’s entrepreneurship.

    I bought SS shirt in 2010 from Dolmen Mall in Karachi and i believe he has come a long way since then. Needs to be encouraged and supported by corporate community and others alike…

    Recommend

  • Mehreen Ali
    Apr 2, 2012 - 10:38PM

    haha cutting the advertising costs? tribune is not a bad tactic. the industry is flocked with setups such as this. sustain it for 5-10 years and then we’ll talk.Recommend

More in Business