Mizzen+Main racks up $3 million for menswear that feels athletic, looks tailored

Apparel makers Mizzen and Main LLC have closed $3 million in a modest Series B round of venture funding to ramp up inventory and sales of their signature menswear, according to founder and Chief Executive Kevin LaVelle.

The Dallas, Texas-based startup is best known for combining the durable and breathable fabrics one would expect in athletic apparel with tailored looks for men. Think Nike Dri-Fit meets Brooks Brothers.

That’s something that bigger brands like Under Armour and Vineyard Vines are also doing now, but weren’t in March of 2014 when Mizzen+Main ran a Kickstarter campaign to help manufacture its original, wrinkle free blazers.

Mizzen+Main’s fabrics and designs are proprietary, and the company manufactures exclusively in the United States, today.

The company’s CEO said, “I have had to let go of the notion that I could ever truly protect everything we are doing and focus much more on getting the brand name out there, making sure people are passionate about our products and beyond happy with our customer service.”

Pro-athletes and fitness trainers, whose massive muscles don’t fit comfortably in off-the-rack jackets, shirts or pants, have taken a liking to Mizzen+Main, LaVelle claims.
And perhaps not surprisingly, pro-athletes are among the startup’s newest and earlier investors.

Specifically, Mizzen+Main’s Series B backers included: Thomas Morstead, a Super Bowl winning athlete with the New Orleans Saints; Ben Nash, the co-founder and CEO of PCS Wireless; George Couri and Bruce Kalmick of Triple 8 Management; VTF Capital; Brian Tochman of MRCA Investment and other private investors.

Earlier, Mizzen+Main gained traction by bringing trunk shows to Major League Baseball locker rooms, where athletes could feel and try on their shirts, then order some from a Mizzen+Main Shopify store on an iPad if they wanted.

Given Morstead’s personal investment, it would not be surprising to see Mizzen+Main replicate that effort in or near NFL venues and events. But mostly, the company advertises via word-of-mouth and Facebook ads these days.

PCS Wireless founder and CEO Ben Nash backed Mizzen+Main after a friend and business partner got him to try wearing the shirts, first.

Nash said he thinks the company should use its funding to “get its shirts on more backs,” including by possibly sending samples to top stock brokers on Wall Street. “Not every single person who goes to the gym a few times a week is wearing their shirt today, but they should be.” Nash said. “Brand ambassadors are the way to go.”

photo credit: Threads Refined for Mizzen+Main