The Chapar concept originated from a father and son who believed that the way men buy clothes is fundamentally flawed. Plainly and simply, men don’t like to shop, whether on the high street or online. Sam and his father Joe knew there must be a ‘third way’ and so they established The Chapar, creating personalised outfits and delivering them to their customers’ door for the ultimate bespoke shopping service.
Intrigued by perhaps one of fashion's most interesting and captivating businesses, Domus Life found out more...
What’s the concept behind The Chapar?
The Chapar is a personal shopping service for busy, professional men, who do not have the luxury of time to select a range of items. We assign a personal, experienced stylist to every customer who signs up on our website, and ask the customer a few key questions about their lifestyle, clothing preferences, style, size, etc. From this the stylist puts together a trunk, which usually contains between 8-12 items. The trunk is shipped out to the customer immediately, and the customer only pays for the clothes he decides to keep while the rest are collected for no added cost. The service is free and the clothes are priced at normal retail price. We are redefining the way men shop.
What makes The Chapar different to other styling companies?
Firstly, we stock a wide range of over 50 designer brands including Tommy Hilfiger, Diesel, Brooks Brothers and Woolrich which ensures that we can cater to the tastes of all our customers. Secondly, we are obsessed with customer satisfaction and so we aim to make the whole experience as easy as possible by being quick to respond to any question regarding the trunks via our chat service or on social media. We make it unbelievably easy for customers to connect with us.
Describe The Chapar in three words…
Never. Shop. Again.
The Chapar is a father-and-son business – why did you decide to set up a business together?
I was really keen to do something entrepreneurial and amidst discussions with friends and family about what I should do next, my dad had heard about this interesting business model coming out of The States. We had a few chats and next thing we knew, we had set up a business! We couldn’t resist the idea.
What do you each bring to the brand?
Joe [Sam’s father] has great expertise in the fashion industry. He was very senior at Levi Strauss for a while and also worked as CEO at Canterbury [of New Zealand], and so knows the business inside-out. I like to think I bring a younger perspective and an innovative desire. We make a good team.
What does fashion mean to both of you?
I think we share mutual opinions. Neither of us buy into some of the negative aspects of fashion such as over hype, poor quality fast-fashion or unwearable clothes. Our favourite brands are similar and they are the ones that stand the test of time and make someone genuinely happy while also being functional.
How would you define your style?
I guess I generally like to go for a smart-casual look with a little streetwear twist in there. I’m lucky I don’t have to wear a suit daily and so I will often wear a blazer with some nice jeans and trainers. I dress for the occasion and so if I need to be smart, then I’ll do that easily.
What inspired you to establish a business in fashion?
I just wanted to enjoy what I do, which is definitely the case now. I’m not sure I necessarily see my whole future in fashion, but I really enjoy building businesses so we’ll see where things go.
Which fashion brands do you look up to the most?
The best brands are the ones that can maintain a great reputation, all the while being completely wearable. For me those brands are Levi’s and Ralph Lauren.
What were you doing before The Chapar?
I was a sports executive working at Media Rights management. I basically sold sports like the Premier League to TV channels including Sky Sports. It was great as I got to go to lots of exciting events like Wimbledon.
Where is The Chapar based?
Our office is in London; a city which is definitely a hub for the global fashion industry. The city boasts several major fashion events each year, notably London Fashion Week. On the menswear scene, London Collections: Men is rising in popularity with designers and brands on display. London is a unique hotbed of high-end fashion through to streetwear that infiltrates our daily lives. For us it made sense to be based in this city as that is also where our customer is.
Who makes up The Chapar team?
We have a great team including six stylists, one marketing executive and various other clever people who make sure everything works!
How do you pick the brands you work with?
We stock brands that make sense to our customer. The Chapar customer is someone that appreciates quality but that isn’t looking for overhyped luxury that doesn’t deliver great quality at a reasonable price. We don’t stock cheap brands, but we stock great brands.
Who is the average Chapar man?
There isn’t really such thing as an average Chapar man. The only definition really is a guy for whom shopping just doesn’t work. This can be for any reason from not having time, through to not liking the impersonal, faceless experience of shopping. At The Chapar we do everything for you. Your stylist learns everything from your last holiday destination through to your pet’s name.
What fashion trends can you foresee for the summer?
Ask our stylists and I imagine they’d say it’s really important to match colours for a nice summer look this season. Tailored shorts with a nice polo will look great. There is a big thing around called ‘sports-luxe’ at the moment, which means garments that you could work out in can also look great when worn casually.
How would you define London style?
London style is very individual and eclectic; London is such a melting pot of culture that you see people dressed very differently. It is a great place to see a mix of sharply dressed men as well as men who like to dress very casually.
What makes London one of the world’s leading fashion destinations?
London is certainly a hub for the fashion industry. The city boasts several major fashion events each year, notably London Fashion Week. On the menswear scene London Collections: Men is rising in popularity with designers and brands on display. London is a unique hotbed of high-end fashion through to streetwear that infiltrates our daily lives. For us it made sense to be based in this city as that is also where our customer is.
Where do you live in London?
I live in Battersea just by Battersea Bridge. It’s great as you’re near the park, near the Kings Road and there’s a nice selection of bars and restaurants in the neighbourhood.
Where else in the world could you live, in terms of fashion?
The best dressed men in the world are in Milan. Everyone from all walks of life value the way they dress, whatever their budget. But right now I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else than London.
Is The Chapar available exclusively to the UK or are there plans to go international?
We are based in London, but our service is available to men all over Europe. As of now, we are happy with this arrangement, but maybe in the future if we can conquer logistical issues, we would go further than Europe.
What’s in store for The Chapar in 2014?
For 2014, we aim to expand the business by bringing in new customers, while retaining existing customer loyalty and interest. We also want to keep getting great coverage in the media as that helps us build awareness.
Does The Chapar get involved in London Fashion Week at all?
We always attend London Collections: Men. It’s a great showcase dedicated to solely men’s fashion, with lots of talent and different brands. It ends up being a really good chance for us to see what’s out there.
What inspires you daily?
I really like problem solving; finding a solution that makes something better or more efficient. We see The Chapar as a real solution to a real problem. I get especially motivated when I see strangers on the tube or walking the street with a Chapar trunk.
What are your plans for the summer?
I’ll be working hard. There’s still so much to do here so I’ll be mostly getting my head down with the team here. Having said that I’m also taking a week in Portugal for some R&R and a few long nights…
How do you relax?
I’m lucky to have a lovely girlfriend, who I spend a lot of time with in my free time. Otherwise I try and stay relatively healthy so I like to get out for a game of football, or running or something else to get the blood pumping.
What’s your drink of choice?
My answer depends on whether I’m trying to be suave or not… If so, then a whisky sour.
What book are you currently reading?
I unfortunately don’t really have time to read books but I do keep up with current affairs with The Week or The Economist.
What three tips can you give our readers to have a fashionable summer?
Wear lots of cotton and clothes made from natural fibres to keep you cool and comfortable. Second, a good pair of shorts that are the correct length always works. Remember to keep it just above the knee and pair them with summer sandals or canvas shoes. Finally, men generally play it safe during the winter and so in terms of colour, go bold by incorporating bright colours and a few prints too.