The saying “invention is the mother of necessity” couldn’t be more fitting for online start-up Under 5’10.
Founded in May 2018, the Cedarhurst, N.Y.-based company was created to alleviate the frustration shorter men often feel when shopping for apparel. In fact, it was company founder Elie Robinson’s very own personal frustration that brought the concept to life.
“The average male height in the U.S. is 5’10, and mass manufacturers cut clothing around this average male height,” Robinson told Chain Store Age. “And who can blame them — they want to hit the broadest audience possible. While e-commerce takes away some of this stigma for shorter male shoppers, I knew there had to be a better way to build confidence for consumers under 5’10.”
Robinson brought some 20 years of executive experience in developing and managing start-ups to his quest. After soliciting the opinions of other men under 5’10 — and their spouses — he knew he was onto something. He found out that many men wear clothes that don’t fit them properly, invest in custom clothing, or buy off the rack and then have the clothes tailored.
Robinson knew that a successful line required a more accurate sizing scheme. To that end, the entrepreneur acquired Fittery, a digital company that used predictive analytics to create a sizing database that accurately determines body proportions. This database was filled with large data sets used to formulate the algorithms for both body sizing, and to match bodies to well-fitting clothing. He enlisted the help of his step sister, an analyst with Annalyze101, to query the database.
“We found between 50 and 75 size and fit combinations, but knew we needed to simplify or we would be drowning in inventory,” he explained. As a result, they narrowed down the best fits and cuts to six sizes — XS, S, M, L, XL and 2XL.
Ready to develop a proof-of-concept line, Robinson launched a 30-day funding campaign in May through Kickstarter, attracting 142 backers within 21 days. The process also solicited consumer feedback that he applied to the design of Under 5’10’s first collection — dress shirts that featured a trim, tailored look.
In August, the company’s e-commerce site went live with 11 shirt styles in…