(Cyber Monday note below)
What a year! I can’t believe I left the comforts of my previous job more than a year ago to jump headfirst into wool + suede. I’ll start off by saying this past year hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows on a personal and professional level, but I'm grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow tremendously from embarking on this entrepreneurial adventure. I've been hiding away in Montreal re-evaluating life for the past 2.5 months, and I can confidently say I’m back on the upswing with life getting even better daily.
I thought I was ready to take the plunge full-time in wool + suede, but this past year taught me I need some more personal and professional development to achieve such a goal. My ambition is evolving and the goal of wool + suede is changing. I apologize for missing the mark of being the creator I aimed to be especially when so many of you took a chance to believe and support our ambitious dream of changing the men’s winter accessories market.
I’m going to pivot wool + suede into a project-by-project basis to create incredible and high-quality men's fashion accessories with the same principle of delivering the best value in the form of small-batch capsule collections and other crowdfunding campaigns. We developed some incredible relationships in Europe this past April and we see the need and desire to continue supporting and showcasing the creations of so many incredible Old World artisans.
In a nutshell, these artisans need to grow and diversify their revenue streams as fast fashion and cheaper manufacturing eat away at their market share, so we (surprisingly at the time) got to meet everyone we set to encounter during the wool + suede Euro trip.
I always have my eyes open to see what’s trending and produced as I browse the offerings of the fashion world and I always wonder about the design and manufacturing location and process, business costs and (in)efficiencies, and areas of opportunity and improvement. My hope is to create timeliness items that would be classified as "buy-it-for-life."
These musing and observations may materialize in one or more releases in 2018 including a peccary glove Kickstarter; unique group made-to-order glove (or other goodies!) projects, high-quality cotton, merino wool and/or cashmere socks from Northern Italy with beautiful designs; nice minimalist leather sneakers (along the veins of Common Projects and as far away from the trend of chunky dad sneakers [seriously, why is that a thing?!?]); grenadine ties and linen scarves from Naples, Italy; and a re-imagined set of ear muffs for men to brave the winter (how can we keep our hair looking great while staying warm?). I’ll be happy if even one of these projects comes to fruition because it’s hard to achieve this with lean resources and I’m pivoting and transitioning into a new professional opportunity and industry (you’ll hear about it soon!). I just wanted to put the list out there to keep myself accountable to you. I’ll be more than happy to support any of the above projects if someone ends up taking the ideas to fill the gap.
This leads to the last-minute Cyber Monday Pre-Orders. Like I mentioned before, we need to work within our constraints of lean resources. It’s a safer to fill pre-orders than risking our resources in inventory that won’t sell (we did a Cyber Monday markdown for the last remaining stock from last year). I realize it’s late in the season, but we’re at the cutoff point to do a small batch of shearling gloves. The biggest piece of feedback we received last year (besides some stitching and sizing problems which we addressed when visiting our makers in Romania this past Spring) is the desire for touchscreen-compatible gloves, so we’re offering the regular shearling option and a touchscreen-compatible shearling option with treated leather stitched onto the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Unfortunately, we had to raise the prices because the raw material costs increased by 35% and we also requested the top grade shearling. Despite the price increases, our value still surpasses the competitors as I did multiple tours around stores in Montreal and virtually everywhere online to see if other gloves have touched our level of value and the offerings are pretty sparse for a warm + stylish shearling gloves.
The pre-order window will be open from Monday, November 27 until Thursday, November 30 at 6PM PST / 9PM EST.
The price change is due to a 35% increase in the cost of goods due to a raw material cost increase and a request for the top grade of shearling leather. We tried to minimize the impact on the retail price to provide the best value for the best shearling gloves created.
The expected delivery to our facilities in Edmonton, Alberta is Friday, December 15 and we will ship out the gloves to Canada and USA customers by Monday, December 18 in time for the Christmas holidays.
International orders (Europe and Asia) will be shipped from our makers in Romania by December 12.
Lastly, I had a eureka moment in the shower the other day for a special holiday gift: custom gloves limited only by your imagination! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you were interested in bringing such a creation to life and I’ll be happy to make it a reality for you.
Thanks for your time, energy, and support throughout this year and journey. I really appreciate all the emails and messages over the past year checking in on me and wool + suede. The future is bright and I hope it will also be warm and stylish on whichever path life takes you.
Stay warm + stylish,