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Digitising a craft based business – the importance of not compromising

Digitising a craft based business – the importance of not compromising

How did a 300-year-old tailor become digital overnight? To answer the question, we have invited the digital front leaders of the tailoring industry Joakim Hartzell, CEO of Götrich, and James Sleater, founder of Cad & The Dandy. Via their businesses’ digital implementation they have managed to expand their customer base and modernise their customer experience. Read along to find out what they have gained from digitising a traditionally analogue industry.

Get Savvy is Nordea’s business podcast, where we focus on one growth-related topic each week. This podcast is supported by Nordea Startup & Growth, Nordea Connect and Nordea Markets.

We want our listeners to get business savvy and street smart by learning from the masters. Experts in entrepreneurship, e-commerce, technology and social impact are invited to the podcast to share their stories and learnings.

You can find Get Savvy on your preferred podcast app, such as Spotify, iTunes and Acast.

Götrich Skrädderifirma AB opened their tailoring doors for business 300 years ago, making it one of Sweden’s oldest family-owned companies. Joakim Hartzell took over the role as CEO in 2017, and is hard at work bringing Götrich to new customer groups.

Cad & the Dandy is an independent tailoring company based in London, which during its 10 years in business has introduced digital processes into the ancient craft of tailoring, becoming one of Savile Row’s largest tailoring houses.

Becoming digital over night

Götrich atelier still have their old tailors and operate in the same way as the old version of Götrich did. From day one of the collaboration, Götrich could plug in the cloud-based system that Cad & The Dandy had built up. In a flexible way they could then decide how to implement the different components of the business in their processes on a daily basis.

Together with Joakim and James, we discuss how you can develop your business, maintain an existing customer base and at the same time attract new customer segments by transforming an offline community into an online one. It’s a story about how to enhance customer experiences and tear down barriers, while keeping track of the core offering and heritage.

Digitising your business? This is what you gain.

Scalability and differentiation in a traditional industry

The use of technology allows for scalability and the minimising of risks, for example via the efficiency of customer insights and the ability to regulate your cash flow. “If we compare Cad & The Dandy to other tailors. We charge all our customers 100% when they make an order for a suit compared to most tailors on Savile Row, which do not take any deposits. There is actually a saying for this; You only pay your tailor when you go to buy your next piece”, says James Sleater, CEO and founder of Cad & The Dandy.

Another example is related to sourcing. Pricing is dependent on volume. Being a small tailor with only 3-4 employees in Stockholm, makes it difficult for Götrich to have a big purchasing power towards larger suppliers. Whereas Cad & the Dandy, being one of the largest tailoring companies in London, has a stronger negotiation power towards suppliers and can access the finest cloth.

Regardless of how many orders we receive in Stockholm, we can always find the right tailor to make that particular garment via the use of digital communication channels. Tailoring is all about making sure that you have the right skills, in the form of a pair of hands that does the right task
– Joakim Hartzell, CEO Götrich

Minimising risk

Digitally storing patterns and customer profiles helps to minimise risks related to your business’ intellectual property. Making your information digitally accessible for all employees aids your internal communication and allows your internal processes to run even more smoothly.

Enable knowledge sharing

Technology makes lives simpler. When every department of a company can access the latest information, actions can be taken even more efficiently. “An old school tailor had to go to a filing cabinet, your tailor had to remember who you are, resulting in so many moving parts. All of ours are digitally stored in the cloud and updated in real-time”, says James Sleater.

No compromising

The key in digitising a craft based business is that you do not cut any corners of the craftsmanship. You use technology to make sure you maximise the amount of time that you spend on the actual craft, instead of using all that time on administrative tasks, customer interaction, planning and purchasing. It is a way of also ensuring that you can still keep going with the old traditions of the craft, ensuring you hand make the garment in the same way that you have always done, spend as much time on the patterns, and the customer interaction when you have the customer in the shop, but you don’t communicate and send out letter and e-mails to the same extent.

A delicate approach to digitisation, compared to if you start with a properly digital business from the get go.

To get more insights and hear the full story, listen to the episode of Get Savvy on Spotify or Acast.

The podcast is supported by Nordea Startup & GrowthNordea Connect and Nordea Markets.

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