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The Dallas, Tex. startup may seem like an odd investment for a tech-focused venture firm, and its luxury product line sounds like even more of a stretch given the economic climate. I would imagine that many folks are cutting back on their clothing expenses until the economy improves. And as for those who are still wealthy, do they really want to do their shopping online?
That being said, here’s why the investment isn’t crazy: J. Hilburn is actually using technology to create a smaller, more efficient supply chain. The company buys the fabric directly from Italy, then sells it directly to consumers, which means it can sell at a lower price. So if you want a custom dress shirt that doesn’t cost too much, J. Hilburn might be the way to go.
The company prices its shirts at $79, $99, and $149. Now, I’ve never bought a custom shirt before (what can I say, I’m just not that classy), but I’ve paid just as much money for non-customized dress clothes, so this sounds like a decent deal. The only drawback is you have to wait five weeks for the shirt.
You can buy clothing straight from the J. Hilburn site, and the company says it has more than 300 “personal style advisers” spread throughout the U.S. who take measurements, place orders and deliver shirts to its more than 7,500 customers. You can locate nearby J. Hilburn style advisers on the company’s web site.
The press release announcing the funding doesn’t include the size of the round, but VentureWire reported that it was $4 million, which Battery has confirmed. The venture firm previously provided the company’s seed round.
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