Bespoke men’s brand ManuelRacim, founded by former Parisians Manuel Guardiola and Racim Allouani, combines tradition with modernity. Once custom shirt measurements are taken in the Tribeca storefront, they’re stored online. The shirts are then handmade by a century-old French atelier and shipped to the U.S. within two weeks.
How have you managed the numbers in Year One?
We started the business with our personal savings. We had to be strategic with the costs; no significant spending was made without comparing quotes and options. You may be tempted to skip this diligence when you’re in (funded) growth mode.
Our spending priorities were always centered on the customer experience. For example, creating a welcoming and functional small space was important – we’ve been blessed to find our special location in the heart of Tribeca. We worked with our interior designer, Virginia Harper, to develop a renewed and warm in-store experience. We also prioritized a website with cutting-edge, yet reliable technology.
We did the first version of the website through a web design agency. It was important for us to build a minimum viable product in the early stage in order to get customer feedback. Once this was achieved, we continued the development in-house, as we needed to have full control on functionalities and development cycles. A website like ours requires a lot of different skills — back/front-end of course, but also 3D, image processing, software architecture and web communications. We had to gather complementary skills and make sure there was a clear roadmap ahead.