Featured Member: Noni Balian, General Manager, InStitchu
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Tell us a little bit about your background – what lead you to working with InStitchu in New York?
I studied fashion design, with a particular interest in online retailing. I always imagined I would work in women’s wear but I couldn’t resist the innovative brand direction that InStitchu co-founders, James and Robin, were taking. I worked at InStitchu in the early years of the business, taking on anything I could to gain experience, before ultimately returning to them in 2014 as Operations Manager in Sydney. Fast forward almost three years, I took the opportunity to expand our physical presence to the US starting with our New York City showroom.
What’s the concept behind InStitchu?
InStitchu creates fully customizable, made-to-measure suits and shirts for men. We offer over 150 suit fabrics that showcase the great quality of Australian Merino Wool and over 300 cotton and linen shirt fabrics. Whether in Australia or the USA, modern consumers require flexibility when shopping, and this is something that we hold close to our hearts at InStitchu. Our customers can come into our showroom enjoy a whisky, browse our fabrics, get measured up, sit down with a stylist and design up their items or they can order online from the comfort of their own home.
What does a typical day for you look like?
My days are never the same and that’s what I love about this role and opportunity at InStitchu. Usually I start the day by walking through Madison Square Park and past the Flatiron Building (which I’m yet to get sick of), I’ve hunted the most Australian style Latte I can find that is in close proximity to the showroom so I beeline straight there before heading into the office.
As we recently launched in NYC there’s been a lot of networking, promoting and building up the brand. This week I was focused on mapping out future events and working on various brand partnerships in Manhattan. My other day to day responsibilities involve recruitment planning along with development of the growth strategy.
What has been the biggest challenge for you since bringing InStitchu to New York?
Keeping up with demand! US consumers can not get enough of Australian fashion and InStitchu is especially popular because our styles can be easily tweaked to fit current local fashion trends. Men of New York have been waiting for a professional menswear option like this and have jumped at the opportunity to reclaim their workplace style.
Where in New York do you go for inspiration?
I just step outside, we’re right by the Flatiron building and Madison Square Park just off 5th Ave. You just walk a few steps and you see the best mix of fashionable men and women. It’s been great in these winter months to see how people keep warm and keep fashionable! A factor we really don’t have to contend with in the same way in Sydney.
Having worked with InStitchu in both Australia and the US what are the biggest differences you have found in men’s fashion and the fashion business world (if any)?
Surprisingly, a lot of the same trends are relevant here right now even with the opposite seasons, I expected due to the far colder climate that men would be shopping differently through winter, but it’s all about the layering. Men still pick the same sort of looks particularly for business attire. But that’s the great thing about InStitchu, we are relevant the world over! While we bring a little Aussie flair and style to our menswear, our customers are free to customise their garments to suit local and personal style preferences. We’ve had some bold customers which I love - they’re drawn to our interesting patterns and textures, so it’s been great to create those looks for them.
Where is InStitchu going in 2017?
InStitchu is going to continue to respond to a global demand for custom menswear, increasing our physical presence around the world. At the same time, we will also be getting back to our roots, and working on some new, exciting technological innovations to improve our customer experience both in-store and online.
How can people find out more about Institchu?
They can visit our website, www.institchu.com we have a booking tool available for all showrooms where people can book an individual fitting, group fitting or wedding consultation.
Do you have an offer or promocode you would like to share with the AAA community?
We’re offering the AAA community 20% off* their first suit purchase until the end of March with the code AAA20M. To redeem, book a fitting at our 24th St showroom by simply calling 646 609 4954 or using the online booking tool.
See InStitchu founders James and Robin here in this recent Qantas Rewards ad!