The CEO on Tiktok – LGFG mastermind Dimitry Toukhcher on company core values, IT and the importance of TikTok for recruiting

by Yara El-Sabagh

 OUT NOW im #ConfareBlog: The CEO on Tiktok – LGFG mastermind Dimitry Toukhcher on company core values, IT and the importance of TikTok for recruiting

The list of his customers ranges from rock stars to successful athletes and top managers. Dimitry Toukhcher is CEO of LGFG Fashion House and sells tailored suits and exclusive menswear. Finding the right staff, especially in marketing and direct sales, has proven to be the only obstacle to growth for the up-and-coming company in the past. It was clear that you had to use other ways than conventional job advertisements.

If you follow Dimitry and LGFG on LinkedIn, Instagram or TikTok, you will quickly notice that everyday work is reported authentically with a lot of humor and without mincing words … and the CEO obviously enjoys it. We wanted to know what role IT plays for his company and what tips he has for recruiting via social media.

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To what extent is your business affected by digital change? How is this changing your company?

Every business today, even a bespoke suit business, is an IT company. We’ve bought a stake in our manufacturer which been digitising patterns for 30 years already. That’s a huge competitive advantage for scaling in our industry. That also means we’ve got a just in time inventory system and all the cloth ordering is executed by API’s so we can reduce overhead. Furthermore, we’ve digitised all our clients wardrobes for quick reference: each jacket now has a QR code that clients can scan to see their entire wardrobe with us. We also have an in-house IT team for data management, our own custom CRM that tracks production and helps us operate efficiently. As CEO, about 40% of my time is spent on the technology side of the business. It’s a competitive advantage and a requirement.

How important is IT for your company?

As above, it’s the competitive advantage we have and must continue to innovate to offer our clients more value. We can’t underestimate the value of human capital, but today a business has to run as a marriage between people and technology and we embrace that. My own education is in management information systems so I’m quite adept in IT and especially databases, and I believe that’s given me a huge advantage in being able to connect dots that were previously unconnected in our industry.

In which ways is your company affected by the consequences of the Corona situation and the trend towards more casual fashion?

I said from the start that the worst thing is the best thing. The story of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is a great example: you get kicked out of your comfortable place, BUT you realise an opportunity for infinite possibilities. We sell less suits than before but more jackets. Less dress shirts but more causal shirts. Less wool pants but more chinos. Less blazers but more bombers.  As a custom clothing company, we can adapt quickly and that’s an advantage. There were 2 years of sitting on our hands waiting to be able to move; now we’re moving. Fortunately, we’ve kept nearly all our clients and I want to send a special thank you to the clients who supported us during those 2 years of lockdowns. We’re lucky to be here serving our clients and we don’t take that for granted.

The target audience for tailored suits is probably not extremely active on TikTok and Instagram. Nevertheless, you are very active here. Why is that?

90% of our workforce are students who work with us in online marketing. Tiktok opened doors we never knew existed. I was driving to work listening to the radio when the news said that tiktok is now the world’s largest search engine. I thought OK we need to get in on that, so we put together a production team to document what we do every day to share our story with potential hires. First week we went live we had over 1000 applicants. So we knew we were onto something. It’s also a lot of fun shooting dumb videos a couple times a week where we’re all just laughing.

How well does this social recruiting work in practice?

All I can say it that it might be the only channel that really works right now in a crowded marketplace where everyone is competing for talent. At least for us, we get our best people now from there. It’s shocking.

What should be considered when using social media for recruiting?

I’m not sure I have the answers, but maybe part of it is just putting out who we are and not trying to virtue signal who we’re not. We have a lot of fun and we’re not a bureaucratic company. We attract people who match our values and repel those who don’t.

How are these activities received by your customers?

Because we put out not only product content but also just jokes around the office, sometimes our c-level corporate customers can’t publicly comment on our jokes. But when we meet in person they also have a story about a video they thought was funny or impactful. Overall it’s been positive and fun.

You often express yourself very pointedly in the social media. Not afraid of a shitstorm?

Bring it on. One of our core values is “unapologetic.” We mean it. We’re comfortable with who we are.  We are not your grandfather’s suit company.  In fact, my great- grandfather was a very prominent tailor; we cater to people with strong spirit because we have strong spirit.  When LGFG started, our distribution was literally knocking on doors in high rises to sell suits. As we’ve grown to be global, we want to maintain that spirit: we are fighters, we are survivors and we are disruptive. That applies to technology, fabric, and our overall ethos. We’re here to win- just like our clients are here to win- and we are proud of it. Winners choose winners, so let’s go!

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