For Warren Bennett, teaching in a school in Nepal during his gap year changed his life in a most unexpected way.
As a man who enjoys looking good, Warren discovered that there is a ‘brilliant tailoring tradition’ in Nepal, coupled with a strong work ethic. So he put the two together and co-founded A Suit That Fits, a company that matches affordable bespoke tailoring with the ease of buying online.
Orders are made up in the company’s own atelier in Nepal, which employs the most experienced tailors and stitchers. Paying 50 per cent above local rates of pay means they support the survival of traditional skills, and ensures consistent high quality alongside corporate social responsibility.
The Microsoft Office 2007 suite, including familiar applications such as Excel and Word, together with Windows Vista, help keep this multinational company in business. Warren bought the software for the sales and administration office in the UK and for the five administration staff in Nepal because it is a recognised standard around the world. Everyone in the company can use it without extra training. They can also share files without worrying about compatibility.
“Making pure wool hand-tailored suits for as little as £150 generates a huge amount of consumer interest. With orders for over 30 suits every day, we wouldn't be able to make each individually fitted item without the information transparency that the Microsoft Office suite gives us,” he says.
For Warren, the most obvious improvement over the last version is the new Office interface. “For the less technically-minded, it makes for an easier experience. The new Ribbon interface gives users access to more of the features with less work. It also makes it easier to see how a change, such as a new format, will look before applying it.”
He also loves Windows Vista’s Instant Search capability, reckoning that it saves him time because he doesn’t have to browse around in his folders to find a document. It lets him tap into a lot of information that previously took a long time to find because it was buried inside countless documents. “I use it to dig out phone numbers or to look up product codes,” he says.
The extra security in Windows Vista is another plus point. “I like the way that it pops up and stops you installing programs,” he says. This feature (known as User Account Control) and Windows Firewall can help protect against inadvertent spyware installation.
The company donates five per cent of its Nepali operating costs to the school where Warren worked, and is currently funding a new science block which will be built and equipped by the end of the year. UK community involvement is also important to them, and they support BLISS, the premature baby charity.
Just five days before the X Factor final, the company got a call to make a suit for Rhydian Roberts. Undaunted by the challenge, they delivered a bespoke suit for him 48 hours later! A Suit That Fits staff may be separated by over 7,000km, but Microsoft Office is the common thread that binds them together, and keeps the organisation successful.