Made in China:
|IR/PS grad student Jeff Horowitz
(left) co-founded DressMonkey.com
in January 2006.
Horowitz said the web-based company can offer young professionals what mass-produced apparel can’t, because it allows customers to have creative control over their clothes at a competitive price. He added that the online store gives customers with busy lives easy access to the store’s inventory.
In a way, the DressMonkey.com concept turns on its head the old idea of ordering clothes from Asia: in this business the headquarters is in the United States even though manufacturing is still handled in China with its much lower production costs.
The 26 year-old came up with the idea for the company after living in China, where custom-made clothing is popular. Horowitz co-owns the company with his former roommate, Coley Dale, who is based in Shanghai. The two met when they were studying abroad in China as undergraduates.
Jeff Horowitz and Coley Dale
Dale manages all order processing, production and export in Shanghai while Horowitz handles customer orders in the U.S. Although Horowitz, who’s fluent in Mandarin, operates the business from his home in La Jolla, he often deals with Chinese businesses and is steeped in Chinese culture. “We operate from a China perspective,” he said. “It definitely helps to have a solid understanding of the Chinese culture and language in dealing with Chinese business.”
After Horowitz received his bachelor’s degree at Claremont McKenna College he returned to Shanghai to work at a logistics company were he was the only foreigner in the entire business. Although Horowitz has a deep appreciation for Chinese culture, he was disappointed by the sense of style among his colleagues. “I was exposed to about every single fashion faux pas you can think of,” he said. The exposure to different forms of styles inspired Horowitz to enter the design industry.
Horowitz is getting his master’s degree of Pacific and International Affairs at IR/PS with a regional focus on China and a career track in international management. He has been studying strategic marketing, global economy and managerial economics.
He said he chose IR/PS because of its strong reputation in Pacific Rim studies. “The Pacific Rim has always interested me more than the Euro zone,” Horowitz said. “I felt ready to apply the practical real world experiences I gained while living and working in China with the skills learned in the classroom.”
Horowitz’s time is consumed by being a student at a top graduate school and operating a small business. “It's certainly been a challenge and thankfully there is an end in sight, since I am graduating this June,” he said. “This has required patience, organization, efficiency and sacrifice of the finer things in life like sleep!”
Most of Horowitz’s business correspondence is done via e-mail and since DressMonkey.com specializes in custom-made clothes, Horowitz has to respond customers’ request all throughout the day.
The company specializes in men's blazers and sports coats. Customers choose the fabric, color and style options and their orders are delivered within three weeks. The clothes are all made by contract manufacturers near Shanghai, but nothing is produced until the customer orders it.
Horowitz said the company has been profitable and he will continue to run DressMonkey.com on full-time basis after he graduates in June, but is interested in green business strategy and sustainable business practices.
Media Contact: Christine Clark, 858-534-7618