The genesis of Tact & Stone was definitely a lightbulb moment for me. I ran across an article that shed light on the fashion industry and how wasteful it was. It was eye popping! I learned that the fashion industry is one of the largest contributors to climate change (alongside the oil industry and industrial food industry), and some mind blowing stats like: ~750 gallons of water to produce one cotton tee shirt, 10 million tons of clothing waste go to landfill every year just in the US, 6 out of 10 garments end up in landfill within a year of purchase, and a large majority of garment workers are underpaid and work in unsafe conditions.
I’ve always been passionate about sustainability and living my life in a way that I thought was positive. After learning all of this about the fashion industry, I realized I was contributing to the problem. I committed at that point to no longer participate in this type of fashion consumption. The only problem was, when I went looking for a brand I could feel good purchasing from there weren’t any options for men that were tackling all of the issues of sustainability. There are some brands that are doing good work in sustainability, but they are outdoor and surf brands; there was no one serving the mens’ essentials market. Long story short I decided to tackle this on my own. I believe climate change is the largest issue facing humanity, and this felt like a way I could help.
We took a hard stance on our sustainability initiatives and only source the lowest-impact materials available to us (only organic or recycled materials) to make our own custom fabrics to create the highest-quality, lowest-impact menswear on the market. As we started to design our first products we would get samples in front of our target demographic and get their opinions and thoughts prior to doing a full production run. We were very intent on making sure the product was of the highest quality and a product that the customer would see as equal or better to conventional garments. This was essential in building Tact & Stone. At the end of the day if the product isn’t something the customer wants we won’t be able to scale or have a larger impact. We are extremely proud of the product we’ve created because of the quality, comfort, and fit… all in the most sustainable way possible.
We got our first three customers through word of mouth as we launched our e-commerce website in the middle of 2019.
We raised a small family/friends round of funding before launch, but have been mostly self funded up until this point. We’re currently looking for our seed round funding.
Who is your target demographic?
We believe our customer is a leader, a hero, and a change-maker. He is a conscious urban dweller, that likes to look good, feel good, and do good. He’s passionate about his life and appreciates all cultures and people on this planet. He’s a hard worker and kicks ass in all aspects of life. He believes in a better future.
How did you fund the idea initially?
Up until this point, Tact & Stone has been self funded. We invested heavily into building our supply chain up front to ensure that we can scale in a truly sustainable way. We are now looking to raise our seed round of funding to invest in telling our story to a broader audience and to shed light on the conventional industry practices and the need for change. We are here to prove that style and quality doesn’t need to be sacrificed for true sustainability.
At the moment, we don’t have a cofounder/founding team. However, I did have some of the best help in the game. I met Circular Systems prior to launching Tact & Stone. Circular Systems is the foremost leader in sustainable textile innovation and was immensely helpful in building Tact & Stone prior to launch.
Did you run any companies prior?
I haven’t run any companies prior to Tact & Stone. I actually don’t come from the fashion industry. Prior to Tact & Stone I was a residential real estate agent in San Francisco. I know! Not the conventional route to fashion. However, I was an early employee at Redfin and became head of the SF team, and got great experience in a start-up environment, and how to build a successful team. I believe that experience has been extremely helpful as I went down this road of starting my own company.
What motivates you when things go wrong? What is the end goal?
I’m motivated by our mission to have a lasting impact. Because we only source sustainable materials, and work with sustainable manufacturing partners, all of our products have a significantly lower impact than traditionally made garments. We have a sweatshirt that saves 1,198 gallons of water, that’s enough drinking water for one person for 20 years!! We significantly reduce the CO2 consumption with our practices as well. When things get tough (as things do as a new business) this is what keeps me going.
For anyone just getting started with a new business, know that it’s going to be hard, but if you’re trying to solve a real problem in the world, keep going! I believe real change in the world comes from innovative entrepreneurs trying to solve big problems. Make sure you align yourself with people that can help fill your weaknesses.
Most of our sales have come from organic word of mouth, with some help from paid social (FB, IG). Right now, what’s holding us back is the budget to invest in authentic storytelling and customer acquisition.
What are the top 3-5 apps that Tact & Stone could not run without?
Shopify! Shopify is such an amazing platform for ecommerce businesses. It’s a seamless platform that allows you to build an amazing site, and gives you the ability to run a lot of the operations on the back end.
Klaviyo is an amazing email service! It allows you to build and design great email flows and campaigns, and gives you amazing capabilities on the back end for segmentation and access to data.
Some of my favorite books include “The Slight Edge”, “Start with Why”, “Superhuman” and “The Lean Startup”
Some of my favorite podcasts are “How I built this”, “Masters of Scale”, “Bulletproof Radio”
What are your next steps?
We’re currently working on three new products: a recycled cotton tee shirt, a high-performance/low-impact polo, and high-performance/low-impact fleece.
I have grand visions for Tact & Stone. By building the company the way we have, and investing up-front into our sourcing strategy, supply chain, and innovative materials strategy we have a foundation few brands have. I believe this is the future of fashion, and see Tact & Stone being a thought leader and innovator in the space. I think in 5 years, we will be a household name, and a brand known for making a positive change in an antiquated industry.
|Tact & Stone