This UAE made-to-measure shirt service is a game changer

Shirt By Hand is a new tailoring company in the emirates that specialises in custom shirts.

Robert Chilton August 25, 2016

Any guy who’s passed through Vietnam has probably seen its famous tailor shops that knock out inexpensive suits and shirts overnight. Shirt By Hand, a tailor-made shirt service in the UAE capitalises on this Far Eastern expertise to deliver crisp shirts to your door.

Based in Amsterdam, the shirts are made in Vietnam by people working in good conditions who receive better pay than the industry norm. The measuring process can be done at your office or home and takes just 15 minutes.

Three weeks later the shirts, which cost just AED 345, are delivered to your door in a smart and sturdy box. EDGAR spoke to the online company’s Tania Boldureva to find out more.

How did the idea for Shirt By Hand begin?

Ten years ago two friends from Amsterdam went on holiday to Thailand and Vietnam and discovered they could have great tailor-made shirts for a reasonable price. At that time online shopping was growing massively in The Netherlands. A year later they created a tailor-made shirt business. After years of success in the Netherlands, Shirt By Hand started to operate in Portugal, Germany, UK, Ireland and the Middle East.

Where does the fabric come from?

To ensure the best quality, our fabrics come from all over the world. We only use 100 per cent cotton of the higher two-ply premium quality fabrics. They are selected and purchased by one of the best fabric suppliers in Amsterdam and then shipped to our atelier in Vietnam. Several times a year experts visit our atelier to consult, either on the process or the finishing of the shirt. This sharing of expertise is a Dutch government initiative, paid for by them, which has helped us improve our product and service.

Can a customer customise their shirt?

The possibilities on our website are endless – collar, cuffs, button rail, button colour, coloured stitching, coloured piping. We also have a 'premium' line of shirts that have higher quality Super 120s fine fabrics, pearl buttons, higher quality interlining and luxury collar bones for AED 495 per shirt.

Which styles and fabrics are most popular?

Plain blue and white by far, simply because these are most common in the business environment. However, we’ve seen more customers ordering casual shirts in checks, denim, prints and linen in creative designs, especially in Dubai.

Any tips on what to order?

We recommend not ordering multiple shirts in the first order. Order one shirt, make sure you're happy with the fit and then order more. Even-though 99 per cent of the time the shirt fits perfectly the first time, if small adjustments need to be made we do what we call ‘fine-tuning’. 

Who’s your typical customer?

Our main target group are businessmen and women who need good tailor-made shirts on a regular basis without the hassle. Once their measurements are in our system, it's just a few simple clicks to order new tailor-made shirts. Here in Dubai many people want to buy tailor-made shirts but don't have time to visit the tailor.

What do you think is the key reason for the success of your business?

There is a big gap in this market for convenient online shopping combined with a personal touch and a real-world appointment.

What’s the biggest challenge you face?

Convincing the customers to try our online service as opposed to the traditional tailor. But once they do, they keep coming back for more. Our repeat order rate is very high and people discover that what they get from us is as good as the leading traditional tailors in the region.