About this project
We've changed our name from From Holden to Pistol Lake!
The support from our friends poured out and we surged past our initial goal in a couple hours. What does that mean? Well, aside from being an unequivocal statement that people believe in what we're doing, which makes us very, very happy, it means we can keep going! The more we raise on Kickstarter, the more fabric, zippers, labels, and other inputs we can order -- and, of course, the more we order, the cheaper our costs are. The end result is that we are able to launch our fully-inventoried store at much lower prices -- which is one of our biggest goals. It also means that we can start working immediately on new designs -- button-ups, sweaters, coats, you name it! In fact, if you pledge, let us know what you want and we'll see what we can do about making it a reach goal for the campaign! We can't thank all of your enough for your support and help!
We've had dozens of people ask us - 'what's next?', 'Do we have any reach goals?' .... well, we spent all night thinking about it and here is what we came up with:
24 hours since we launched the project, we’ve reached $16K in pledges. For context, the highest grossing fashion Kickstarter ever was our friends at Ministry of Supply, they did $4K on their first day (and went on to raise hundreds of thousands to make incredible next generation dress shirts).
We don't think there is a chance we'll have that kind of success, but it does look like we'll be able to bring some really rad new designs to you quicker than we ever thought was imaginable! We've been blown away by the support and we can't wait to get to work on the perfect beanie and button up!! We wrote a blog here with more details.
Why you should care:
We're sick of paying absurd retail prices for quality apparel—$80 for a polo, $50 for a t-shirt. It’s absurd. Men want an easier way to look their best, without breaking the bank, and it simply doesn't exist. We're creating minimal, casual apparel with revolutionary prices, the perfect fit, and American craftsmanship.
Reinventing men's apparel:
To build a revolutionary product, we knew we had to build a next-generation apparel manufacturer from the ground up, tailored entirely to the way men want to shop. After building technology companies for a decade, we approached the manufacturing process like an entrepreneur; optimizing first and foremost for quality, and then driving efficiency in every stage of the supply chain.
Pistol Lake shirts are designed from scratch and our supply chain takes in raw, California grown cotton and delivers shirting with unparalleled quality, fit, and style to our customers’ doorsteps.
- Lean, digital manufacturing processes reduces costs by 90%
Imagine if you could walk directly into the factory and grab a shirt off the sewing line—that is essentially what you're doing when you buy our shirts. We went back to the drawing board to reinvent how clothes were manufactured and distributed, and have built the production and supply chain capabilities necessary to offer prices that traditional stores just can't meet. Everything from apparel design and fabric sourcing, to technology development, is done internally by our five person team.
- American craftsmanship produces unparalleled quality
All of our clothes are sewn near Los Angeles, a few miles from where we live. It has to be this way to deliver our products at the level of quality we do. Further, it makes us feel good to be providing jobs in our neighborhoods—and by manufacturing locally, we don't consume natural resources to ship materials halfway around the world to only to have the final product shipped back.
- Insanely convenient
Being online-only isn't just about cost though, it's also about convenience. We keep sizing consistent across all our styles and store your preferences so focus is on building the best possible online shopping experience, so you never have to think about buying clothes again.
- Minimalist aesthetic makes everything simple
We believe less is more, so our aesthetic is decidedly minimalist. Our designs are for men with the confidence to allow their character to speak for itself, rather than relying on a logo or brand to make a statement. We believe that good style is timeless, and we've focused our attention on the nuances and intricate details that make our shirts deceptively simple. They are crafted from the highest quality materials to have a superior fit and stronger construction than anything else you'll find on the racks. For more about the values behind our company, read our manifesto.
- Pioneering membership commerce
All of our Kickstarter supporters will forever be known within our community as the Founding Members. As we launch forums, profiles, and other social features, you'll carry the badge and title. We want you to be as involved in our manufacturing process as you'd like. You'll get early looks at new products, votes on colors and new styles, the ability to beta test new designs, and contribute ideas for new products.
We have perfected four classics that dominate every man's closet: the hoodie, polo, tee shirt, and v-neck.
We take local, California-grown cotton, and handcraft it into the finest shirts in the world with unparalleled quality, fit, and style.
William: Six months ago, I moved to Los Angeles to make my dream a reality. Prior to Pistol Lake, I built a venture-backed technology company in Boston that reached 275 million people monthly. Before that, I founded and sold a mobile app company that I took through one of the top accelerators in the world—TechStars.
I recruited my brother, two of my best friends, and an extremely experienced production manager to round out our team. James is an operations engineer at the top mobile ad exchange, and previously a developer at a file storage company that was acquired by Facebook. Shane was a senior art director at a top internet commerce company and previously founded TechStars-backed LangoLab. Josh spent the last decade managing a vintage boutique. Trisha has run technical design and production at some of the world's premier apparel brands for over twenty years. Matt co-founded and ran operations at Cloven Footwear and the VAEL Project, and is one of the most prolific contributors to Quora & Forbes on e-commerce.
Immediately after this Kickstarter, we'll place the fabric orders, sew up and knit all the shirts, dye and finish, and ship the very first run of Pistol Lake shirts to our supporters!
Risks and challenges
In the last six months, we’ve assembled an incredible team to make Pistol Lake a reality. Our production managers, pattern makers, and sewers have all worked with the largest brands in apparel for at least ten years, and most as many as fifty.
We’ve made the patterns, and sewn the first samples -- the fit and style is perfect, so we're absolutely ready to begin full-scale sewing in Southern California.... the only thing we're missing is the fabric. Which is where our supports on Kickstarter comes in. These pledges from Kickstarter will allow us to order fabric and begin full-scale sewing!
Order fabric: December 2012
Cutting and sewing complete: March 2013
Dye, finish and ship: April 2013
Manufacturing at scale is never easy; we've worked very hard over the past six months to make sure we can deliver the very highest quality shirts per the schedule we've outlined. Our production manager has 15 years of experience at all stages of the manufacturing process, from design to delivery, for a large variety of companies, and has long standing relationships with all of our partners.
We have sourced fabric from a mill in Los Angeles and sewn samples from sample yardage. To mitigate these risks, we are working with one of the largest mills in the area, with whom we have a long-standing relationship. We have also established relationships with three other local mills in case we have any problems. If fabric is delivered late or in an unacceptable state there is a chance that we'd have to push our sewing schedule back. There is a risk that cotton prices increase, the supplier delivers unsuitable fabric, or has difficulty producing the fabric we order. We've priced in sufficient margins to accommodate a historically-reasonable increase in cotton prices. In the extreme case that costs for materials and/or labor are more than the pledges, I will provide funding to complete the project.
We'll be coordinating the production of four separate styles and will be working with one primary cut/sew contractor in Los Angeles. We have spent working with them to lay out schedules, needs, and estimated deliveries with the contractor, and have provisionally booked capacity. If, for any reason, the contractor is unable to provide the necessary capacity, or there are any problems during the production phase, we have long standing relationships with more than a dozen other cut/sew contractors in the Los Angeles area. All contractors have decades of experience working with extremely large brands, and because they are very close to where we live, we intend to be very active in the manufacturing process.
After production, we'll have several weeks to organize and mail orders. We intend to do all packaging and mailing ourselves. We will be using two technology platforms to facilitate the mailing and tracking of the orders.
Product & fit
We've spent six months working on fit and sizing. Over this time, we've talked to a couple hundred guys and almost every one has said 'most clothes don't fit me, I have a unique/oddly shape body'. That is true, we all need different frames, but being online-only means we're not as limited in stocking 3 sizes.
To us the biggest problems with fit are intra-brand consistency and intra-style consistency. Many manufacturers have poor quality control and a single shirt in the same size will come off with vastly different measurements. We plan to fix this with exceptional quality control and a consistent size dimensions. An athletic medium will always be an athletic medium, whether it is for a hoodie or a v-neck.
To create our initial sizes we've used a database of 10K real measurements of real men ordering clothes online. We've created a system of micro-sizes that we feel accommodate a much larger range of real men's bodies better than traditional retailers. We're still actively refining this size matrix.
We want you to find the size that works best for you (they all have an inch or two leeway) and once you know it, you can order without worry. All pre-orders will have unlimited exchanges and free returns, with postage paid both ways. We're pioneering a bunch of ways to make the experience as easy as possible and will be collecting sizing and measurement information from all pledgers so we can ensure our sizing accommodates everyone well. If we find that there are pledgers not represented in our size matrix, it may take us a bit longer than expected to be completely satisfied with all sizing.
There is a chance that we have much more demand than we expected. This is good, because it'll help drive down costs of both materials and labor, and allow us to offer the stock in our store at lower cost, but many Kickstarter campaigns in the past have struggled to keep up with responses. We have a commitment to reply to our supporters within 24 hours. Accordingly, the entire team has committed to investing all the time necessary to make this happen. All of our partners are optimized to work with large orders and brands and do so on a weekly basis.
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