It’s not just about the bride
Chicago – How many reality TV shows are there centered on the bride and her entourage finding the perfect dress? Now how many shows focus on the groom and his groomsmen getting a similar experience?
The Groomsman Suit, founded by Jeanne Foley and Diana Ganz, is all about making that a reality for a groom and his men. The Chicago-based company specializes in suiting guys for weddings on a global scale via its website.
“Guys have just been trained to deal with the options they’re given and not complain,” said Foley, the designing arm of the all-female TGS team. “As bridesmaids or brides, there’s so many options, and (the industry) caters to you, so you have this experience. On the men’s side, it’s a hassle, and they just sort of check it off their list, pay the money because it’s for their friend, and they move on. So for me, this is an eye-opening experience. There really should be something better — affordability-wise, quality-wise and something to keep and wear again.”
The idea for 3-year-old TGS came to Foley after her wedding — when she saw how much her siblings had to pay for tuxedo rentals. Since then, the duo (best friends from Kalamazoo) have been selling suits in four colors and a basic tuxedo, all in a variety of sizes, fit types and lengths. For under $200, guys can afford to get a light-custom, fitted suit for a fraction of the price of a rental. Men can go to the TGS website, answer questions like height, weight, fit preference and last pants size purchased, and a recommendation is made.
Men can order that size — and if it doesn’t fit, TGS offers free, fast exchanges. There’s even a free trial option when ordering online (swatches and a suit can be in a customer’s home in five to seven business days before he asks his guys to buy). The location at 1820 W. Webster Ave. also allows for walk-ins and appointments.
Ganz and Foley, both Lakeview residents, wanted the TGS experience to be one of immediate gratification because they said the idea of signing up for a rental and getting it two weeks before the wedding can be stressful, especially if the suit doesn’t fit very well so close to the time of the wedding.
“We have two collections — the classic collection is only available in one fabric — it’s lightweight, breathable, a nice hand feel, drape, very durable, travels well,” Foley said. “The premium collection is a merino wool, still lightweight but definitely warmer. The classic collection is under $200, and the premium is under $300; the classic collection is comparable to a $450 suit in a retail store, and the premium is closer to an $800 suit.”
TGS has grown from a Kickstarter campaign that raised $12,000 and had Ganz and Foley filling orders from a 1,000-square-foot storage unit in Jamaica Queens in New York City in 2016 to outfitting 1,400 weddings, 14,000 guys and yielding $2.5 million in revenue in 2018, according to Ganz. “We’re growing really fast because this is something that there’s obviously a need for, and we’re giving men an experience that they never had,” she said.
Their brilliant blue suit and lighter gray suit are two of the company’s most popular items, Ganz said, but they’re always thinking of broadening the customer experience. Next on TGS’ agenda – launching a small collection of their own shoes, promoting a collection of suits for kids and the high school demographic (Dap Suits) and creating a women’s line of suits.
“I think the thing that we do so well is make fewer options and do a way better job with fit. We’ve taken a completely different approach with all of these mix-and-match options, and we are very agile in the sense that we can make tweaks,” Foley said. “We see guys come back to us and purchase another color after they’re in a wedding with one of the suits because they liked it so much and want to wear it to work.”
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