A new warehouse, improved logistics and suits. So, so many suits. Those are a few of the things the LA-based menswear startup The Black Tux has on the docket for 2015, having just locked down $10 million in venture funding from First Round Capital to grow its business.
For those who haven't tested out its service, you can think of The Black Tux as a little brother to Rent the Runway, which recently closed its own $60 million round to bring its total funding to $116 million. Founded in 2012, The Black Tux designs, manufactures and rents out tuxes and suits to dudes for between $95 and $120, along with all the necessary extras: shirts, belts, ties, cufflinks, even shoes.
The concept was born out of a negative personal experience with traditional tux rental businesses, which the founders say keep product in circulation far past its expiration date and often mandate pickups the day before an event. The Black Tux delivers by mail a week early, includes free return shipping and, as co-founder Patrick Coyne stressed again and again when we spoke, is all about maintaining high quality stock. That means pulling suits the second they can't get back to good-as-new condition. Shoes and shirts tend to die faster; cufflinks have a longer life span.
Coyne says The Black Tux is profitable at this point, although he declined to share exact numbers on how many outfits the company has rented out at any given time. The team is currently expanding its range of suits, with two new styles coming out in the near future (navy, shawl collar) and another three by the end of the year. That means velvet for holiday, lads!
In case you were wondering — because I was — the team sees fewer booze-or pool-soaked returns than you might expect. More often they'll find forgotten best man speeches in the pockets, Coyne says. Which, yes, they obviously read.