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Sustainable and Ethical, Befits Helps You Find a Dress to Fit YOU


Trang Ho is originally from Vietnam, and moved to the US in 2011 for college. After graduating from Lake Forest College in Chicago, she took her first job as a consultant at Willis Towers Watson, a global HR consulting firm. Trang has been with the firm for 6 years and has lived in Atlanta, Singapore, and Houston. Since the pandemic, she has been living with her family in Bloomington, Indiana.


Tell us about Befits.


Befits is an Indiana-based sustainable fashion brand that addresses the fit issue for women by creating clothing that is customized to their shape and style preferences, while also being ethically made. Our dresses are classic and versatile—you can choose your own neckline, sleeve length, hemline, or even add side pockets. Each dress is handmade by independent female tailors in Vietnam, who receive a fair living wage instead of garment factories who often underpay workers. We want people to wear our pieces for years, so carefully source the finest eco-friendly fabrics to make the BEFITS dresses.



What made you want to launch this business?


I have always struggled to find clothing that actually fits from off-the-rack clothing stores. I wanted versatile dresses that would highlight my feminine curves and personal style. During a phone call in late 2019, my mom suggested sending measurements to her favorite tailor, Thanh Nga, in her hometown, Tu Son, for a tailored dress to wear at my wedding. To my surprise, the dress fit perfectly when it reached Bloomington! It was the exact design I wanted, and it cost a fraction of what a tailored dress in the US would cost. Since that first dress in November 2019, I ordered more tailored dresses handmade in Tu Son and shipped to the US.


I quickly realized that fit is a real issue for women and I wanted to share this special experience with other women who may experience similar challenges. After 8 months of talking to female consumers, tailors and fabric suppliers in both America and Vietnam, Befits was born. We focus on the following issues:

  • It is difficult for women to find clothes that fit well from off-the-rack stores.

  • There is no option for women to customize clothing they purchase.

  • Fast fashion brands rely on exploitative labor practices and provide little supply chain transparency.

With Befits, I have created a sustainable and ethical fashion brand that encourages people to buy less while purchasing quality clothing that actually fits their bodies and individual styles. Buyers will have the opportunity to connect with the tailors who hand make the clothing and to understand the actual cost of each garment. Befits is fashion for real people, by real people.


Your tailors live in Vietnam. Tell us about their expertise and relationship with your company.


Befits partners directly with independent tailors who own their tailoring shops in Vietnam. They are highly skilled and have been hand-making women’s clothing for 10- 20 years. These women are entrepreneurs themselves and mentor a team of young female apprentices. You’re welcome to visit their shops if you’re ever in Vietnam! Befits is very lucky to partner with these talented women to bring their handcrafted clothing to the USA.










What’s the process like for a customer ordering her very first custom tailored dress?


Personalize Your Style

Pick your favorite dress from your collection and personalize it to fit your unique style – from neckline, sleeve, length and side pockets!

Take Your Measurements Take your measurements wherever you are. You don’t need a tailor, you just need a friend. Make sure that you follow our 3 minute measuring guide to ensure that you provide correct measurements. It is Quick and Easy!

If you are still unsure how to take your measurements, you can schedule a free consultation with us. Simply select a time slot that is most convenient for you here. These calls usually take less than 10 minutes.

Our quality control and tailors also check the measurements you provide for reasonableness before working on your dress.



Ethically Crafted Your dress is tailor-made from scratch. Our independent local tailors only make your dress after receiving your order and measurements. Your can also get to know your tailor in our tailor profile. With this slow fashion model, you are improving lives of female tailors in Vietnam and reducing fashion waste with each dress you purchase. Quality Control and Delivery Once your dress is made, it will be sent to our quality control team, who carefully checks the measurements of your dress to ensure they match the measurements you provide. Guess what? You will even get a picture of your dress before it is shipped to your door. Once you are happy with the dress, we will ship it to you.



You are an HR consultant at Willis Towers Watson. How do you manage a full-time job and side hustle?


It is definitely challenging to manage a full-time job and my fashion start-up at the same time. I have learned that effective time management and delegation is a key to success. During a typical day, I work from 9 to 6 as a consultant and spend my early mornings, evenings and weekends on my start-up. During the first 10 months of my startup, I was trying to do everything from web design, graphic design, logistics to marketing. I realized that this was not an effective way of using my time and I have learned to delegate work to people who can do a better job than me so that I can focus on what I am good at, which is business strategy and development.



Female founders are grossly underfunded? What have been your experiences pitching to male investors?


I have participated in several pitch competitions and have learned that most of these competitions tend to focus on technology startups. Because Befits is a sustainable fashion startup, it has been relatively challenging to ask for funding. Therefore, I have prioritized local community funding and individual investors instead. Fortunately, I have been able to secure funding from the community ideation fund and INTAP (Indiana Technical Assistance Program) here in Bloomington.



How did you end up in Bloomington, Indiana?


My husband and I lived in a small apartment in Houston, Texas. During the pandemic, I was able to negotiate for permanent remote work at my company and we decided to move in with his parents in Bloomington, Indiana to save money on rent. We have really enjoyed living here. Bloomington is such a beautiful town with impressive limestone buildings and hiking trails. We are also very lucky to have such a supportive entrepreneurial community that has helped me to grow Befits.


What has been the most challenging part of building your business?


When I founded Befits a year ago, I knew that building a sustainable fashion brand would not be an easy job. Like many female entrepreneurs, I am growing Befits alongside my 9 to 8 corporate job. The business took up my early mornings, weekends and holidays. I have maintained this schedule since April 2020 and initially thought it would only take a few months to start a clothing line and make sales. Everything takes time. Success cannot be achieved overnight. Feeling exhausted and inpatient, there were many times I asked myself whether building a company was worth it.


After making a few first sales and receiving great reviews on the Befits dresses, I reminded myself of the value that Befits brings to

people. I felt so fulfilled and encouraged each time our dresses fit someone perfectly and made them feel beautiful, confident and empowered. It has become clear to me that, yes, it is worth my time to build a product that empowers women and supports small tailoring businesses in Vietnam. It takes time to build a successful brand and knowing the impact that Befits brings to women keeps me going.



How have The Startup Ladies helped you grow?


I joined the Startup Ladies community in April this year and have really enjoyed getting to know other female founders. Everyone has been very supportive and is willing to connect me with the right resources to help me grow my business. Running a business can be very lonely and having such a supportive community will be crucial to my professional and personal growth.



What’s next for you?


We recently launched the summer collection in May so I am currently focusing our efforts in

marketing this quarter. With the recent funding that Befits has received, I would like to invest in innovative eco-friendly fabrics (recycled coffee fabrics, recycled polyester, and plant-based fabrics), improve the current ecommerce website and expand our network of tailors in Vietnam.

Learn more about Befits or find the right dress for you at https://befitstailor.com/

 



























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