A new start-up is offering what it claims is the first online repairs and alterations service with a personal concierge pick-up and delivery service from all Central London postcodes.
The Clothes Doctor was founded by entrepreneur and former Goldman Sachs analyst Lulu O’Connor and offers “a convenient, high quality but cost-effective” solution for repairs, tailoring and customisation, and will soon add a fabric dyeing service to its repertoire.
A personal concierge will collect clothes from customers’ doorsteps and deliver them back, with all items steam-ironed and packaged in reusable canvas bags. All tailoring and repairs are carried out by the company’s team of seamstresses in O’Connor’s home county of Cornwall, where they operate from a remote workshop near Camborne, which is located between Redruth and Penzance. With 45 years of experience between them, the two seamstresses learnt their skill from their mothers before them.
O’Connor said that she hoped the service would encourage people to repair their clothes and send fewer items to landfill, as well as supporting the local community where she grew up. “Quite simply, as a clothes lover, I could see an annoying but fixable problem in the repairs and alterations market. The industry has not kept pace with the evolution of consumer habits, and until we launched, it took a lot of time, effort and money to get your clothes fixed properly,” she said.
“As a result, while the British spend a huge amount on clothes each year, a lot of these sit unworn in the wardrobe. Most people these days might struggle to sew on a button, and are time-poor, demanding instant results, so I could see we were crying out for a high quality solution, available to book at any time of the day or night,” O’Connor added.
O’Connor’s expansion plans include offering the concierge courier service to the entire country by the end of 2017 (customers outside of London can currently use a Collect+ service) and she aims to have six seamstresses on board by the middle of next year. The workshop has built in capacity for up to 12 seamstresses.
The company is also eyeing an Express Service with a three-day turnaround, and is exploring the potential of body mapping technology, which could ultimately allow accurate body measurements to be taken via a smartphone or webcam in a matter of seconds.
To use the service, customers can select from a number of options on its website, or select “bespoke” if the option they require is not listed. They can then select the courier service within London or the Collect+ service nationwide and then pay for the service online or via phone. For those using the courier service an email will be send confirming the time of collection and for Collect+ a pre-paid delivery bag will be sent to the customer which can be used to drop the clothes off at their local Collect+ pick-up point. Items are returned via courier or to a Collect+ point.