If you’re a male who frequently uses social media platforms, there’s a good chance that you’ve spotted a particular ad attempting to sell you white cotton dress shirts for ridiculously attractive prices, with the only caveat being a longer-than-usual waiting time as well as a very limited number of pieces available.
The ad in question is of course from Singaporean-Malaysian company Oxwhite. Just a while back, my colleague Justin provided a breakdown of how and why the ad campaign managed to successfully net 3,000 orders in just over six hours, with a very smart exclusivity element used to complement the low prices and create a compelling promotional campaign.
Dreamed Up In Europe, Made In Asia
The founder of Oxwhite CK Chang explained that this knack for aggressive disruption arose during his days as a university student, when he owned and ran Haven Books, an academic bookstore offering consigned textbooks to university students for much lower prices than usual.
“From that time till now, I’ve always had a passion for disrupting the status quo in businesses and making things more consumer-friendly so people feel their needs are met and not exploited,” he said.
As for cotton shirts, CK explained that his interested was piqued during a business trip to the United Kingdom, where he paid a visit to the famous Saville Row.
“As an Asian man, I never quite felt that dress shirts in the market were made for me,” he explained. “The cutting was always off, and the good shirts cost exorbitant prices.”
“Then for once I decided to treat myself and bought a tailored shirt from Saville Row,” he continued. “It was an eye-opening experience, making me realise how pivotal is to a man’s confidence and image.”
“It struck a chord with me, and made me think about all the executives in Asia who could not really access this experience.”
From there, CK travelled for two years in an attempt to source factories and materials that could help him achieve his dream of bringing the famed Saville Row experience to Asian clientele.
This all finally culminated in the founding of Oxwhite in 2018, with CK managing to convince Vince Tan of Shock Media Studio, Tai Zi Kang and Ho Kam Wai of Fitgear, and a seasoned garment partner he refers to as Mr. Toh, to come aboard as co-founders.
Worth The Wait?
After all the R&D, CK explains that Oxwhite have now settled on a product that is specially catered towards the Asian man, with the fit based on over 70,000 samples of Asian physiques collected by Oxwhite. All this information is taken and put into a premium Supima cotton shirt with anti-wrinkle characteristics.
“Our shirts are non-iron grade 3.5, and we achieve this through using post-cured treatment—a careful process that involved meticulous temperature control and pressing,” CK said. “This means that your shirt will continue to look presentable even without ironing, saving you a lot of work and time.”
Oxwhite offer their shirts with prices beginning at just RM69—and if you’ve ever been shirt shopping, you’d know that in itself is a rarity.
In order to achieve this, CK says that his team of 10 at Oxwhite operate on a pre-order model that allows for cost-saving on the sides of both seller and consumer.
“This allows us to run with zero-inventory and pass all our savings onto the customer—it eliminates many costs and also wastage,” he explained. “This also means that we only make what we sell, which ensures that we can devote our utmost attention to ensuring each product is tip-top.”
But one of the downsides of all this is the wait time. In order to receive a shirt from Oxwhite, customers will need to wait for at least 120 days or approximately four months. CK, however, doesn’t think that this will be a deal-breaker for most customers.
“I don’t worry that customers will be put off by the waiting time, because what we offer is worth it,” he said. “Currently, there is no one else offering what we offer—premium quality and workmanship catered to the Asian physique, all at a low price that everyone else can afford.”
True enough, the strategy opted for by Oxwhite has yielded results. According to them, close to 10,000 white shirts from the Tailored Asian Slim Fit line already sold since June. These orders will be delivered between September and November.
Pre-Order Is Here To Stay
But despite such a strong early reception, CK still thinks that there’s work to be done for his team, especially where his business model is concerned.
“My biggest challenge is to prove that the pre-order model works for men’s fashion,” he said. “It’s never been done before and there isn’t a past-record I can refer to.”
But despite it all, CK is positive on his chances.
“Oxwhite aspires to become the market leader in the pre-order business model,” he said. “We would love to improve our customers’ lives bit by bit, and we eventually want to offer all kinds of premium essentials at a fraction of what big brand names charge.”
“One of our biggest achievements is the e-mails and Facebook messages we receive everyday from our customers telling us that we’re on the right track.”
As for the immediate future, the team at Oxwhite will be focused on providing the best possible experience for current customers as well as future ones.
“We’re working very hard to fulfil our current orders, and we hope that the Classic White Shirt will not just meet but exceed our customer’s expectations,” CK said. “Also we’re working on more series featuring different collar types, colours, and other fits such as the Tailored Asian Relaxed Fit and Plus Size options.”
Feature Image Credit: Oxwhite