Kurshid Alam’s tailoring business was heavily hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. His small factory in Bengaluru, which he had set up with some success in 2019, had to shut down temporarily due to the lockdown imposed in March 2020. But before heading back home to Bihar, he came across a peer to peer tailoring app.
“I suffered serious losses during the lockdown and my small factory was on the verge of closing down completely. That’s when I partnered with the Sytched tailoring app. Due to stable and consistent orders, my artisans have work and I’ve been able to save my factory. We now provide approximately 100-150 pieces per day to the company from our factory,” says Kurshid.
Similarly, Badre Alam, a tailor working out of the Bommanahalli area in Bengaluru, had to shut his operations down due to the lack of sufficient orders. Before the first lockdown, a significant portion of his orders came from making school uniforms. Naturally, when schools went online, uniforms were no longer a necessity. He had availed loans and other EMIs to clear which were highly dependent on the bulk orders expected in the school season.
“I had to sell my machines to stay afloat. Thankfully, a friend of mine introduced me to the Styched tailoring app. Thanks to the app, I have been able to resume operations in 2021, and remain no longer dependent on school uniform orders. These days, I receive guaranteed orders throughout the year from other sources as well. My orders have increased to such an extent that I am planning to employ 10 other tailors, and set up my tailoring unit,” he says.
The Styched tailoring app has been functional since March 2020.
The popular D2C fashion brand has developed a mobile application that allows tailors across India to find stitching tasks online. Tailors across the country, who were earlier dependent on seasonal orders, are now finding business throughout the year using this app. What’s particularly interesting about this P2P tailoring app is that it allows tailors to take up tasks from other vendors along with the guaranteed orders they get from Styched.
“A lot of tailors have been able to get their business back on track already using this new app. The pandemic has badly affected the tailoring community as their major orders for school/college uniforms and weddings were minimized. Styched has also come up with a plan to supply tailoring machines to tailors at affordable zero-interest EMIs,” claims Soumajit Bhowmik, CEO at Styched, in a conversation with The Better India.
The app essentially functions as an online cab aggregator, but for tailors. Not visible to the public on app stores, the app at present is shared on an invite-only basis. Tailors in all cities have a decent internal network that allows them to refer new tailors into the app. They receive the app on their phones as an APK (Android application package) file.
Once installed, the app lists down all available jobs based on orders received, and any tailor in need of a job may identify and undertake work that interests them. Subscribers are paid immediately upon completion of the task.
“The category of task that a tailor wants to pick up will be based on his expertise and his interest in a task. The tailors do not require any master tailor to take measurements or cut the materials as the materials are sent to them after all such cutting is done,” he adds.
What’s important to note here is that dressmakers will be provided with ready-to-stitch fabrics, cut with the help of Styched’s patented production on-demand technology.
This eliminates the need for any master/pattern cutter. Why is this important?
“A master/pattern cutter is a senior tailor who takes the measurements and cuts your material. The perfection of stitching is 90% dependent on this step. If measurements are recorded properly and cutting is done with precision, the final apparel is expected to be a great fit for the consumer. Master cutters are skilled and experienced tailors and are usually paid higher than other tailors. Getting the materials after cutting will enable tailors to take up tasks without having a master tailor. This will help them reduce costs and increase their volume of business. However, orders taken from other vendors by tailors besides Styched will require a master tailor as the apparel will also have to be sourced separately,” he explains.
Another interesting facet of this app for subscribers is the provision of tailoring machines at affordable EMIs. The tailoring machines are made available to the tailors in an “affordable zero-interest EMI scheme,” claims Soumajit. The cost of a good quality tailoring machine can range between Rs 6,000 to Rs 10,000 (depending on model and brand). The app also shares information on the available government schemes that a tailor can avail themselves of when they expand their business and try to set up a small business unit by themselves.
Thus far, Styched has onboarded more than 50 tailoring units (some of these units employ anywhere between 10 to 15 tailors) and individual tailors across primarily Delhi and Bengaluru. In total, more than 250 tailors have benefitted from subscriptions to this app, notes Soumajit. In the next two months, the app plans to expand its presence to Mumbai.
“When tailors work on Styched brand’s apparel, they get paid for their tailoring along with a 20% commission on the price of the apparel. There are no cuts on the work that they source from other vendors,” he says.
“This was an idea that was initially thought of to ensure smooth business flow for tailors during the first lockdown. However, the team discovered the vast potential of the application and then decided to come up with the existing model. Styched app is planning to launch on a mass basis to ensure any tailor across India will be able to use this application,” he claims.
Soumajit lists the steps to work with Styched:
- A tailor who has the Styched application can log in to the app using their mobile number.
- Once logged in, the user will be able to locate the available Styching task around their location.
- They can choose the tasks based on their expertise and can sign up for the available tasks.
- Artificial intelligence uses the database to recommend tailors the jobs they are more likely to be interested in based on their expertise in tailoring and past completed tasks.
- The materials (which are already cut according to the required dimensions) are then sent to the tailors.
- The app also gives them details on the patterns and instructions, if there are any queries.
- Once the task is completed the tailor can request a pick up on the app and the stitched apparel is picked up from the tailor’s stitching unit.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)