Matt Hornbuckle searched in vain to find the right-fitting shirt.
Time and again, either the arms and waist were baggy, or the sleeves a tad short. Hornbuckle figured he, like many guys, was resigned to tolerate the lack of tailor-made perfection.
But the final straw broke when Hornbuckle was out for dinner among friends in Hoboken two years ago. That's when a friend blurted out how baggy Hornbuckle's navy blue gingham button-down shirt appeared.
“After she said that, I was real uncomfortable in that shirt,” said Hornbuckle, co-founder of Stantt, a Hoboken startup that uses body-scan technology to size men for ideal-fitting shirts. “I never wore it again.”
That helped inspire Hornbuckle and co-founder Kirk Keel to form Stantt in 2011. Progress convinced both men to leave their consumer marketing jobs at Johnson & Johnson in April to devote themselves fully to Stantt.
Stantt is starting with the basics — polo and button-down shirts for men aged 25 to 35. If the business succeeds, they'll aim for broader age ranges and expand into sweaters, T-shirts, blazers and bottoms.
“You put on that really nice-fitting shirt, you feel comfortable,” Keel said. “What if our entire closet looked like that?”
Stantt obtained measurements of more than 800 men, aged 25 to 35, based on 3-D body scan technology. The company collected millions of data points gathered over a 14-month period.
Hornbuckle and Keel analyzed the data and concluded the ideal fit can be pinpointed by using three measurements: the size of one's chest, sleeves and waist. The business has since applied to the U.S. Patent and Trademark office for protection of its sizing formula.
“Those three simple measurements are all you need — the algorithms take care of the rest,” Keel said. “It matches you to the right size, figures out your body type.”
It's early yet — Stantt's customers so far are friends and family trying on test shirts — but support was broad enough to persuade Hornbuckle and Keel to start raising capital to help form a more complete operation with comprehensive inventory, marketing and an e-commerce platform.
The idea is simple enough, but Hornbuckle and Keel said it's hard to sell clothing manufacturers, which prefer the efficiency of mass production, on the concept.
Stantt said those companies instead produce many styles in fewer sizes, or just enough sizes that guys won't complain.
“We've faced some stubborn people,” Keel said. “The industry has been this way for about 100 years. What Matt and I are doing is a shift.”
Stantt said its ultimate goal is empowerment, whether it's making a strong impression at work or experiencing less frustration when shopping. If it succeeds, it just might help avoiding those awkward social moments like the one that inspired Hornbuckle.
“The vision that started this all is we want to change the entire dynamic in how guys shop,” Hornbuckle said. “We want to put an end to having to go to the traditional brick-and-mortars store. We want to put an end to buying a couple of different sizes online and having to return things that don't fit. It's definitely a lofty goal, and I'm an optimist, but we want to totally change this industry.”
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