How months of casual catchups led to suit tailoring startup Institchu acquiring its biggest competitor

Australian custom menswear startup Institchu has acquired its largest competitor in a move that will position the startup as the largest custom menswear retailer in the market.

However, the acquisition didn’t come from aggressive offers or crafty moves from Institchu founders James Wakefield and Robin McGowan — rather a few months of casual catchups, and a realisation the two businesses were effectively “doing the same thing”.

Institchu has now merged with Sydney-based company George & King, which had been running a similar online and in-store suit design offering to Institchu since 2012, with 14 staff and four showrooms across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth.

The business will continue to operate alongside Institchu, with founder Joel Deakin staying onboard to head up the operation. Speaking to SmartCompany, Wakefield and McGowan say an eye for acquisitions has long been part of the startup’s strategy, and the two had been fostering a relationship with Deakin for sometime.

“We started catching up with Joel [Deakin] every few months or so, and we slowly began to realise we were both doing the same thing — in slightly different ways — but in the same markets,” Wakefield says. Read more

Dominic Powell – Smart Company – 3 July 2018