It’s difficult to believe Suuchi Inc. opened its doors just three years ago. The apparel designer, manufacturer and technology services company still calls itself a start-up, but it has come a long way — from just a handful of customers to more than 200 today, and from a few of its own in-house cutters and sewers to a network of 150 mostly U.S.-based factories. Today, Suuchi manufactures approximately 10 percent of the garments it produces in house.
The company is the brainchild of eponymous founder and CEO Suuchi Ramesh, who’s not only on a mission to transform the way apparel is produced, but to do it in the United States, with innovative tech, with a majority women-owned business, with a workforce largely composed of immigrants. So far, so good.
Ramesh is an immigrant herself, coming to this country 12 years ago from India, with a background in computer technology and marketing. After working in analytics at Intel, and then with two successful tech start-ups, she was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, and decided to use her tech knowledge to launch an apparel business designed to match the transforming industry in all its complexity, embracing automation, close-to-market production, real-time information flows and production runs of all sizes.
In April, the company closed a round of Series A funding, to the tune of $8 million. It comes on the heels of recent company innovation dubbed the Suuchi Grid, a completely digital cloud-based shop-floor, and product lifecycle management (PLM) technology. The Grid is a one-stop hub for communication, holding one version of product data and eliminating all of the troubles that come when data is dispersed in multiple locations, including lost emails, missed calls and other communication delays, and redundant and incorrect data. That, in turn, opens the opportunity to get product to market faster. Users — employees and clients — can tap into the platform at any time, from anywhere, to receive real-time updates on the status of their orders.
Suuchi manufactures for three “tiers” of customers: startups, established brands and enterprise brands, offering the services each most needs. A start-up, for example, may be most in need of a turnkey operation, while an established brand might want to engage Suuchi to produce a new line to add to its growing business. Accordingly, its customers range from large brands such as Cintas to mid-sized brands such as Little Giraffe.
Suuchi employs a mix of automation and manual processes, automating tasks where possible. Because it’s difficult to find U.S. employees who are already well-versed in the art of apparel manufacture, the company established the Suuchi Learning Center to equip people with the skills they need for sewing, designing, and handling other supply chain tasks.
One of the company’s next big initiatives is to make its internal Suuchi Grid available to other apparel companies as an independent supply chain solution, says Ramesh, adding: “I’m proud of how much we’ve accomplished in the past three years and am looking forward to the next three, and beyond.”
Jordan K. Speer is editor in chief of Apparel. She can be reached at [email protected].
Editor's Note: To read about Apparel's other 25 Innovator Award winners, click here.