For all men of a certain age, the tuxedo rental process is an overplayed three-ring circus. For The Black Tux co-founders Andrew Blackmon (groom) and Patrick Coyne (groomsman), the tipping point was in 2011 when the experience leading up to Blackmon’s wedding was ripe for disruption.
What started as a simple request from the bride-to-be — “Make sure you and your groomsmen are dressed appropriately” — eventually led to Blackmon and Coyne launching the nation’s second-largest tuxedo rental company behind Men’s Wearhouse.
“The Black Tux is ‘cutting out the middle man [and] offering a better product of a higher quality for the same price.'”
Since launching in June 2013, The Black Tux has grown its customer base into hundreds of thousands and repeatedly sold out of inventory.
As opposed to the traditional process, which requires three separate trips – get fitted, pick up, drop off – and sets the rentee back roughly $200, The Black Tux rents its suits and tuxedos for a starting price of $95 with the average customer spending approximately $140.
One of the many keys to the brand’s success is timing: In a burgeoning era of on-demand-obsession similarly minded players such as Dollar Shave Club (p. 67), MeUndies, Warby Parker, Casper, and others have emerged and thrived.
Another ingredient in the company’s secret sauce is an efficient supply chain. The Black Tux has consolidated each step of the process under its own roof, working with many of the same Italian craft fabrics that many top tier fashion brands use in their operations. Additionally, internal staff dry cleans, tailors, and manages the inventory. As Blackmon succinctly puts it, The Black Tux is “cutting out the middle man [and] offering a better product of a higher quality for the same price.”