The Secret of the Suitsupply Brand Experience: Empowering People


August 17, 2015

suitsupply nish

“It’s not about the name. It’s about the product you deliver and the service around it.” Service and customer experience are at the very heart of the Suitsupply brand. This vertically integrated men’s fashion retailer is gaining a lot of attention and confounding many traditional industry expectations. I was fortunate to be joined this week by Nish de Gruiter, the self described Market Maker of Suitsupply.

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About Nish de Gruiter

Formally employed with Brunello Cucinelli, Suitsupply’s Vice President and Market Maker, 30-year-old Nish de Gruiter, was instrumental in bringing Suitsupply to the US, with the opening of its flagship store in New York City’s Soho neighborhood in June 2011. Just four years later, Suitsupply has increased to 16 stores across the country.

Suitsupply is a market-defining men’s fashion brand founded in 2000 in Amsterdam that’s showing strong international growth. In addition to their stores in the U.S., the company also has stores in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Russia, and China. Suitsupply’s strength lies in a trusted formula: straight, to the point, and still personal — the ultimate combination of craftsmanship and flair.

GQ Magazine said it best when they stated, “Well, it’s official. We’ve fallen for Suitsupply’s unmistakable brand of cool (at prices that will keep your credit card in similar shape).”

Episode Highlights

Being ‘vertically integrated’ isn’t just a talking point. It’s a core piece of Suitsupply’s brand DNA. “We do everything in house. The only thing we do via third party is fabric.” By keeping everything in house, Suitsupply is able to keep the prices low on their high-quality men’s clothing. That’s also why their stores are in offbeat, innovative locations. Everything they do is on brand and designed to maximize quality and minimize price to the customer.

“One day Tim Gunn just walked in …” By creating an interesting brand from the outset, Suitsupply didn’t have to go looking for attention. People sought them out as they created a newsworthy business. Tim Gunn got it. “He said ‘It’s all about product.’”

How do you create a brand worth talking about? Nish was on point here too. Everything comes down to customer experience. How do you create that? People. “All of our time goes into our people on the floor. That’s why all employees go to suit school and go through three months of mentoring.”

Suitsupply began as a startup in the founder’s dorm room. What are startups today missing about branding? “The CEO or founder has to have a vision.” They have to know who they are, what they’re creating, and what they stand for.

What brand has made Nish smile recently? Ralph Lauren. “You walk into their story and it’s a monster! It’s so on point.”

To learn more about Nish and Suitsupply you can check out their website. Nish also shared that every Saturday you can find him working in one of their stores to stay connected with customers and the sales experience. Talk about on brand!

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our listeners …
This week I wanted to give a shout to Rob Yoegel, a great marketer, podcast listener, and future guest. Rob was also kind enough to feature me on a list of 13 marketers you should know. Thanks Rob!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!


Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.




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