TLDR: These are cool products that we love and will never make again for very good reasons. Enjoy a serious discount on the Grande Finale collection!
Over the COVID crisis it has become clear to us that we need to change our business model in a few key ways. First of all, we’ve taken enormous strides towards in house manufacturing. We’re doing independent design AND production. Peep our awesome team!
Our trio of stitch wizards who sew the majority of our items in-house!
Another thing: we need to streamline and simplify our offerings. That path is a little less obvious, but no less clear and important.
While in person it’s easy to tell the difference between corduroy and brushed twill, it can be tough for our online customers to really see why short jacket A is different from short jacket B. Those of you online fans who are shaking your head or furrowing your brow, you’ve probably got an above average interest in fabric and we should really hang out sometime!
For years we’ve been making enough inventory to take to shows, and not completely wipe out our online sales. While we will still be going to shows as we’re able to, the way forward for our company’s growth is online.
The crazy thing is some of our products perform really differently in person versus online. It’s kind of a mystery as to why. Our best theory is that some coats are so comfy or “it” in person that you just don’t want to take them off.
The men’s Chuunin is a perfect example of that. We’ve never taken it to a show and we made it in a time when shows were slamming. It doesn’t look like such a big deal online—it’s kind of a simple, sleek black jacket. It’s got a little less to say than some of our louder designs. What makes it so special is the cut and materials. It has a totally unique shape that makes the wearer look downright princely. It’s kind of hard to show that ethos online. How do you show smooth and effortless without shooting a big budget whiskey commercial with a supermodel-turned-actor who has startlingly great hair? (Wait, maybe we should do that? New Kickstarter campaign for one epic ass commercial?!)
The Son of Sparda has an easy-to-translate, ass-kicking sort of energy. So we tried to show people who looked like they were just wrapping up an epic whooping without even messing up their (slightly less manicured) hair. This was the right message for the product and it worked both online and in person.
The Chuunin & the Son of Sparda
So, what do we do?
Do we make a list of “has to be felt to be believed” coats that we can only sell to the bold few who absolutely believe in us? But probably those believers first met us in person.
Do we cut these deeply “us” but more subtle designs from the collection?
Do we make that big budget whiskey commercial?
Dang, there sure is a lot we don’t know about the world right now!
What we know is that it’s time to slow down. To focus.
Let’s make one excellent product at a time. One product to receive all our love, all our care, all our story, all our vision. And then, when it’s ready we’ll launch it. Maybe we’ll start with one product every two or three weeks. Ideally we’d like to get to one product a month. Maybe five per quarter.
We simply have to make fewer products. We want to make the designs better. We want to be able to give you the whole picture on the products we design, both the princely angles and the ass kicking ones. While I’d love to double our team and have multiple projects handled by multiple teams, we aren’t there.
We want to be able to give you the very best. Every. Single. Time.
That makes it sound like I don’t believe in our existing products. Nothing could be further from the truth. I think they’re killer, 100% badass.
But like the Chuunin, I don’t know that we’ve perfected the translation into an online world. You shouldn’t have to meet us in person to “get it” and to work on that process, we need to slow down and focus on our customer experience.
And while David can shotgun out a design every few days, for his health and sanity we need to give him some more time. His herculean efforts have founded, opened, and raised our business from nothing to where it is now. But he cannot, should not, make more things at an exponential rate. Our organization must now learn to sell more of a design instead of relying on wowing you with a new design every week.
That’s our greatest struggle at the moment. That’s why we’re doing a customer survey (coming soon). That’s why we’re re-organizing our site and that’s why we’re moving a lot of our products to the Grand Finale Collection.
Going forward all new products will be designer’s specials. They will be tests. We will see what’s working, what you buy, and then we will double down on those. We will iterate on those and make sure that our presentation and customer experience is slamming for those proven products.
So, what’s the Grand Finale collection?
The Grand Finale collection are the exceptional leftovers. We won’t be making more of these products. None. There are lots of good reasons why not. Some are due to the end of a contract, some are made out of material we can’t get anymore, some are very low on sizes or color options, some are experimental colors that we have loved but that don’t sell. So this is where we’re placing them. We are sad to see all of them go. BUT there are fewer choices so you get to have exceptional value on what we still have. Enjoy those discounts! As you know it’s not a common move for us. This year has been a little different as we rearrange, move, and develop our e-commerce strategy.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for being with us on this journey. We love having you as our customers. We love designing for you. Thank you for making it possible to be idealists and artists in a tough ass world.
Just glad to hear you’ve weathered this pandemic and you’re still in the game.
So this means the Specter could return, along side other kickass designs?!
Count me in! I’m looking forward to it!
As a happy consumer of your guys products I hope in the future you’ll take it easy and make more amazing designs in near and far future I love to see what you guys will have in store
I think that a big budget commercial isn’t needed. But I do think that short “catwalk” videos, where we can see someone taking off and putting on the garment, and how it moves when someone is wearing it could better communicate the difference in fabric, drape, etc. Even if it was done for only two jackets, I think that would help a lot!
As an example, ACRONYM has some great videos which help to communicate the functions of their garments.