As any consumer knows, there are plenty of clothing options out
there, from shirts to socks, cotton to polyester. The retail
apparel industry is a crowded space, making a differentiating
factor—whether it’s branding, customer service, or the
product—an absolute must. For
that factor is found in the fabric.
A Budding Business
Founded in 2013, Mr. Davis has its roots in bamboo. At first,
bamboo viscose was just one of a dozen fabrics that Jeremy
Chrysler, founder of the business, was using for early
prototypes. The fabric stood out as being far more comfortable
than other options though. After buying incredibly comfortable
bamboo viscose bedsheets, Jeremy was hooked.
Once he’d decided on the fabric, Jeremy worked through a dozen
or so iterations to refine the measurements for an undershirt
that guys would actually want to wear all day. After a year of
prototyping, the design was ready for production.
But launching an entire product line requires a major investment
up front. Riskily jumping right into the world of retail with
little cash and an unknown demand wasn’t feasible. Fortunately,
Kickstarter—a platform for funding ideas—helped the idea of Mr.
Davis to become reality.
“We used Kickstarter to launch our first undershirt—the Tone V
Neck,” said John McClain, COO of Mr. Davis. “Our successful
campaign allowed us to gauge demand and get direct, customer
feedback. It also allowed us to go straight into production with
an existing customer base.”
Trying the Idea on for Size
Following the campaign’s better-than-expected outcome, a key
decision was whether to become a wholesaler or retailer.
Wholesalers typically sell in bulk to retailers who act as a
sort of middleman that sells to the customer. Wholesaling
provides access to a larger audience, and it’s far more
predictable in terms of revenue and demand.
But the experience of having direct access to customers via
Kickstarter proved to be powerful. The answer was definitive.
Direct-to-consumer retail was the way to go.
“Cutting out the middleman has been huge for us, since the raw
material, the bamboo viscose, is expensive,” said John. “If we
were a traditional wholesaler, one undershirt would need to
retail for around $40. Since our
are meant to be worn hard, we wanted to offer high-quality,
well-made products at a price that would allow for repeat
purchases. A middleman would force us into prices that were too
The major perks of selling directly to the customer are
two-fold. Rather than marking up the price twice to accommodate
both retailer and customer, it’s only a single markup.
Additionally, selling direct allows for direct, real-time
feedback from customers. “We’ve made several subtle refinements
in the product based on just talking to our customers,” said
McClain. “For example, changing the cut of our sleeves by about
a centimeter immediately made the shirts more comfortable to
guys with bigger arms.”
Since getting off the ground in 2013 and launching the
undershirt you’d never want to take off, Mr. Davis has grown
steadily. The team, now four strong, launched another product
line, underwear, via an even more successful Kickstarter
campaign last year.
“In the fall of 2015, we went back to Kickstarter to launch the
campaign,” said John. “We prototyped for 18 months and beta
tested with nearly 100 customers, but we were still nervous to
produce thousands of underwear without knowing demand. It was a
huge hit, and once again gave us the cash to begin production
for our second product line.”
A VIP program was quickly implemented as well to keep customers
engaged. On a customer-determined interval of months, Mr. Davis
would deliver an order of undershirts at a discounted price and
with free shipping. It turned out to be a rewarding program for
both parties, and it became an invaluable tool for better
forecasting revenue and growth.
“Through our VIP program, we were able to add more value by
lowering the price for subscribers since they were committing to
future shipments,” said John. “It’s been huge—about 50% of the
people purchasing from the site sign up. And it’s pretty common
for a first-time customer to sign up after they purchase.”
Quality at the Core
The emphasis on quality extends into Mr. Davis’ own operations.
Their team covers essential functions of the business, from
fulfillment to web development, but, like the very product they
offer, they’re more than happy to pay professionals for quality
“It’s important to know what you do best and to pay
professionals to do what you can’t. Everything from hiring an
accountant, inventory management software, or hiring a
consultant that does Google AdWords, so you can focus on
execution and growth,” said John. “Pay the money to have people
doing the right things, the right way. All the stuff our team
isn’t great at, whether it’s photography, design, or accounting,
we work with tools and people that specialize on that every
And, as John’s comments imply, outsourcing doesn’t always
involve people—Mr. Davis uses apps, too. It’s one thing to have
others work for you, and another to have the professional tools
to quickly do the work yourself. That’s exactly what Ordoro is
all about; delivering comprehensive, easily-usable shipping and
inventory tools to get the job done.
“We chose Ordoro because it is based in the United States and
has incredible customer service. It’s great to pick up the phone
during OUR business hours and chat with someone in our same
timezone,” said John. “Our development team loves the API as
well. The user interface is super-clean, modern and easy to use.
We can pick, pack and ship a package in under 2 minutes from the
time we receive the order—pretty awesome!”
Garments Guaranteeing Growth
Mr. Davis has seen some fantastic success within the last three
years because of their unwavering commitment to the brand and
core mission. From the get-go, they’ve always been centered
around superior, affordable products. And with an unrelenting
focus on product quality, quality products come
naturally—especially when they’re made of the best materials.
“We’ve experienced tremendous growth over the past three years,
but the brand hasn’t changed too much. We continue to want to
deliver the best-made product using the best fabrics the world
has to offer at great prices,” said John. “Experiencing growth
and positive, customer feedback has definitely made us sit back
and ask, ‘Well, what else can we make?’ But the challenge is not
getting too far ahead of ourselves and sticking with our core
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