True connection is not something that can be easily produced in a factory. Whether it’s locally sourced ingredients for restaurants, value-laden direct trade relationships for coffee farmers, or handmade crafts from Etsy, consumers are looking for real ties to the products they buy. Why not foster that connection in something as integral to daily life as the clothes we wear, for those whom we care for the most – our children?
The Patchery is certainly bringing that integral sense of close connection to its custom clothing for kids. The company promotes co-creation, and works closely with parents and kids to design their own clothes. These individual designs get passed straight to Minnesota-based cutters and sewers who handcraft each piece of clothing one at a time, to the consumer’s exact specification and with a specific child in mind. Three to four weeks from idea to handcrafted clothing, and the end result is an inspiring, timeless creation. Co-founder Amber Gunn Thomas spoke to us ahead of their appearance at Beta.MN 2.0 to discuss the Patchery’s blueprint for business.
Tell us the story of how and why you started your company.
Every good story starts with a moment of inspiration. Mine was when I was sitting behind my sewing machine, ripping out a seam for what felt like the hundredth time, asking myself, “why do I even like sewing?” I realized that it was the creative process leading up to the actual sewing–the mixing and matching of fabrics–that I really loved. Then the next question I had was, “Why can’t that part of the process be available to everyone?” With The Patchery, the answer is “it can!”
That scene I just described was in April 2014 and in January 2015 we launched the business. In those 10 months we built the operations, sourced raw materials, and developed our first line of products. We also developed the website.
What’s your most recent success or milestone hit?
Of course, launching on January 8 is a pretty significant milestone, but it feels so long ago already. We just moved development overseas allowing us to do more with our allocated technology budget. This includes an improved navigation element during the design process. We also just launched our 10th product and are nearly at 5,000 Facebook fans. Lots of small wins that add up!
Where do you see your startup in 1 year?
In one year we will have expanded our product offering to include kids from newborn to 10 years old. We’ll offer accessories such as hairbows, belts, and kids purses. Our commerce engine will improve to include up-sells and other recommendations.
At this time next year, we’ll also be looking at expanding into nursery and kids bedroom decor, with adult apparel following closely after that.