We are a small Philadelphia based brand for gentlemen. We design casual gear with a touch of refinement.
Duke & Winston started out as a single idea early 2009 to design a t-shirt with my bulldog, Duke's face on it. I had no fashion background and was working at a horrible 9-5 IT Job (Client Services Specialist, whatever that means).
I printed 50 shirts and almost sold out in one day while vending at a street festival, I knew I was onto something. I quit my job 3 months later (in overly dramatic Office Space type fashion), sold my beloved car for $5000 cash on craigslist and have spent the last 3 years pouring my blood, sweat and tears into building a clothing line on my own (with some help from Duke).
The concept behind the line was to design casual tees for young professional types like myself who wanted a bit of refinement & thoughtfulness in their graphics compared to the horrible Ed Hardy style that was popular at the time. My inspiration was and continues to be drawn from historical imagery which I've used to develop an entire range of over 40 graphic tees.
BUILDING THE LINE
I have gained a small but very loyal following over the last few years as people I meet have been inspired/motivated by amount of work and level of detail I've put into bootstrapping & growing the line organically. The Duke & I complete over 50 trunk shows each summer all up and down the East Coast, I opened one of the city's most talked about clothing shops 5 months ago in the living room of my apartment (where I still live).
One of the things I am most proud of is being able to share the D&W story with high school & college students, designers, entrepreneurs and even corporate type folks looking for motivation to go out on their own. The fact that my tiny business is looked at as an example of how to successfully follow one's passion, is the greatest feeling of all.
PRODUCT LINE SO FAR
In the last year, I've further developed the line to include polos, hats, hoodies, and ties. 80% of my products are MADE ENTIRELY IN THE USA and more than half of those are made right here in Philadelphia (Based on Kickstarter outcome, I have a contract pending to make my tees & hoodies in downtown Los Angeles, making D&W 100% USA MADE)
REASON FOR BEING ON KICKSTARTER
I need to gain a wider audience for Duke & Winston as I believe I've done enough to develop a brand that has a ton of potential with a national audience. As it is, I am lucky to sustain the business based on the repeat supporters of the line but I am not able to grow or bring on much needed assistance.
The funds raised on Kickstarter will allow me to add a few more pieces to the product line and attend two major trade-shows in 2013 in an attempt to attract wholesale buyers for the line. These wholesale accounts will give Duke & Winston a national audience and will bring in steady revenues needed for me to build infrastructure and make this a long term venture.
USAGE OF FUNDS
Below is a breakdown of how I will use the funds I raise.
$5000 - for full collection samples (belts, wallets, button downs, jackets,...) ALL DOMESTICALLY MADE IN PHILADELPHIA, LANCASTER, PENNSYLVANIA & DOWNTOWN LOS ANGLESES
$10,000 - Cost to attend both NYC & Vegas trade shows in July. Cost include booth fees, booth design, travel expenses, design & printing of all marketing materials (photo-shoots, line sheets, look-books, business cards,...)
$5,000 - The develop rewards for all pledges given on Kickstarter.
I've put together some awesome and very unique rewards for your pledges. At the $25 level, funders will receive an exclusive tee I designed just for Kickstarter, the "Kickstart the Duke: tee. The rewards and packages just get better and better from there. Check out images of rewards below and Thank you all so much for taking the time to watch my video and read through the story. I truly appreciate the support:
$150 Reward Level
Other Products Included (Shopping Spree Rewards)
Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
The biggest challenge for a small brand like mine is that it needs to grow but growing too quickly before you have the right infrastructure can be fatal so I've spent the last month working with a local fulfillment shop to help me manage the growth that I am expecting once I attend trade shows and wholesale orders start to come in. I currently house all my inventory in an empty bedroom in my apartment but will have to quickly find a larger space. I also need to hire part time assistance to help me with day to day tasks so I don't get overwhelmed (to handling orders, customer emails/phone calls, returns, website updates, trunk shows, trade show planning) . I've been doing this solo for almost 3 years but I'm not afraid to bring on outside assistance as soon as I feel like I need it. Another HUGE challenge is sticking to my decision to keep D&W made in the USA. It is a very easy ideal to have but finding the right production partners can be difficult (ones that can meet margins required to stay in business - very important point that is often overlooked in the Domestic vs Overseas debate). Luckily for me, I live in a city that was once the manufacturing capital for the country and I've been able to find a lot of local talent, from sewers to pattern makers, graphic designers, screen printers, dye & wash houses, trim manufacturers,... I now just need to provide them with orders to fill.
The amount you are looking for seems low compared to what you are trying to accomplish. You mention hiring a designer in the video but the costs don't seem to be included. Can you give a breakdown of your design & sample costs?
I'm sorry I wasn't clear in the video. I have already laid out the collection myself in rough line plan and have done 80% of the work by identifying all my fabrics, detailing, sizing and so on. The technical designer I want to hire will help me create tech packs for each of the 15 products I have put together so that the sample factories have professional specs to work off and not just my sketches and notes.
The cost for the tech packs are $150 per, for a total of $2250.
I then take the tech packs to the sample houses in LA & Lancaster, PA where samples will be made for around $250 per product (15 x $250) - $3750 The total sampling cost then will be around $6000.
I rounded the cost down to $5000 for sampling as I may end up actually sampling less than the 15 products I have in mind right now.
In actuality the sampling costs can sometimes end up being doubled after revisions and shipping are accounted for but I didn't want to ask for too much on KS and affect my chances of being funded so my plan was to self fund anything over the bare minimum cost of $5000 with savings from my current t-shirt sales.
The same goes for the trade shows. The actual costs after shipping my booth and supplies, hotel stay and other unforeseen costs may be up to $15,000 (I listed $10,000) but I didn't want to ask for too much. The amount I have asked for is the bare minimum to get the full line sampled and out to the trade shows which would help me greatly and I would cover the rest. (The funds raised over my target would go to this also)
Hope this is more clear.
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Pledge $10 or moreYou selected
Thanks for the support. You'll be listed on our 14,000 fan strong Facebook page as a funder and also receive two of our decal stickers.Estimated delivery:Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $25 or moreYou selected
You'll receive one of our "I Kickstarted Duke" tees, designed specifically for the campaign. Sure to become collectors items. Available in both men's & women's sizesEstimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $50 or moreYou selected
"Kickstart Duke" Tee & additional t-shirt of your choice from over 30 available styles. A $64 valueEstimated delivery:Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
29 backers Limited (71 left of 100)
Receive our Young Squire goodie bag including our signature hoodie, graphic tee of choice and hat/scarf, a $120 value.Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $100 or moreYou selected
40 backers Limited (160 left of 200)
Receive all 4 of our spring/summer 2013 Benjamin Franklin Virtues tees (Silence, Resolution, Industry & Sincerity)...Also comes with Kickstart Duke Tee. Retail $160Estimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $150 or moreYou selected
4 backers Limited (96 left of 100)
Receive our Gentleman Duke goodie bag including our peruvian pima cotton polo, made in NYC silk tie & graphic tee of choice, $165 valueEstimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $250 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (49 left of 50)
Ultimate Gentleman package. Polo, Tie, hoodie, hat, graphic tee & kickstart tee. $280 valueEstimated delivery:Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $350 or moreYou selected
We will shut the store down and give you a $425 shopping spree. Choose from every single product we carry in stock (can be used online also). We will also provide you with a hand signed & numbered Kickstarter tee.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $500 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (19 left of 20)
We will shut the store down and give you a $600 shopping spree. Choose from every single product we carry (can be used online also). We will also provide you with a hand signed & numbered Kickstarter tee.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $1,000 or moreYou selected
2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)
We will design an official Sir/Madam "insert your name" tee which will be incorporated into the Duke & Winston 2013 spring/summer line. We design a vintage looking silhouette of your face (your pet, your significant other or any subject of your choosing), wearing a tophat & bowtie and fit it right into the line. We will feature you (unless you specify otherwise). & your tee on our website and sell throughout the 2013 season. You will also receive 30 prints of your tees to give away or sell to friends/family & such.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $1,500 or moreYou selected
2 backers Limited (18 left of 20)
On top of a $600 shopping spree, we will design an official Sir/Madam "insert your name" tee which will be incorporated into the Duke & Winston 2013 spring/summer line. We design a vintage looking silhouette of your face (your pet, your significant other or any subject of your choosing), wearing a tophat & bowtie and fit it right into the line. We will feature you (unless you specify otherwise). & your tee on our website and sell throughout the 2013 season. You will also receive 25 prints of your tees to give away or sell to friends/family & such.Estimated delivery:Ships within the US only
Pledge $2,500 or moreYou selected
1 backer Limited (4 left of 5)
Will fly you into town, put you up in a hotel for a night and take you on an inspirational/historical tour of the city, from dinner at proper English Restaurant (The Dandelion) to Horse & Buggy tour of Olde City (founded in 1681), the most historic neighborhood in the country and home of Independents Hall, The Liberty Bell, Reading of the Constitution and Benjamin Franklin. You will go on the ultimate shopping spree experience in our store ($600 worth), You will also receive a free t-shirt every time we put out a new design over the next year.Estimated delivery:
- (30 days)