This Startup Wants Your Help Designing Its Clothes

Instead of changing designs seasonally, Taylor Stitch changes them every week. And the company wants your input.

May 31, 2016
Outside
Outside Magazine
Taylor Stitch and Mission Workshop

Two pieces from the Taylor Stitch x Mission Workshop collab.    Photo: Jakob Schiller

San Francisco-based Taylor Stitch has been designing men’s and women’s do-everything basics since 2009, making frequent appearances on Huckberry and other popular lifestyle blogs. But at the beginning of 2015, the young company decided to try a sales model untested by any previous small-scale manufacturer.

Instead of creating seasonal collections, and dealing with the gamble of trying to predict what would be cool in the coming season, Taylor Stitch started designing collections on a weekly basis, and then marketing their designs on their website through something akin to Kickstarter. They call it Workshop.

The basic idea behind Workshop is to make new styles available online each week, giving consumers the option to fund each product by purchasing it in advance of availability. For doing this, the consumers then receive a 20 percent discount. “It takes six-to-eight weeks from the time of purchase to delivery,” says company co-founder Michael Maher. “So this is like a thank you for waiting.”

Taylor Stitch did this in part to give customers a say in what’s being created. But it’s also a smart business model. Workshop takes the guesswork out of figuring out which styles will work, and also prevents the company from having to mark up their products, then put unsold items on sale at the end of the season. The product runs are limited and fresh (sewn in the United States and Europe), and the company has more freedom to work with better fabrics and manufacturers. Sometimes they collaborate with other companies (those design partnerships start months in advance), and sometimes the designs are all their own.

Recent collections include a series of summery button downs, inspired by the local surf scene, plus a collaboration with Mission Workshop (another San Francisco company), which makes high-end bike kit. 

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