Wildfire 2018: WingDingPosted on • Posted in Articles, Teams
WingDing is the ultimate suit for the modern man. Their motto is that you don’t have to be serious to wear a serious suit. People are still wearing suits designed for their father’s generation, and WingDing is here to change that. It’s the perfect suit for people with active lifestyles – they look great, and feel even better.
The Garage sat down with WingDing founders, Logan Peretz (Weinberg ‘18) and Jonathan Reimer (Weinberg ‘18), to learn more about WingDing and the startup’s future goals.
The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What is WingDing and what was the inspiration for your startup?
Logan: We make suits that are capable of keeping up with the lifestyle of the modern man. It all started when one of our co- founders was at a formal in a traditional men’s suit. He was with a beautiful girl, with great music, great friends, and great drinks. It was his first fraternity event and he wanted to leave a lasting impression on everybody. He was really having a good time until he went to sit down with all of his friends, and his pants squared up on him. And that is when we sort of realized that traditional suits just aren’t capable of handling anything that men throw at them these days. So we set out to build a suit that would be lightweight, breathable, stretchy, and completely machine washable. We like to call them “Boardroom to Beer” suits because the theory is that whether you’re a college student or a working professional, you should be able to leave work on a Friday and head straight to the bar, and not have to worry about changing your clothes.
How did you come up with the name WingDing?
JR: So WingDing is synonymous with big events or parties and that’s where we got the original idea from. Today, work culture and fashion are leaning towards business casual, and we think that this is a perfect time to leverage this change in consumer behavior. So we want to create a suit that our customers feel comfortable and confident in, whether it’s in the office or on the dance floor.
What has been the biggest challenge that WingDing has faced?
Logan: It’s really hard to create a product that customers will enjoy and that can also be mass produced. The biggest setback really has been the manufacturing side of things, because we’re doing something that has not been done in the suit space before. We’re working one on one with our manufacturers to get them to adapt what they do to make our dream possible.
What sizes does the suit come in and what modifications have you made to make it fit well?
JR: We’re going to be doing the standard sizing like 38-40-42, with S sizes as well. But what makes our suits feel and fit so great is the fabric that we’re working with. We’re working with athletic fabrics that look formal and fit great. The materials will just lay on your body. It’s not necessarily structured and formed like a traditional suit; we’re taking out the chest piece, heavy shoulder pads, and arm rims. Making these modifications not only makes the suit machine washable, but also makes it fit better.
Logan: And while we’re doing some unconventional things with the structure of the suit, it will visually have the same look as a well fitted professional suit that has added comfort.
Do you have women’s suits as well, and how much do your suits cost?
Logan: Right now we’re just focusing on men’s suits. But we are planning to expand our lineup to include women’s suits as well. Based on research and conversations that we’ve had with many women, there’s definitely a market for women’s suits and women are just as interested in having a suit that fits their lifestyle. But for now, we want to master men’s suits before expanding to women’s suits.
On pricing, we plan to have our pre-order price at $299, but we’re still working on finalizing the exact details. And once we have our initial run and expand past the pre-order phase and move into regular cycles of inventory and production, we’re going to increase our price to around $349. So we really want to reward the people who buy into this early.
JR: We’ve even talked about bringing a tailor on for the initial pre-order sale, to do free tailoring for the first few people who order our suits. And in the future, we’re considering either entering into a strategic partnership with a tailoring company or potentially throwing in an official Visa card with the suit, so that it incentivizes our customers to tailor the suit to fit exactly to their body. This won’t take away from the price point, but it’s an additional incentive that comes with the suit to make sure it feels good and fits well.
How has The Garage helped you?
Logan: We’ve been Residents at The Garage for over a year now. We started WingDing as part of an entrepreneurship class. Without the support of The Garage and Northwestern, we would not be in business right now. Billy and Melissa, and everybody here, has helped get us off the ground. The Farley Center and professors there have worked in tandem with us at The Garage to find industry experts that we would never have been able to connect with without them.
Which entrepreneurs do you admire and why?
JR: Personally, I would say Gregg Latterman, who teaches here at Northwestern, is someone who has inspired me. He has been an awesome mentor for me, and I’ve been extremely lucky to have taken a class with him. He really loves what he does and his passion is infectious. He is not afraid of going against the grain. And, I think that we are trying to emulate his way of doing things in the suit industry. We’re trying to be ahead of the curve and do things that people are not thinking about – creating a machine washable suit that would be just a one time investment, where you don’t need to invest more money in it through expensive dry-cleaning.
Logan: Billy Banks at The Garage has given us so much support and advice. In fact, it’s to the point where his feedback is intertwined within the culture of our startup. Hearing his experiences with startups and his journey has been extremely inspirational, and it has taught us about the culture within the larger entrepreneurship community of collaboration and support. In the startup space, it’s all about making sure that everybody succeeds, and I really like this attitude of giving back.
This article is part of an ongoing series highlighting the startup teams admitted to Wildfire, The Garage’s Summer Pre-Accelerator Program. For more information about Wildfire, click here.