An interview with Christian Benedict

Christian Benedict – Tell us, how does it work?

christian benedict london subscriptionIt’s pretty simple, really. Christian Benedict runs a subscription service whereby you can have a shirt for the office sent to you periodically. You pick the frequency of delivery, select your shirt and give us your details. We can take it from there. There’s no commitment so you can skip deliveries and cancel whenever.

Repeatedly buying the same (or similar) shirts is a boring way to spend your time.

“With Christian Benedict, our customers can instead spend their time on what matters!”

We just love the concept of the business, where did the idea come from?

My brother, Benedict.  He suggested I look at the subscription model and consider work shirts. The more I thought about it, the more I knew it would work. Men’s office shirts are in essence a variation on a theme and we all buy them periodically, so why wouldn’t you just have them sent to your desk or door (provided they don’t turn up when they’re not wanted)?

Is that the concern for your customers – that they could be charged for an unwanted shirt?

Yes, definitely. Nobody wants to be charged for something only because they forgot to cancel. That’s another reason why we send the selection e-mail around two weeks before a delivery – it acts as an important reminder and provides an easy way to skip the delivery if needed.

Have you always been in the fashion business?

No, not at all – I used to be lawyer, working in the Middle East. I have an entirely corporate background.

In fact, I don’t think of myself working in fashion now.  Our chief focus at Christian Benedict isn’t the latest style on the catwalk. Instead we think about freeing up our customers’ time so they can spend it on what they enjoy.

Who is your target market?

Our business plan says 25-35 year old, young professional males, but in practice there isn’t much of a profile. Our customers range from their early 20s to retirement (I know of at least three grandfathers who are signed up) and come from all walks of life.

What was the catalyst for your business?

As I said, I used to work in the Middle East.  When I decided to move home again, I thought I should go all in and change my career as well (I’d always day-dreamed about setting up my own business). So I suppose that moving back to the UK was the catalyst.

What was the ‘tipping point’ for your business idea when you knew you were onto something?

I think the ‘tipping point’ came when I started explaining the purpose of the business. That we were about removing a fairly boring task from peoples’ lives. So they could get on with what matters to them instead.  When I did that I was met with really strong agreement and I knew I had something.

How has social media helped to grow your business?

Social media has been key to getting the word out. We’ve got a growing following on Facebook and Instagram and through those networks we’re able to speak directly to customers.

It also acts as a conduit for encouragement.  Friends (and a few strangers) have been able to publicly give their support and at times that can be really important to you.

What has been one of the best moments in business so far?

When I’ve got feedback. I know I’ve got a good product, but I didn’t realise how much people would rate the quality of the fabric we use or that they would take the trouble to say so.

We’re so excited for the future of Christian Benedict can you tell us what we can expect from you over the next couple of years?

The most obvious change will be that we’re going to grow our selection of shirts (we plan on adding three shirts every three months).

In addition to that, we’re keen to get out and meet our customers so expect a few pop-up shops where you can come and have a free beer and check out what we have on offer.

Finally what are your top tips for the men out there on the best way to wear a shirt?

A shirt is such a staple that as long as your head goes through the collar and arms through the sleeves, you can’t go too wrong.

That said, if I had to give some advice, I suggest your readers consider their environments.  Generally, the more formal the situation the more they should be buttoned up (sleeves and collar) and the more informal the more they can unbutton (within reason).

Find out more through the Pearl and Pear shop here.

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