Local Menswear Business Launches Despite Kickstarter Failure

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Orginal Article

Waterloo Region Record

WATERLOO — Three local men who tried to launch a menswear business with a crowdfunding campaign didn’t let failure stand in their way.

Daniel Byrne, Julian Corredor and Christopher Norkett fell short last November in their attempt to raise $80,000 through Kickstarter to start Gentlemen of York.

“Without funding from Kickstarter, we had to look into other ways to bring our designs to life,” Norkett said.

“In November we spent a month in Europe visiting different suit factories. We ended up finding one in Italy that would make suits on demand, thus not needing us to raise as much funds to get started.”

The trio, all in their 20s and living in Kitchener and Waterloo, visit homes and offices with fabric books for custom orders of suits and dress shirts. Corredor worked for three years at Stars Men’s Shops.

“Since we’ve had success with this model, we have now expanded into our own line of ties, socks, and accessories,” Norkett said.

Business is going very well, he said.

“This month it’s really taking off. It’s definitely the season for getting suits.”

Suits range in price from $250 to $2,500.

For every suit sold, Gentlemen of York donates $30 to Keep a Child Alive, a charity that provides treatment, food and support to children and families affected by HIV in Africa and India. Gentlemen of York donates $1 for every accessory sold.

The business hopes to donate $5,000 this year.

Keep a Child Alive was chosen as a way to remember Byrne’s mother, Kathy Shane, who died last June when her car collided with a transport truck on Homer Watson Boulevard in Kitchener.

Shane always gave back to the community, donating to Anselma House women’s shelter, helping out at the local soup kitchen and wrapping Christmas presents for underprivileged children.

The business can be reached at gentlemenofyork.com.

gpaul@therecord.com , Twitter: @GPaulRecord

Interview with the Gentlemen of York

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The coolest new men’s fashion group you mightn’t have heard of- yet- is set to take over the suit-making world and save children’s lives in the process. I recently had the chance to speak with the inspiring founders behind Gentlemen of York to get the 411 on who they are and what they’re all about…

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So start by telling us how Gentlemen of York was born and what your fashion mission is…

We founded Gentlemen Of York in June 2014. We were three ambitious young entrepreneurs looking to add and inspire a new design of clothing for young professionals to the market. The idea was to combine a strong corporate philosophy while maintaining our social responsibility to give back to people that need it most. We built the company from the ground up with no help from third parties, all in house web, server and design development, allowing us to ensure 100% quality oversight from design conception to production.

Tell us about the brains behind the designs…

CCOThe designs are intended for people who want that slim style and want the high quality. Essentially European made productions at a great price.

Julian Corredor, our designer on board, began forming designs to meet the specific needs of a smaller gentleman/lady while taking into account that no matter what your size is, he can make you look slim.

Sounds like magic!

 

We have started off making men’s suits custom tailored that can be purchased either online or booking an appointment in person and via webinar/skype. But we won’t stop at only suits. We’re looking to broaden our collection in the coming years to incorporate what we feel provides people with an exclusive look and great quality. We stand strongly by our quality and workmanship. When you purchase a suit with Gentlemen of York, you’re not only buying a custom suit, you’re getting our signature design and our promise to make you the best you can look in a suit. We’re with our customers from start to finish and want to build a long-term outfitting partnership with each unique client.

There are so many DIY fashion companies popping up online all over the place these days…what makes Gentlemen of York unique?

bar7Our initial focus was to make the online experience simple and easy to use.

When we looked at our competitors’ websites we found that the current experience you get will show you a lot of options that let you try and create a combination that might look good but there’s a lot of uncertainty involved. It’s a good method if you are practicing to be a designer and have an innate fashion sense but still doesn’t provide guidance when it comes to making a professional suit look good. With our designer we have put together some of the best combinations to bring out the best in every gentlemen.

Take us step-by-step through the on-line suit ordering process…

bar26We’ve condensed our buying process to be as simple as possible to ensure ease of use. Our customers’ first step would be choosing a style and fabric from our collections page.

Next, they can add custom finishes to the design before adding to the shopping cart.

Upon processing checkout we collect your measurements and send the order to our manufacturer. Our highest quality suits are custom made to order from our partner factory in Europe.

The suit will then be manufactured and delivered right to your door within 3-4 weeks. For our customers’ convenience we will also have the ability to book a Skype or in person fitting with our personal tailor.

And what about one-on-one personalized attention? Can users connect directly with a Gentlemen of York designer or client service team member?

bar9In addition to a simple customer experience we’ve made ordering with Gentlemen Of York more personal. In a world moving towards mobile we’ve integrated our online help service. At any point in time you can request online assistance directly with us, we will be available 9am-9pm EST to help service anyone who has direct questions about our product, ordering and payment. Anyone can and should feel free to reach out and connect directly with our team of founders as well.

What are your plans for the upcoming year? Will Gentlemen of York be offering any offline services or trade show opportunities where folks can learn more about the brand in a more up close and personal way?

bar20Absolutely. Gentlemen Of York will be fully launching our website May 2015. Right now you can book an appointment and we offer socks, ties, and accessories online. We will start touring our local areas and setting up traveling tailors. Wherever the demand is we will be there! We will also be participating in a number of trade shows and bridal shows towards the end of 2015. Our main focus is to build brand awareness online and establish a strong network of online friends as well as offer some original promotions that you don’t normally see in our industry.

As you mentioned, a major corporate philosophy of Gentlemen of York in addition to building a seamless for-profit fashion business is to give back and do your part in aiding humanity. Can you tell us in more detail about your current philanthropic mission?

With our website nearly ready for launch, we’re excited to finally sell suits and live up to our social responsibility of donating a percentage of our profits to charity. With every suit purchased we will donate $30 to Keep A Child Alive, an organization we feel is working hard at eliminating the fight against HIV/AIDS. By donating to the KCA we know that our mission doesn’t stop at “PROFIT”. Our mission helps to better those that were not so lucky to be born in a 1st world country.

That’s an admirable and awesome objective. Many for-profit companies and particularly fashion companies promise to donate some profit but not all of them pledge to consistently donate to a partner charity with every purchase. Can you elaborate how you’ll continue to further this mission?

_39B7339Our partnership with KCA started when we launched a Kickstarter campaign trying to raise money to open up our men’s fashion line. We’ve been fortunate enough to have a chance to work with some wonderful people within the KCA organization, always willing to help us succeed so we’d like to give a big shout out to the entire KCA team!

In the coming years we would love to have a steady flow of donations pouring into the KCA to help as many children as we can with their monthly treatments for HIV/AIDS.

In addition to your KCA partnership, can you give us any insight into future Gentlemen of York corporate social responsibility goals?

Our immediate goals are to of course continue our efforts to help the KCA and eventually open up scholarship funding for orphaned teens giving them the chance to attend college and receive a degree!

Our long-term goal, once our brand reaches the global market share, is to open facilities that help underprivileged youths throughout the world, starting in Canada and working our way outward on a global scale. There are too many children and people struggling on a daily basis in our world and it’s unfortunately been this way for many years. It takes some dollars to help out and that’s what we’re here to do. Profit isn’t everything and we want to do our part.

Check back soon for more updates and purchasing info from Gentlemen of York.

 

Look your best and save a life

By: Liz Ganschow