A Hale entrepreneur is hoping to reduce the “rigmarole” of buying work shirts after quitting a well-paid job as a Qatar-based lawyer.
Christian McAleenan, 29, has launched a shirt subscription business called Christian Benedict that was borne out of his dislike of shopping for the same three or four shirts every six months.
He said: “Professionals buy the same white, blue or pink shirts every six to 12 months and lose their lunch breaks or Saturday afternoons in the process. It’s far simpler if your shirts can be just sent to your desk or door periodically and without you having to think about it.”
The idea stemmed from a discussion with his brother – the Benedict in the company name – 18 months ago.
Despite a comfortable position in Doha with top law firm Eversheds, Christian nevertheless harboured a deep-rooted urge to go it alone.
“I could have stayed where I was but in 30 years I would have thought ‘have I wasted that time’?” he said.
“It was a nice experience in the Middle East but I’d had enough of it after 15 months, and I thought that if I was going to make a break with the continent I’m living on, why not have a go at business as well because I’d always daydreamed about it.”
Christian has spent the time since that chat with his brother setting up the company. Initially contacting 15 shirt suppliers worldwide, he shortlisted five and eventually went with a China-based company simply on the basis of the superior product they delivered.
The idea is simple. Log on, choose your frequency (30, 60 or 90 days), select your colour (pink, white or blue) and provide your dimensions. Your 140gsm shirt is then posted to you as ordered for £25 per shirt.
An email reminder before subsequent deliveries will give you the chance to hone or postpone your order – there’s no commitment, Christian assures.
Originally from North Yorkshire, Christian now lives in Hale having originally moved to the area when studying at the College of Law in Manchester.
The privately-financed company started trading just over six weeks ago and there are already 40 customers on board, with more signing up every day.
His target market is young professionals – a demographic he knows only too well – and there are plans to expand into more designs and, ultimately, women’s shirts.
He’s dreaming big, with the likes of TM Lewin and Charles Tyrwhitt in his sights. “If these guys were willing to cannibalise their own business model, then the subscription model would definitely be a better proposition for how they would run their business,” he said.
Whatever else, there are certainly no regrets on the big risk he has taken. “Life is very enjoyable when you’re self-employed, so long as you can pay the bills,” he added. “It’s a joy to have your own baby you can grow and nurture.”