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    Date submitted
  • 04-Dec-2016

Parktown Clothing


Parktown Clothing is a Cape Town based social start-up that creates economic opportunities for a network of local seamstresses who may have lost their jobs due to factory closures or who need to earn income by working from home, by offering made-to-fit, locally-made clothing as a convenient alternative to having to go shopping, try on clothes, or have them tailored. As a minimum viable product, we currently offer formal, made-to-fit shirts for men at a premium brand price, but at a fraction of the cost of tailor-made shirts. We have been operating since May 2016 and continue to test and experiment with our product offering and production processes to develop a world-class, scalable business model that can remove the customer’s pain point while creating local economic opportunities. In the future we hope to expand our business model by offering a made-to-fit platform to small-scale designers and clothing manufacturers, giving them access to the market customers who want made-to-fit clothing and already have a measurement profile on the platform.


Original YouTube URL: Open

Introduction Video


Additional Questions

Who is your customer?

Our customer is a middle to upper income individual who would prefer to not have to spend time going shopping and trying on clothes and is willing and able to purchase our premium brand priced made-to-fit clothing as an alternative to ready-made retail clothing. Currently, as a minimum viable product, we offer formal, made-to-fit shirts for men, and hence our customer is primarily men in the business and financial services sector, or any organisation where semi-formal work attire is required.

What problem does this idea/product solve or what market need does it serve?

Parktown Clothing eliminates the pain points of having to go shopping, try on clothes, or have them tailored by offering affordable, made-to-fit clothing. South Africa’s unemployment rate is at its highest in 13 years, at 27.1%, with youth unemployment at 55%. . Low and semi-skilled labour intensive work, such as in clothing manufacturing, could offer employment opportunities, yet local industries cannot compete with imports from low-wage, highly mechanised countries such as China. Mass customisation offers an opportunity for small scale manufacturers to operate in the clothing production space – since most large-scale factories are not set up for small runs.

What attributes will make this idea/product successful? Why do you believe that those features will create success?

Digital patternmaking and lean production processes allow us to create made-to-fit clothing for the customer at a fraction of the cost traditionally incurred by a tailor making bespoke clothing. This allows us to offer made to fit clothing as an affordable (through premium brand price) alternative to ready-made clothing. There is a high demand for this service, as our customers are time-poor and do not enjoy the process of shopping and having to try on clothes or have them tailored.

Explain how you (your team) will execute to make this idea/product successful? What gives you (your team) an advantage over others already in the market or new to this market?

The venture co-founders, Tamryn Smit and Zara Hammerschlag, are both fellows of the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation and have completed the foundation's rigorous entrepreneurial development programme. Their combined legal and business knowledge and allows them to see the opportunity and relentlessly pursue it without being deterred by the challenges many who have been in the industry for a long time would focus on. The team are currently in the process of recruiting a full time patternmaker who will join the management team at Co-Founder level in 2017. She will bring the patternmaking and production knowledge to the team that until now has been provided by advisors, mentors and consultants.