Apparently, time flies when you’re making shirts, since we recently looked at our calendars and were shocked to realize that it’s been almost exactly one year since we delivered our first batch to our amazing (and patient) Kickstarter backers.
Production was still new to us then, despite immersing ourselves in every part of the process. Thanks to some great partners, some good advice, and a whole lot of work, we were delighted when our shirts landed in the hands of our customers without any major snafus. Whew. What’s more, they were clearly excited and gave us a ton of great feedback and encouragement.
Of course, in the intervening year we’ve become a little more seasoned, and, we hope, a little more savvy. The first production run gave way to the second. And the third. And the fourth. We introduced some new patterns last fall which were a big hit. We became became a certified B Corporation. And we had a fantastic (and hectic) holiday season, which buoyed our sense that Tuckerman just might be on to something here.
In fact, in a world where most things are made as quickly and cheaply as possible, we remain more convinced now that it’s possible — and perhaps even advantageous — to take a slightly unorthodox approach. To do “clothes made right” as we like to say. To take our time. And focus on quality. And in the process, to treat those involved the way we’d want to be treated, all the way from “Dirt to Shirt”. We know that won’t always get everything right, but that’s a formula that we’re certainly willing to bet on.
Of course, we’ve also identified plenty of areas where Tuckerman needed to improve. We’ve worked to make sure that we respond more quickly to customers, and to improve our fulfillment. We’ve also established closer working relationships with many of our suppliers, which has led to some great ideas — from both sides — for better ways of doing things. We also realized that we probably need to be a bit more systematized about spreading the word about what we’re up to. We’ve done almost no advertising to date, which meant that people almost exclusively find out about us through word of mouth and from the press. And while the media has been incredibly kind to us thus far, we need to do a better job of reaching out and spreading the word.
At any rate, in a world where many businesses don’t survive the first year, we’ve been humbled, grateful, and invigorated by the events of the past twelve months. As we look at our (very busy) calendars, it’s amazing to see that our humble little idea seems to have transformed into a proper going concern.
So What’s Next?
We get asked this question often from friends, family, and fellow entrepreneurs.
The short answer is simply, “A lot!”. In addition to lining up some new patterns, which we’re quite eager to release, we’ve also got some fun new things in the works.
The biggest of these things, is that we’re finally testing our women’s shirts! We’ve been wanting to do this for many months, and have been asked by a number of women when they were getting their proper and long overdue invitations to the Tuckerman family. And at last we can say — hand on heart — that it’s in the works. We couldn’t be more excited about that, so stay tuned.
We’re also working on a slightly more convenient way for folks to order shirts throughout the year, especially once they’ve dialed in the fit that works for them. This is still in the early stages so we can’t spill too much, but suffice to say that we’re looking forward to sharing more as soon as we can.
What can I do to help?
One sign the things are going well is when customers ask what they can do to help your business and this, we’re happy to say, has happened more than a few times in the last year.
One big thing is to simply let us know if there are areas where you think we can improve. We’re not afraid of feedback, and in fact, we really value it as a way of continuing to get better at what we do. So if you have good ideas, please don’t be shy.
Second, spreading the word is awfully helpful. We know that best way to help that on our end is to keep making quality shirts, but if you like your Tuckerman shirts thus far, we’d be hugely appreciative if you could tell a friend or two.
In fact, our web folks have even taking the liberty of making it pretty easy with the following ways to share. Can’t be easier than that.
Lastly, thank you so much for all of your support and help in Tuckerman’s first year. We can’t thank you enough and are looking forward to many more to come!