Indochino has a new suit at the top. Eight years after he started the menswear e-tailer with University of Victoria classmate Heikal Gani, CEO Kyle Vucko is stepping down in favour of online veteran Drew Green.
The founding CEO of e-commerce marketplace Shop.ca, Green is tasked with further scaling a company that has expanded from a custom suit website to an omnichannel retailer with a growing network of bricks-and-mortar stores. Along with the CEO swap, the company said that it is on track for annual sales growth of 40%.
The company started searching for a seasoned executive to help scale the company in early 2015, Vucko says. “We as a board—myself included—thought it best to bring in a senior executive to take us to the next level,” the outgoing CEO explains. “It was actually something that I drove, given what was required of the business and the growth and learning curve ahead.”
The company engaged executive search firm Spencer Stuart firm to lead the recruitment effort. Vucko himself will remain as a special advisor to the company, though he’s moving back to hometown Victoria to join wife Amelia Warren, the CEO of healthy food direct sales company Epicure (the two were married in September).
Vancouver-based Indochino was one of the first entrants in the fashion e-commerce space and an early adopter of the omnichannel model. But there are now plenty of competitors in both those areas, and Indochino’s competitive set—which includes the likes of fellow Canadian companies Frank & Oak and Spier & Mackay—has expanded further with its forays into dress shirts and accessories.
Green lists the growth of omnichannel as among his reasons for taking the job. “The line between e-commerce and what most would call traditional retail has blurred right away to the point where for me everything is really just ‘commerce,’” he says. “It’s about providing a customer with a great experience, in any channel or format that they want.”
And Green is confident that Indochino has a defensible offering with which to do that. “Every garment that we make is one-of-a-kind for that consumer because it’s made to measure,” he says. “From an e-commerce perspective, having a unique and differentiated product is really one of the cores to success, not only in building a company but being able to scale [it].”
When we spoke earlier this year, Vucko suggested Indochino would look to expand its product lines within the menswear category. Green’s plans for the company seem in line with that direction. “Given our very loyal customer base, we see an opportunity to expand product assortment … to provide them with other garments to meet their fashion needs,” he says.
Though Green’s own entrepreneurial roots lie in e-commerce, he’s familiar with the traditional retail industry, having headed that vertical for DoubleClick, the online advertising company that now forms the basis of Google’s ad serving platform. He says the firm’s private equity backers—Madrona Venture Group and Highland Capital Partners—bring a similar understanding of the two sectors.
Indochino’s last round of financing was in 2013 and Green says there’s plenty of interest in the company and its plans. But he won’t put a timeline on fundraising. “What I think is really important as you build a growth plan for a company—and our growth plan is really a five-year plan—is that your investment strategy is aligned with that,” he says.
Vucko says Green has the right skill set to achieve and manage that growth. “He’s taken a company from zero, to the scale that we’re at now, to scales meaningfully larger than where Indochino is,” Vucko says. “He’s done that with venture capital, he’s done that in tight timelines, and building great companies and organizations through the whole process.”
Replicating that success with Indochino will require Green to hold onto the company’s pioneering spirit, Vucko says: “No one’s really scaled an omnichannel business before.”
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