In 2017, to get her business off the ground, Mowarin started saving up her bonuses and put herself on a strict budget while she still had her six-figure banking income.
"I wanted to prepare myself for what I knew would be a financial grind as I developed the business," she recalls. "I did things like avoiding taxis and taking the subway instead. I also stopped ordering food from restaurants and started cooking at home."
She also used her co-workers as a focus group. She remembers asking them questions about what they wanted in a suit, but couldn't find.
"A lot of them had the same thing come up every time: 'I want a suit that fits but there's nowhere that will make it for me efficiently,'" Mowarin says. "Because the field I was working in, we were working like 100 hours a week, there's no way that you have the time to go to a tailor for three, four, five sittings to get it perfect."
Mowarin, who holds a degree in finance from the University of Texas but studied fashion in Milan for seven months, started working on designs and brought on a tailor that March.
In September, with $10,000 saved, she quit her job at Credit Suisse and took a job at a tech start-up so she could still make some money but also devote more time to her own budding company while learning more about the luxury space.
Mowarin officially launched Koviem out of her New York City apartment in January 2018.
Koviem's custom sizing is accomplished by simply entering your height and gender and uploading just two photos of yourself (front and profile) wearing form-fitting clothes (to enhance accuracy). Then Koviem deploys AI technology that uses spatial referencing to determine your measurements "with high precision," according to Koviem's website. For the technology, Koviem is in a collaborative contract with 3-D body scanning company 3DLOOK (which recently raised a $1 million seed round); it, in turn, is using Koviem's feedback from data aggregation to perfect its technology, says Mowarin.
The collection includes a slew of suits in varying styles and colors, and Koviem also offers a bespoke offering, starting at $650, which follows a more traditional method that includes a consultation and in-person fitting.
For the Milano Suit — a $550 suit featuring high-waisted, modern slim fit pants and a strong-shoulder jacket — Mowarin drew inspiration from the silhouettes she saw Italian women wearing in Milan. Meanwhile, the Millennial Suit — also $550 and defined by its shawl lapel, structured shoulders and classic cigarette pant — is the most popular option, she says, with 58.4 percent of consumer interest centering around that product.
"The Millennial Suit, that one really is an ode to our generation and how we're breaking boundaries," she says.
The suits are made by a tailor with whom Mowarin partners and his apprentices. Since every suit is uniquely made, she explains, all patterns are cut by hand and the suits are assembled using a combination of a sewing machine and hand-sewing. Typically, it takes three to four weeks from order confirmation to shipment.