About this project
Introducing Blank, our new brand of size-inclusive, made-in-the-USA, better-fitting, premium t-shirts for women and men.
We have a confession to make, and if you've been following Cotton Bureau for a while, you know what we're about to say: our women’s t-shirts suck.
Alright, maybe that’s a little inaccurate, let’s be more specific: our women’s t-shirt sizing sucks. It always has, and if you’ve ever bought a women’s t-shirt from us and it was way too small, we apologize (chances are, this is not the first time we’ve apologized to you for this). It’s time we did something about it. So all we need to do is switch t-shirt suppliers, right? Wrong.
You see, finding a wholesale t-shirt manufacturer that fits all our criteria has been…challenging (to say the least). We need a brand with modern fits, a wide range of colors and fabrics, ethical manufacturing, reliable quality and consistency, always-available stock, and it’d be reeeeal nice if it was made in America. Finding a brand that checks all those boxes and oh yeah also fits women is damn near impossible. If you can find a women’s brand that comes in our preferred colors and fabrics, it’s only available in mega-tiny junior sizing. If it’s sized to fit most women, the cut is awkward, the fabric isn’t anywhere near our standards, and it comes in whatever color you want…as long as that color is pink. It’s frustrating for us as a company, and every bit as frustrating for you as our customer.
So we’re gonna make our own. Introducing Blank, our new brand of size-inclusive, made-in-the-USA, better-fitting, premium t-shirts for women and men. Let us show you around.
Sorry premium t-shirt brands, but junior's sizing just isn't realistic for most women. That's why we designed Blank with standard women's sizing in mind. If you're normally a medium, you'll be a medium in Blank. (For a full size chart of women's and men's sizes, scroll almost all the way down.)
This is our Blank women's large next to a women's 2X from a typical wholesale t-shirt manufacturer (their largest women's size). We don't mean to pick on everybody else, but if that's as big as your biggest women's shirt gets, something's wrong.
Most premium t-shirt brands ignore sizes beyond 2X, especially for women's tees. Not us. We're producing Blank tees from XS all the way to 5X, for both women and men.
With Blank, we focused heavily on revolutionizing our women's sizing, but fellas, we didn't forget about you. If you like the way Cotton Bureau shirts currently fit, don't worry, we didn't change much. A few little nips and tucks, but the biggest change is that they're available from XS all the way to 5X. Oh yeah, and they're made in the USA, which brings us to...
Most premium t-shirt manufacturers produce their t-shirts somewhere else, like China or Central America. We wanted to keep our manufacturing right here in the United States, so our tees are milled, dyed, cut, and sewn in Los Angeles.
Blank is made from 30 singles, 4–4.5oz, 100% combed ringspun cotton and tri-blend (50% polyester, 25% cotton, 25% rayon) fabrics. If that sounds like a bunch of garment industry gobbledygook to you, just know this: it's super-soft and super-comfy. To start, we're offering our 100% cotton tees in black and white, and our tri-blend tees in heather grey and heather black.
Our women's tees have a thinner collar and a slightly wider neck opening than a typical crewneck (though not quite a scoopneck). The body has a little shape to it, but isn't exaggerated like other women's fits. And it has real sleeves, not tiny cap sleeves. The overall fit is similar to a tee from The Gap or Torrid. Our men's shirt is a standard modern crewneck fit (a little on the slimmer side, but not too skinny), similar to other brands like American Apparel, Next Level, or Bella+Canvas.
At the end of our campaign, you'll have your choice of tees in 100% cotton (black and white) and tri-blend (heather grey and heather black) fabrics. If our campaign goes bananas, maaaaaybe we'll consider some other colors. You'll just have to wait and see ;) In the meantime, here are our reward levels.
Do you run a t-shirt brand or print shop? We put together some sample packs in case you wanna test Blank as a wholesale option.
Our supporters called in the whole fleet and unlocked tri-blend navy tees. Thanks! But you know us, we’re not going to rest on our laurels. We don’t even know where our laurels are. So it is time to push for new stretch goals.
Neutral colors are a solid basis for a wardrobe, but there’s a whole world of color to explore. For every $12,000 we reach beyond our initial goal of $48,000, we’ll be releasing another color.
We believe in democracy, and we believe in you, so you’re going to decide what color goes in to production next. Keep checking our Kickstarter Updates to cast your vote and see how your favorite is doing.
We know it’s not a v-neck (We promise those are on our future products list!) but we’re working hard to bring you the best shirts in the best colors, because we like you, kind of a lot.
Michelle Sharp, Blank project lead. A one-woman-wrecking-crew, Michelle has almost single-handedly carried Blank for the past 12 months. She’s been all over the country working to get us to this point and will continue to lead Blank through this campaign and beyond.
Melanie Yi, our pattern maker. A 25-year veteran of the apparel industry, Melanie’s been patiently holding our hand every step of the way—producing (and tweaking, and tweaking, and tweaking) patterns, consulting on fabrics, fit, and model selection, and racking up frequent flyer miles between NYC and Pittsburgh.
Apparel Branders and Azitex, our cut-and-sew and fabric partner. Thanks to Moe, Moses, Jon, Pepe, Victor, and the rest of the crew in Downtown and South Central LA for not only making the highest quality fabric and apparel, but being patient with us and answering all our questions (we have a lot of questions).
The entire Cotton Bureau crew. This was, is, and will continue to be an all-hands-on-deck effort. Buckle up.
First off, thanks to every Cotton Bureau customer and seller ever. Without you supporting us from Summer 2013 to today, this wouldn't be possible. Thanks to all 300+ of our Blank testers (and the 3,000+ who applied) for giving us amazing feedback. Lastly, thanks to Adam Lisagor, Constanza Castro, Tulica Singh, and the entire team at Sandwich Video for helping us tell this story visually.
Risks and challenges
With Blank, we're essentially building a little (but frankly not that little) wholesale t-shirt business for ourselves from scratch. That's a pretty big undertaking. Luckily, a lot of the hard part is already done; we've been researching this for over a year, we've built close relationships with a pattern maker, a fabric mill, and a cut-and-sew factory, we've made round after round of samples, we've tested those samples en masse, and are ready to roll on manufacturing. We're sure we'll have a few unforeseen hiccups before this is all said and done, but we're much closer to the end than we are to the beginning.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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