Nevertheless, it’s a product and a look more and more men are clamoring for, as the market for custom fitting menswear continues to grow. Looking to reinvent the custom clothing experience for men, Monarc offers a seamless online retail experience allowing its customers to purchase quality and perfectly fitting clothing from the comfort of their home or office.
After various stints in start-ups and consulting (and a brief getaway to Fiji), Mookie Lee noticed a serious lack of solutions for men with an interest in purchasing high quality custom apparel but without proper knowledge of custom menswear. Since launching in Chicago in late 2012, Mookie and the rest of the talented Monarc team have been steadily building a company focused on outfitting men in Chicago with custom fitting suits, blazers, and button-downs while providing high-end service without the high-end price tag. Check out a video of a Monarc photoshoot here.
Having just started a job after school, I recently went through the process of searching for shirts and suits that fit well and looked good, but I hated every minute of it. Bouncing aimlessly from store to store and wondering if the price tag on many shirts was some sort of sick joke, I became fed up with the process before it really even began. Basically, I was the ideal customer for Monarc. Wanting to chat more with Mookie and the other co-founders, I arranged a custom fitting with one of Monarc’s style advisors at their office right outside downtown Chicago.
While one of their friendly style advisors measured me for a brand new Monarc button down, I asked Mookie about how Monarc is able to provide cost savings to its younger and budget-conscience customers. “Unlike other companies, we are partners with our manufacturer so we are able to cut costs from the beginning, passing on savings to our customer,” Lee explained. Additionally, the lack of a physical store allows Monarc to save substantially on inventory costs.
From its sleek and helpful website to its helpful and informative blog, Monarc spares no expense when it comes to marketing the style and convenience of the company. Ray J. Park, Monarc’s do-it-all Digital Community Manager recognized the value of online brand engagement the minute he joined the company. “As a new startup promoting affordable yet premium product AND service, it is important for the public to get a feel for your brand, style, and voice,” says Park. “Our message from social media to our style advisors needs to be consistent and appealing. Overall, our goal is to help men learn and experience the benefits of custom [clothing].”
Within a few weeks, my brand new custom Monarc shirt arrived at my doorstep. Among a closet full of work shirts that are too baggy or loose, a custom fit shirt stands out because I know it was made to fit me. At first, it was hard not to be skeptical of such a new company promising quality and convenience while still being affordable and accessible, yet Monarc delivers on their promise and then some. Trading expensive and frustrating trips to the mall with custom fittings and affordable quality is something I could certainly get used to.