Pistol Lake (née Holden) originally kicked off a Kickstarter campaign for its first line of clothing last year, which consisted of crew- and V-neck T-shirts and polos.
Now it’s looking to expand its clothing line, by offering up a new line of clothing that includes henleys and two new types of hoodies. And just as it did when it first launched, Pistol Lake is introducing the new products with a crowdfunding campaign. To fund production, the startup is offering up a few packages for pre-order that its customers can choose from, ranging from $99 for three of its new products to $329 for a dozen. Once the campaign is finished, early customers will have credits with which they can choose the size and type of clothes that they want.
Like a lot of clothing startups that have launched recently, the idea behind Pistol Lake was to build ultra high-quality clothing that could be sold straight to consumers at reasonable prices. Without all of the overhead that comes from distributing and selling through traditional retail channels, Pistol Lake could manufacture shirts at the same quality of James Perse but sold at a fraction of the cost. The company’s t-shirts are sold for about $22, while hoodies will cost $35.
The clothes are made out of premium six-ounce cotton and finished with a unique garment dye process that gives them a high-quality finish. It also keeps them from fading or shrinking too much with each wash. (Disclosure: Pistol Lake sent me a few shirts to test out and I can vouch that they are some of the nicest t-shirts I’ve personally worn.)
While quality is of the utmost importance to the company, Pistol Lake is also concerned about size and fit. Because, of course, it doesn’t matter how nice a piece of clothing is unless it actually looks good on you. Given the variation in guys’ sizing, Pistol Lake wanted to create a greater range of clothes that will fit its customers better.
“There are typically two inches between sizes, so clearly there’s a half-size that fits many people,” Pistol Lake co-founder William Sulinski told me. In addition, he said, there’s usually variation in the length of shirts that are needed by most people. Many taller men typically buy large t-shirts that don’t fit their body type, simply because otherwise shirts just aren’t long enough.
To help with these issues, Pistol Lake manufactures its clothes in small batches that can accommodate up to 20 different sizes. And if somehow it doesn’t have a size that’s right, it can create a custom pattern to ensure its clothes fit.
Pistol Lake was founded by Sulinski and Shane Ermitano, who first met as part of the TechStars Boston class of 2009. Sulinski had co-founded a company called AccelGolf which was in that class and was acquired by MyScorecard, and later went on to become head of product for Shareaholic. Ermitano, meanwhile, founded LangoLab as part of TechStars. Over the years, the two remained close until it was time for them to work on something new.
That was the genesis for Pistol Lake, for which both founders moved to L.A. to build the company. There, they began working to find manufacturers that would enable them to create small batches of clothes and keep production in the U.S. On that point, Sulinski told me that while it might have been able to save some money by having its clothes created overseas, the ability to rapidly prototype and ship custom patterns in a short period of time was essential to their process.
Pistol Lake has raised a small advisory round from a group of founders that the team knows. Those investors come from companies like SendGrid, MoPub, HipChat, Localytics, DailyBurn, BuyWithMe, StarStreet, CoachUp, NextBigSound, and MediaMath. While it could raise more money going forward, for now it’s focused on funding its new line of clothes from customers who dig its products.