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Carlos Solorio is the co-founder of Arden Reed, a custom menswear startup. Founded in 2008, Arden Reed aims to change the way menswear is created. They cut out the middle man to supply customers with high quality tailored suits and shirts. Arden Reed launched its online platform earlier this year on Kickstarter becoming the 12th most funded fashion project.
Carlos Solorio has an extensive resume. At the age of 23, he’s managed to travel the world, executed over $40 billion in transactions in Latin America and helped cofound Arden Reed.
MO: What attracted you to Kickstarter and why do you think that you found such great success through this type of funding platform?
Carlos: We launched early on with Kickstarter. Before the million dollar hits started pouring in. The idea was crazy at the time. Why would you launch on Kickstarter instead of just going live on our own?
It’s been the smartest decision we’ve made thus far. The platform has given us so many benefits. We got to hear directly from our customers as we grew out our platform. We got a ton of free publicity. The capital it provided us was just a kicker.
MO: Where did the idea for Arden Reed come from and how have your background and experience contributed to the vision of the company?
Carlos: It was actually my co-founders idea. He just got his first internship with Lehman Brothers and he had to buy a bunch of suits. He’s an odd frame so nothing fit properly. That’s when he decided to try custom. The difference was so noticeable that everyone started asking where he had his suit made.
Eventually he decided to start a side business in school doing this. He would measure his clients and send the measurements to his tailor. It worked perfectly.
When we met, he was talking about taking the platform online. I had already started to dabble in building websites at the time so we partnered. We had all the infrastructure in place by that time, so moving it all online was easier than it could have been.
MO: Other than financial, what are some barriers to your success and how do you plan to overcome them?
Carlos: Once you first start out, nobody knows who you are. There’s a lack of trust. People doubt your ability to execute. That’s all fine.
There’s only one way to get around it. Perform. Execute the product vision flawlessly and get your name out there. That’s how we treat every product we send from our tailors. We want to make sure that it’s flawless.
We’re bringing an experience that’s supposed to be very intimate. We’re trying to build that intimacy into our product and treat every customer as he would be with his own tailor.
MO: You’re currently in Santiago, Chile as part of the StartupChile program. Can you share a bit about the program and what you hope to accomplish during your stay?
Carlos: We have an international vision for Arden Reed and Startup Chile has been very helpful to execute that. We’ve met successful entrepreneurs from all over the world and have had conversations that would have been impossible in any other place.
While we participate in the program we have a very clear goal to perfect our platform and business model. We have a ton of support in terms of view points and strategy that’s very difficult to obtain when you’re a first time entrepreneur.
MO: What’s your marketing strategy been so far and how much have you leveraged social media to attract your customers?
Carlos: Social media is a great platform. However, we’ve been careful in the ways we use it. We want to find a strategy that’s effective long term and from my point of view buying likes isn’t effective. On the other hand creating contests, engaging audiences, and talking to your customer have been very effective for us.
You can’t just purchase customers, you have to be creative and engage them in creative ways that build loyalty with our brand.
MO: Can you talk about your plans to roll out a traveling tailor and what that will mean for your company?
Carlos: It’s difficult to take a concept like ours completely online. There’s a relationship with a tailor that’s difficult to recreate. That’s why we’ve always had a vision of a both an online and offline platform.
Our travelling tailor program allows us to create a relationship with our client and mixing that with our online relationship it creates a powerful bond.
After our initial success in Los Angeles it’s something we hope to recreate nationally. We’re already planning our event in Chicago and can’t wait to move onto more and more cities.