By Patricia Viscount
Quebec-based Surmesur Custom Menswear creates affordable custom-made clothing with an unwavering focus on customer service. With the recent opening of their new 2,400 square foot store in Ottawa’s Place de Ville (320 Queen Street, next to the future Lyon Station), the company has just upped its game.
“We offer more of a shopping experience,” says Jean-Pierre Lachance, Marketing and Social Media Specialist, Surmesur. “Our personal consultants help the client choose the style and fabric for their new clothing. We provide a comfortable lounge to enjoy espresso or scotch while they shop, and variable lighting so they can see what the fabric will look like in different settings.”
The new location allows Surmesur better access to their target market.
“With the imminent completion of the LRT project, we saw the opportunity to move in with it to be right on the doorstep of both the city’s biggest infrastructure project of the decade and many of our existing clients,” says Vincent Thériault, Surmesur co-founder.
Founded in 2010 by brothers François and Vincent Thériault, Surmesur allows men to create unique clothing, tailor-made to their tastes and offered at off-the-rack or ready-to-wear prices. However, the company is proud to say it still practices traditional tailoring.
“We’ve used technology to help, but we believe humans take the best measurements,” says Lachance. “We also want clients to come in and work with their personal consultant to develop their own clothing style. They can see and touch the fabrics which always helps them make better choices.”
As part of the unique experience, clients can also use in-store touchscreens to see a 3D rendering of what the clothing will look like, and clients can show their consultant a look or style they found online. Surmesur offerings range from custom-made dress shirts, suits, overcoats, to casual shirts and shoes.
In addition to the Ottawa store, Surmesur plans to expand to 25 shops in the next few years. Currently the retailer is in both small and large markets – the first franchisee opened almost a year ago in Vancouver. Their services can also be found in (to name a few) Quebec City, Montreal, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Mexico.
“The thinking in opening outside of Canada was to test the various markets,” explains Thériault. “Pittsburgh is a small market like Quebec City, and our approach is more personalized. Chicago is a large city so we had to market ourselves differently. We wanted to see if the U.S. market was ready for made-to-measure clothing, and it went very well. But at the same time, we have the opportunity to continue to grow in Canada, where our brand is better known.”
For expansion, cities like Calgary, Toronto, Winnipeg and Halifax are being considered.
Like everything it does, flexibility and customer service comes first at Surmesur. Its business model incorporates corporate flagship stores and franchisee opportunities. It also includes Shop In-Shop options for savvy retail owners who realize the value of offering their customers that special custom service; Surmesur offers small kiosks in existing off-the-rack clothing stores.
And with custom-made suits starting at just over $400, Surmesur’s “smart price” offers Made-In-Canada quality products at a great price.
Surmesur isn’t currently represented by a broker and the store design is done in-house. The retailer’s ideal location is standalone stores close to where their clients are found and where there is a lot of foot traffic – downtown or inner city. Their current stores range from 1600 – 3000 square feet.
Patricia Viscount lives in Calgary and has over 25 years of experience as a communications specialist, writer and editor. She began her career as a public affairs officer in the Canadian Forces before transitioning to a senior advisor role in the energy industry. Self-employed since 2016, she helps her clients navigate the stressful world of words to allow them to build business messages with confidence and clarity. Follow her on Twitter @PViscount, LinkedIn at Patricia Viscount or email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.