When Jeanne Foley and her then-fiancé began planning their wedding in 2013, the usual challenges awaited them – finding the right photographer, following invitations and responses, and drawing up a seating plan that would keep everyone happy – but what she did not expect was the subpar tuxedo that groomsmen would end up with. After seeing firsthand the outdated rental system and ill-fitting, overpriced garb, Foley realized how underserved the market was and knew there had to be a better way.
On her frustration was Foley’s childhood best friend and bridesmaid, Diana Ganz, who was equally disappointed with the tuxedo sourcing process. The two decided to team up to find a solution. Three years later, the duo launched The Groomsman Suit from their New York apartments with the aim of offering high quality suits at an affordable price with amazing service and comfort. Foley and Ganz were determined to boot the company until it was profitable, handling every aspect of the business themselves. But just a year later, it grew so quickly that they moved The Groomsman Suit to Chicago and hired their first employees .
“Our growth was originally driven by the exceptional products and experiences that we have offered our customers online that no other brand has achieved,” explains Ganz. “We offer a whole range of services, from free fabric samples and a home trial to virtual styling appointments and a group ordering system that makes wedding celebrations seamless and stress-free.”
Since 2017, the brand has grown by more than 380%, which not only makes the business concept a success, but also the ability of two women to transform a male-dominated industry. “As female founders in a largely male-dominated space, we bring a unique perspective to the table, and we see this as a massive advantage,” says Ganz. “From the online customer experience to product quality and fit, we never settle for anything less than we as a customer would expect when planning a wedding.” Fundraising has been challenging at times, and the founders have ultimately found a group of investors who believe in them and their mission, not sacrificing their dedication to the company and their ability to balance work and family issues.
Jeanne Foley and Diana Ganz
In the past five years, Foley and Ganz have also expanded into previously unknown territory: women’s and children’s suits. “While we started the company to address the lack of options and bad experiences men had in customizing for a wedding, we received requests almost immediately from women who would suit at their own wedding or whatever wedding they were wanted to be present, ”recalls Ganz. “We found that there really are no options for women, and instead of just letting them get by with our men’s line, we’ve spent nearly two years designing and perfecting our women’s line to be both flattering and complementary of our men’s collection. “
With this in mind, the founders decided to relaunch the brand under a new name. “We’ve worked hard to expand our size and fit types and have become one of the most comprehensive brands of any brand as all adult jacket and pants styles are interchangeable,” says Ganz. “This is especially important and relevant as wedding celebrations are becoming less and less traditional. Regardless of your gender, size or budget, we have a suit for you. ”
When The Groomsman Suit became known as a suitable destination for everyone, she and Foley felt that the name no longer reflected what the company had to offer and decided to change it to SuitShop to represent all customers they serve. “We looked at different options and brand names that were more designer or luxury. Ultimately, however, the most important aspect of our brand is the fact that we offer products of the highest quality at affordable prices through an exceptional customer experience, ”explains Ganz. “SuitShop is simple and comprehensive. It reaffirms our commitment to becoming the best fit brand for everyone. “
Even though competitors have collapsed or struggled in the face of the pandemic, the brand has seen continued success, and the relaunch precedes what the founders predict will see a huge surge in weddings. “After the wedding year 2020, over 90% of weddings in 2020 are either postponed or canceled, according to wedding reports, and 2021 could bring nearly a million more weddings than the average two million a year,” says Ganz. “We are already feeling this influx, as our sales have increased by 90% since December compared to the previous month.”
Beyond weddings, Foley and Ganz feel that the pandemic – and more than a year in sweatpants – has sparked a newfound hunger for clothes, be it for a special occasion or just for work. “We are confident that as people control the pandemic and lift restrictions, there will be renewed interest in celebrating and personal style,” says Ganz. “After 18 months in yoga pants, we are all ready for a bit of glamor.” Even so, the brand believes that comfort will always be key. “We’re too used to sportswear and the materials are so advanced that beauty doesn’t have to mean pain,” she adds. “As a SuitShop, we will continue to improve our products, as we have always done, and we are committed to sustainable fashion as well as inclusivity.”