The Black Tux website makes tuxedo rental a streamlined, sensibly priced and stylish experience
The Black Tux co-founders Andrew Blackmon (left) and Patrick Coyne. Nathaniel Wood
Their idea: For $150 or so, a man can rent a tuxedo, with all the attendant accessories, that looks and feels just as good as one he might want to own. And, like so much else in his busy life, it can be delivered right to his doorstep with a few clicks of a mouse. The key is a proprietary fit algorithm that Messrs. Blackmon and Coyne believe is almost as good as an in-store tailor. Renters are prompted to enter a series of body-shape details and measurements, from stomach size—flat, average, rounded—to neck circumference. To close up the almost gap, they ship the tuxedo a week ahead of the event so that if something doesn’t fit, a new size can be sent. For late-breaking problems, renters can take the suit to a local tailor and the Black Tux will reimburse the alteration fee up to $10.
The tuxedos range from $95-$120—not including shirt, bow tie and shoes—and come in midnight blue or black. (The site also rents formal suits in charcoal and light gray.) Cotton shirts are $15; accessories like vests and cuff links are $15 and under. To minimize the ick factor of rented shoes ($15-$30), the Black Tux employs cobblers to clean and maintain every pair. Once the shoes have reached the end of their life, we won’t rent them, Mr. Coyne said.
Within a few weeks of its beta launch last June, the Black Tux beat its projected figure for first-year sales. The site became official last October, and in mid-December, the duo closed a round of institutional funding, raising $2.6 million.