Monday, 18 February 2013

Tailor4Less Review: Part 1 of 3


In the past few years, a huge number of online made-to-measure clothing stores have popped up. They all have a similar business model.
  1. Use a computer algorithm to get tailored clothing measurements from a few simple body measurements.
  2. Utilize programmable machines to cut the fabric to the right measurements for the customer.
  3. Utilize cheap labor to assemble the clothing.
  4. Ship to the customer.
The made-to-measure model is appealing to me because I'm not the standard shape and I don't have a lot of money to spend on formal clothing. I have broad shoulders for my otherwise very slender build. I have to choose clothes that fit my shoulders properly, but that usually means that the neck is fine, the sleeves are too short, and the rest is baggy like a woman's blouse. I priced it out once; fixing all that on a shirt using a local tailor would cost $30 - $60. So I did some research on some of these made-to-measure services.

Basically, when you order made-to-measure, you're supposed to end up with a suit (or shirt, trousers, etc.) that costs the same as a regular suit off the rack, but fits better and saves you the cost and hassle of alterations. You also get to customize little details like how you want the lapels and pockets to look. Some websites claim to sell bespoke clothing, though this is a lie. Bespoke clothing is custom clothing that is handmade by a master tailor with you as the model (rather than some "standard"). There are intermediate fittings involved to ensure that the finished product is perfect. Made-to-measure clothing on the other hand starts with a standard pattern. Before the fabric is cut, some of the standard measurements are tweaked a little based on a few of the customer's body measurements. There are no fittings involved, but the final product should fit relatively well.

The main drawbacks of these online made-to-measure services are that you lose the in-store experience. You can't feel fabrics or look at various outfit combinations like in a regular store. If you're not knowledgeable about men's fashion, the staff at menswear stores can be helpful. Furthermore, a large number of these online stores don't have a phone number you can call. Not having a phone number can make things difficult and frustrating for unsatisfied customers. It's a bit sketchy for a company not to stand behind it's product with a good system for customer service.

Tailor4Less (T4L) is one that stood out because they seem to offer some of the lowest prices and appear to be pretty popular. Most reviews are favourable, though there are a few scathing ones. Unfortunately, I can't find any positive reviews concerning their customer service. This is alarming because good customer service is important to any successful business. Some of the most valuable reviews are from people who had their problems resolved by good customer service. Most detailed reviews seem to agree that the overall fit is not truly perfect, but respectable considering the price. Of the complaints that I've found, they're usually regarding the quality of the fabric or construction. Have a look at some reviews for yourself:

http://www.trustpilot.co.uk/review/tailor4less.com
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GniNx0gUOqQ
http://www.styleforum.net/t/101870/comparison-of-four-online-mtm-shirt-makers
http://www.guystyleguide.com/blog/2012/01/product-review-tailor4less/
http://sartoriallysincere.blogspot.ca/2010/12/online-suit-review-tailor4lesscom.html

When researching a business, it's important to keep in mind that a few angry customers doesn't necessarily mean they're a bad company to deal with. Anyone who's dealt with customers before can tell you that some people are simply irrational. I suspect that the majority of dissatisfied customers were people expecting too much, hoping to get something for nothing. Regarding fabric, T4L doesn't claim to sell top-quality fabrics (though it looks like the website might be deliberately misleading). Don't look at the S number alone, as this is only one important thing to consider when choosing a fabric. Pay attention to thread count, fabric weight, and fabric composition. You'll see that most of the fabrics offered by T4L are representative of typical inexpensive clothing. Regarding construction, T4L doesn't explicitly tell you, but it's safe to say that for the price they're asking, you're getting the cheapest construction available. The means no canvassing, no collar stays (or cheap flimsy ones), etc. Don't expect more for these modest prices. Nobody's going to waste high quality fabrics or extra labour for careful handmade construction on clothes this cheap.

That said, a few disappointed customers have put together a website dedicated to warning people. T4L doesn't have a phone number, so if they choose to ignore you, you have no way of getting any customer service. Some people report that T4L will get bad reviews deleted, which can be done even on websites like TrustPilot if you don't agree to the terms to allow them to verify that you're an actual T4L customer.
T4L also appears to be a cooperative of companies based all over the world. The website's registered in France, owned and managed by a company in Switzerland, yet protected and operated in accordance with Spanish law. T4L appears to have two headquarters, one in Barcelona, Spain and the other in Shanghai, China. It seems that all this allows them to get away with shady business practices like:
  1. No refund policy.
  2. No clothing labels. In many countries, including Canada, the law requires garments to have labels disclosing the fabric's composition, country of origin, and care instructions.
Actual satisfaction considerably less than 100%. Garments can be remade after you pay for the extra shipping costs.
In conclusion, my research indicated that the principle of caveat emptor is more applicable than usual when dealing with T4L. However, I was still intrigued. After all, I will need appropriate, well-fitting business wear when I'm finished school and can't just go spend all my money on one suit. I decided to proceed cautiously and order some fabric samples, so there will be a sequel to this review.

Update: Links to Part 2 and Part 3

15 comments:

  1. Okay to Post -

    Hi Guys -

    Regarding T4L and many other similiar companies, I am trying to avoid this type of problem, from a business perspective.

    Please look at my website: http://www.HongKongCustom.com - which is my new business model and is just being constructed.

    I am trying to come up with 3 product offerings, at three different price-points - three different levels of quality - to meet the needs of all my future clients.

    These levels are low price-point (good quality), medium price-point (very good quality) and high price-point (excellent quality).

    The third price-point would be an expensive and very high quality offering using the very best English and Italian fabrics, a large number of measurements resulting in a super-comfortable fit, etc.

    I intend on marking-up these offerings for resale. My service would include initial consultation and personal measuring, having the garment pressed at a cleaners after shipment, placement on a good quality, properly shaped hanger and hung in a nice but reasonably priced plastic suit bag, delivering the garment personally and doing one or two fittings and tailoring sessions to ensure that the fit is as perfect as possible, etc.

    Considering your knowledge of the online men's suit space (MTM, custom-made, etc.) and the quality, pricing and reliability of the companies with whom you are familiar, can you suggest three companies who would fit nicely into my business model - in the roles of low price-point (good quality), medium price-point (very good quality) and high price-point (excellent quality)?

    Steve
    admin (at) Sweetpuppy.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.HongKongCustom.com does not exist

      Delete
  2. Just like to add that anyone who use T4L should be prepared for no customer support at all. Once they have your money you are on your own. If there is anything at all wrong with the product you will never get a satisfactory response from these charlatans. As the review said caveat emptor is the order of the day. Stay away!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Let me chime in on their customer service...I found Tailor4Less online after reading an article about the new industry of online custom tailoring. I was skeptical, because one expects not only a high level of craftsmanship in a custom suit, but also a high level of customer service in a tailor. These articles said they offered both. I am getting married in May, and my fiance decided to order from their company. After paying for 2 suits to be made for himself and his best man, he was told that they "ran out of fabric" for the third suit for his groomsman. With only weeks to go before the wedding, their representatives have not budged to help accommodate him in choosing a new fabric for all 3 suits. Instead, my fiance and his best man have to pay for the 2 suits, and then have a 3rd made in another fabric. For anyone who knows the art of wedding clothing, this is UNACCEPTABLE. I am astonished at their poor customer service, and I will rail about it all over the internet, since it seems, we have no other option at this point. It is a new industry to be sure, and they are leading the way in setting the lowest standards possible. Thank you, Tailor4Less, for destroying the time-worn craft of tailoring. We might as well buy our suits at Walmart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear about your experience with T4L. But congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I'm sure if you can get a third suit in a matching colour, the guests probably won't even notice, and even if they do, they probably won't care. Folks at the wedding will just be happy to celebrate with the bride and groom.

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Had a very bad first experience with Tailor4Less - item delivered was a whole size larger than ordered, wrong style and sewn incorrectly. Merchant refused to replace unless I paid more money.

    ReplyDelete
  7. check out this website:

    themodestman.com, This is a guy they made a free suit for so he would recommend them! We would not

    Well, no one will be surprised when I say what everyone else has already said. I so wish I had read this before ordering my tux with them. I would post pics but they are too embarrassing. The Jacket looked like a waiters coat, the neck of the shirt would not button, the pants were too big and the vest was too small. They were very difficult to communicate with and because of all this the 2 events I was going to wear the tux to will not happen. They agreed to remake the jacket and shirt if I paid shipping, so I did. I did not have a choice. I did ask for a credit so I could order something of use, and they would not do that. When the remade suit arrives, we’ll see. They asked for pics and seamstress measurements over and over even after i had sent them. Only upside is that if it is right then I’ll have a tux on standby. Terrible at comTailor is much better at shirts, I have also used Original Stitch for shirts and once I got the measurement right they were good, but they were easy to work with for a remake and they had a US rep who spoke english well. Stay away from tailor4less. I will post this on their website as well after my suit arrives, but I doubt they will keep it on there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The comment above came from me, but I didn't post it on this blog. However, I'm glad it's here. I have still had ongoing issues with T4L. After I received my "remake" I had to get it altered. The length was definitely better on the jacket, but the sleeves were too long and the jacket was too big and the shirt was too long. All of those alterations equaled $65, so I sent an image of the invoice and they would not do a refund, but a credit on their website. Not surprised, so I included an earlier invoice from the pants they sent that were too big. It was $15, now if you're a math wiz like me, that is $80, right? But they only gave me a $70 dollar credit. After scads of emails, I finally threw my hands up, and gave up, over the $10 difference. The issue is this, because there is no reliable customer service, no phone number and no one that communicates in English well, there is a breakdown and I believe they use it to their advantage. They are making me 2 shirts right now that I put my credit towards, which should turn out fine. They made me one in the past (my very first order) and it was great. However, if I had not had credit there, I would not use them again. The Communication is simply too tumultuous. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  8. check out this website:

    themodestman.com, This is a guy they made a free suit for so he would recommend them! We would not

    Well, no one will be surprised when I say what everyone else has already said. I so wish I had read this before ordering my tux with them. I would post pics but they are too embarrassing. The Jacket looked like a waiters coat, the neck of the shirt would not button, the pants were too big and the vest was too small. They were very difficult to communicate with and because of all this the 2 events I was going to wear the tux to will not happen. They agreed to remake the jacket and shirt if I paid shipping, so I did. I did not have a choice. I did ask for a credit so I could order something of use, and they would not do that. When the remade suit arrives, we’ll see. They asked for pics and seamstress measurements over and over even after i had sent them. Only upside is that if it is right then I’ll have a tux on standby. Terrible at comTailor is much better at shirts, I have also used Original Stitch for shirts and once I got the measurement right they were good, but they were easy to work with for a remake and they had a US rep who spoke english well. Stay away from tailor4less. I will post this on their website as well after my suit arrives, but I doubt they will keep it on there.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Buyer beware. My name is Tim, my order #15611202016. This company will send you the wrong item, and tell you that it is what you ordered. I ordered seven waistcoats, one jacket, and a shirt for my wedding. One of two reasons that I used Tailor4less was the cost, as I was paying for my groomsmen. The second reason is that I could not find any other company that made the clothing articles in the material that I was looking for. The jacket needed some small tailoring but nothing that I did not expect. The shirt fits fine. The waistcoats all fit the gentleman for whom they were for. The problem is, the back of the waistcoat was a gaudy "Joker" purple for no apparent reason. I could have worked around this but the groomsmen won't be wearing jackets. I open a "support ticket" and received a response. The response was that I did not pay extra for the front to match the back. There is obviously a language barrier and their customer service because this same email went back-and-forth six times(this all happened over two weeks because they do not respond quickly) with me saying that I understood and that is not what I want. I only wanted to be back to not be totally missed matched and perhaps match the color of the lining. With this I was told that they were made to their standard and a support ticket was closed. I have no recourse in this situation. I will be seeking legal action because it was in over $1000 but I doubt that gets me anywhere.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I ordered two suits and a pair of trousers from Tailor4Less. Not just ill-fitting, but absolutely terrible quality. Not half canvas, despite their claims to the contrary. Had them remade to new measurements, with extra insistence from my side that they be properly half canvas (which they again said they would be), but they aren't. Thin, flimsy lapels, shoulders that don't sit right. Complete waste of money. And all this after literally months of emails backwards and forwards, as half the time they don't answer the question or only address half the points.

    By the way, it should be obvious if you read some of the reviews on this site that the 5* reviews are FAKE. For example, one review (by someone who's only done one review) says:

    "I stumbled on Tailor4Less on the Internet in trying to buy a suit for my husband. The website was impressive, the video for measuring was simple to follow, and the fabric I was looking for was available. I ordered the suit "hoping" my husband would not be disappointed. We were both AMAZED how quickly we received the suit, the impeccable quality of the suit, the perfect fit, and the price. We will be back!"

    Nobody talks like that. It's so obviously BS. It reads like they've just discovered the secret to eternal happiness.

    Now ask yourself, "Why would a company be paying people to write fake reviews of its products and services online?"

    *** AVOID!!! ***

    ReplyDelete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. *****DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH TAILOR4LESS.COM*****
    It is with deep regret that I must inform you that the company "Tailor4Less.com" should be thoroughly investigated for business malpractice. They have received payment, provided a terrible product which neither looks like what was promised on their website, nor (did mine) get made properly at all. You'll get the story of my terribly made coat below...

    I am, of course, an extremely unhappy customer, and I am not alone. In a 5 minute search, I was able to find tens of complaints from tens of extremely unhappy customers. All of whom warn others to stay away from Tailor4Less.com, for a variety of reasons, ranging from terribly made products, misleading online marketing to terrible customer service.


    WHAT HAPPENED TO ME:
    I was extremely excited to order a new coat, customer tailored to my exact body measurements.
    When it arrived, I was immediately heartbroken.
    Tailor4Less.com offers to fund further tailoring, but as you will read, they DO NOT take this seriously, and DO NOT practice good business.
    1.) The shoulders were 1.0 inch longer than the measurements I provided. (My tailor had to remove the arms and reattach them.)
    2.) The sleeves were stitched together with 3 different colors of thread (black, red and yellow). (My tailor had to take ever single piece of fabric apart and restitch the whole thing, with black thread only, of course!)
    3.) The sleeves were stitched together so poorly that there were holes at the seems (one was 1+ inches wide), and I could pull the seems apart with little effort. (See the tailor task above.)
    4.) The overlap at the end of the sleeves which is supposed to be used to fasten the buttons DIDN'T EXIST. The person who did this part just made a straight cut, then twisted the material so that the sleeves were triangular toward the ends. The final 3 inches of the sleeves went from about 4 inches in diameter to about 3 inches in diameter. This looked ridiculous, and was uncomfortably tight around the wrists. (My tailor was so confused... She had to add material to the sleeves so that they could be 4 inches in diameter straight until the ends.)
    5.) The coat materials do not match the images on the website. This is a common complaint. My coat is a nice color, but it is a way way way lighter gray than what was promised. So, it's not what I ordered.
    6.) I have spent hours attempting to achieve resolutions by emailing Tailor4Less.com, and I have spent hours and used gas driving to and from my tailor. Making the customer work is not good business!

    I communicated the final tailoring cost of $115.50 to Katia at Tailor4Less.com, along with a detailed description of all of the problems, their resolutions, and the receipt from the tailor. She stated nicely that the refund was on its way.

    The refund for the $115.50 CAD repairs came in as $67.34 CAD.

    SUMMARY:
    I paid $336.78 CAD for a miss-measured, poorly stitched, coat with holes in it.
    I paid $115.00 CAD to have it corrected to become wearable.
    I received $67.34 CAD toward the tailoring.
    I effectively paid $48.16 CAD for the corrections.
    I paid $23.39 CAD duty fees, which Tailor4Less.com does not advise you of before purchasing.
    TOTAL: I paid a total of $408.33 (for a coat which is now wearable, but still looks bad, and will probably sit in my closet long term).

    Several emails later, all Katia is willing to do is to offer me 10% off and $10 toward my next "Tailor4Less.com purchase", which will NEVER occur.

    IN CONCLUSION:
    People should be warned to NEVER SHOP at Tailor4Less.com, and the company should be shut down or fully reformed by regulatory authorities.

    Thanks for reading!

    ReplyDelete