May 31, 2012
The Steve Jobs of Denim?
Photos Clément Pascal
Maurice Malone, the man behind one-man operation The Williamsburg Garment Company, produces boutique denim named after local streets—Kent Ave, Berry Street, Union Ave. But don’t mistake high quality for high price. Selling at low cost straight to retailers for cash—to avoid unpaid invoices and other “costly expenses”—allows prices to be close to factory-direct. “I could charge more money and easily make more money at market-standard prices,” Malone tells us, “but I cut all the expenses that go into why brands traditionally charge what they charge for their products. So I think it all evens out.” Why the unique business model? “The denim market is very difficult to break into, especially when working with very limited cash or resources,” he tells us. “When I started this brand, I wanted to do something as groundbreaking and as radical as some of the tech companies, like Facebook and Apple. So I took a hard look at the market and came up with a formula for success that no one has tried before.” So far, so good—he’s adding new retailers every week. But “to me, the number is not as important as the quality. I’m not trying to have a big volume of stores; I’m trying to be in only one account per city. So the stores I choose have to be the best fit for my brand while being high-quality, well-respected designer boutiques or denim specialists. I’m spending my time securing my brand’s foundation, so the numbers aren’t the game plan.”
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