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Affordable Custom Made Suits? It's No Longer an Oxymoron

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This story appears in the September 2013 issue of Start Up.

In 2009, when Richard Hall and McGregor Madden were working in Shanghai--Hall for the Canadian trade office; Madden for Groupon--the two friends didn't aspire to dress like GQ models. That is, until they fell in with a crew of stylish Swedes who introduced them to the world of low-cost custom clothing. As the two upped their sartorial smarts, others took notice. "When we'd go home for Christmas to Oregon and Indiana, all our friends would comment on how nice our clothes were," Hall says.

In 2011, after Hall lost his job and Madden decided he was ready to move on, they leveraged their knowledge of Chinese manufacturing and trade, technology and the Mandarin language to create Proper Suit, a company that sells high-quality, Chinese-made, custom laser-cut suits online. In just two years, Proper Suit reached $1 million in sales, and its founders, now based in Chicago, have launched a second, potentially more lucrative business called Hall&Madden, a subscription dress-shirt service.

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