American Giant, a startup offering affordable, American-made apparel for men, is expanding into T-shirt sales today.
The company launched at the beginning of February. CEO Bayard Winthrop has decades of experience in the apparel industry, including a stint as the CEO of Chrome, the preferred laptop bag-maker for hipsters. Winthrop says he started to realize that even though manufacturing has largely moved overseas, ostensibly to save money, the real cost is in distribution. So by selling direct to the consumer through its website, American Giant can manufacture its clothing in the United States (specifically in a facility just a few miles south of San Francisco) and still compete with other brands on price.
The company started off with a line of sweatshirts, and thanks to positive word-of-mouth, Winthrop says the first shipment sold out in about a week. American Giant will be adding new types of apparel to its lineup every six to eight weeks, he says, and T-shirts are an obvious next step. Pricing for the shirts starts at $24.50.
Since launching, American Giant has also opened a showroom in San Francisco’s Mission District. It’s downstairs from the company office, and was created as a place for American Giant to show off its wares to vendors, designers and other partners. Consumers can buy clothing there too, but don’t expect to see any more stores: “We have a reflexive aversion to the traditional store model,” Winthrop says.
This is a pretty crazy time in e-commerce, with lots of new business models emerging, some of them aimed primarily at men. American Giant, however, keeps things pretty straightforward — you go to the site and buy the shirts and sweatshirts that you want, no flash sales or subscriptions in sight.
“There’s lots of stuff that we think is fascinating and exhilarating on the e-commerce side, but you’re going to see us turn slightly a way from it,” Winthrop says. Instead, he wants to focus on delivering a high-quality product and experience.