So EG has been around for about a year and a half, which I just realized when I started writing this article. I released a one year anniversary post last November, highlighting some of the cool stuff we’ve discussed so far.
Anyway, around the same time I started EG, Kate (the girlfriend) had this itch to explore what it would take to create a small menswear line. This was no random idea; K is formally trained in fashion design and product development, and menswear has been her passion for quite some time.
Once I realized she was serious, I told her to go for it and we’d figure it all out along the way.
A year and some months later
I wish I had the skills to fully describe how crazy it is to start a clothing brand and company. K went into this with an idea of how tough it can be, but I followed her blindly with no set expectations.
It just amazes me how difficult the whole process is. I guess in my world (of web design and development) I’m self-contained, and if I need something done, it just gets done.
In the fashion world, you feel like a sheepherder. You’re trying to get all those little guys in one cohesive group, working together to achieve your vision… except you’re doing so without a sheepdog and you have no sheepherding experience whatsoever. You don’t even have one of those cool sticks sheepherders walk around with.
There have been a couple hiccups along the way, and this process has taken much longer than we wanted it to. We pushed back a launch for two seasons because things weren’t quite right and we didn’t have the resources we needed to kick things into production.
We were still figuring out how everything works. It’s tough when your workflow is so fragmented; each piece of the puzzle is handled by a different person and it’s difficult getting everyone in sync.
It’s somewhat disastrous but we’ve gotten the hang of it, learned a bunch of stuff, spent a lot of money, and feel so much more prepared for the next round. In fact, sometimes we find ourselves already planning for the next one and we forget we haven’t even released our initial run yet.
The reason(s) for starting FifthAndBrannan.com
In the beginning, I encouraged K to blog about her experience, and to my surprise, she was more than willing. She always had the same curiosities I did, like what happens behind the scenes in the world of menswear and garment manufacturing in general. She figured others must be curious as well, and so, fifthandbrannan.com was born.
Granted, she knew a lot of this because of her schooling, but the things school teaches aren’t necessarily how it works in real life. I’d say we got a majority of our education when experiencing the process firsthand, meeting with actual people, and spending real money.
If you ever want to learn something new, spend some money learning it. That process of forking over real cash suddenly makes things so much more real, and your brain remembers much more than it would if there were nothing at stake.
If you REALLY want to learn a lesson, spend money confidently, and then lose it. Whatever caused you to lose it is a lesson you’re sure to never forget.
What sets 5&B apart from the rest
I think one of the coolest things about our company is that we’re as transparent as we can possibly be. Our readers know exactly what we’re going through, what we’re dealing with, and all of our mini successes as well as our mistakes. I don’t know of any label out there that is willing to tell you what they go through with such transparency.
The reason we do so is because we believe 1.) it’s fascinating to know what goes on behind the scenes, and 2.) our customers can appreciate our product so much more, knowing what went into creating the shirt they are wearing.
Our fabric comes from the very best mills in Japan, and everything is locally sourced and produced right here in the US. Our manufacturer is walking distance from where this company was founded, right at the intersection of 5th and Brannan Streets in San Francisco. Each piece is handsewn one at a time.
We’re a very nimble two-person company. We literally have our hands on everything. So when you buy a shirt from us, you best believe we touched that fabric, designed those labels, and packaged that box you receive in the mail.
We do as much as we can so it’s as personal as humanly possible. We’re always open to ways we can make your experience with us better. Once you order, if you’d like to shoot us some ideas, all you have to do is email us and you’ll get either me or Kate.
That, in a nutshell, is how Fifth&Brannan came into existence. It’s been a fun ride and it’s far from over, but I thought I’d give you that glimpse into our company. I never really talked about HOW 5&B came to be, just that I am a part of it and it’s something you should be paying attention to.
Can you help? We have rewards.
We have less than 48 hours left for our Kickstarter campaign. We started this funding almost 60 days ago, and we can’t believe how quickly it’s passed. We never could’ve made it this far without all of you supporting us, and to be honest, the love has completely blown us away.
If you haven’t done so, there’s still a chance for you to pledge your support. It may look like we’ve raised a lot, but trust me, that amount is barely covering our expenses. We need all the help we can get!
In exchange for your support, Katie will be slaving for weeks in order to produce for you a pocket square, a set of three pocket squares, handmade ties, and more! We just need your support.
You can view the list of rewards on the right side of our Kickstarter page. Know that when you pledge, you’ll not only get some great handmade goods, but you’ll also be supporting a fledgling American business. Can’t go wrong there, right?
Want to attend our launch event?
We’ll have a bunch of Sledgehammer as well as a few other select brands, some cheeses and snacks, an awesome photo setup by our friends at Smilebooth, and… what else. Oh yeah! We’ll have our shirting as well as a selection of pocket squares and ties available for purchase, right on the spot.
There’s also going to be special VIP tastings and a raffle, where we give away some pieces from our line.
It’s gonna be a great night! You have to join us. There’s more info here (and make sure you click on RSVP to this event, which will take you to our Facebook event page): http://www.fifthandbrannan.com/launch/
That’s all for now. Happy Cinco De Mayo!
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