Tuxedo rental startup ￼the Black Tux has announced a $US10 million Series A funding round lead by First Round Capital.
The company is the first online-only tux rental and handles everything from suit design to production, rental logistics, and order processing.
It might seem strange to order a suit online without trying it on, but founders Andrew Blackmon and Patrick Coyne explain that it’s actually a much more streamlined process.
A normal tuxedo rental requires visiting a brick-and-mortar retail shop, getting your measurements taken, returning multiple times to pick up and drop off the suit, and when all is said and done the suit you’ve rented is an off the rack generic cut that has probably been worn over 50 times.
Blackmon, who organised suit rental for his own wedding explains, “When I look back at the wedding photos now it looks like everyone is wearing their dad’s old suit, boxy, ugly.”
He and Coyne, then one of his groomsmen, decided there must be a way to modernize the system and the Black Tux was born.
When you rent from the Black Tux you’re sent a measuring tape and instructions on how to take your own measurements (though if you’d rather leave it to a professional most local tailors will happily assist).
“No matter what size you choose we have a fit specialist team that looks after you, makes sure the size is right, and will answer questions about your body type,” says Blackmon.
The company also offers a Test Tux program which allows you to try out a tux up to six months beforehand for only $US40.
Once your order is placed, the suit is shipped directly to your door seven days before you plan to wear it. Blackmon says replacement suits are only needed 10% of the time and replacement sizes are free.
The total rental cost for a Black Tux suit averages around $US150, which is less than the average in-store rental especially when you consider the ease and time saved.
You’re given two days post-event to ship back the rental and Blackmon and Coyne promise that you’ll notice the difference in the way you look in photos immediately.
“Instead of some generic off-the-rack thing, people look and feel like they’re wearing a $US1,200 suit,” says Blackmon. “Our suits aren’t glued together or ‘fused’ like most rentals, they are high quality and hand stitched.”
The company currently offers five designs: three tuxedos and two suits. It has hired an in-house men’s suiting designer to spearhead its suit design efforts and has established a relationship with an Italian mill where it sources its materials.
The Black Tux also employs a team of in-house tailors and cobblers to keep their products looking fresh. When suits get worn out, the company donates it to a local charity in Los Angeles.
Blackmon and Coyne plan to use their new funding to build out the team in their Los Angeles warehouse and expand on their current suite of designs.
“We plan to launch more trend-specific and fashion forward styles this year,” says Blackmon. “You’ll definitely see a velvet tux coming out in the fall.”