The idea is pretty ingenious – men’s dress shirts made from the same moisture-wicking fabrics as athletic wear. They are winkle-free, have four-way stretch and don’t require ironing or dry cleaning. Mizzen+Main is producing the shirts that have garnered so much attention, founder Kevin Lavelle was named to Men’s Fitness “2014 Game Changers” list.
With roots in Dallas, TX, the company chose Columbus and more specifically Short North as the location for their first pop-up retail location. While the location has finished it’s test-run, Mizzen+Main has other news that’s helping the business keep close ties to Columbus. M+M received $1.2 million in investments, part of it from local serial entrepreneur David Schottenstein.
The Metropreneur recently caught up with Greg Miller, public relations for M+M about what’s next for the company. While the store may be gone, Miller says they hope to maintain their presence in Columbus. A special Buckeye-themed shirt is also part of a new interactive campaign to create their next line of shirts.
[M] What’s the status of the pop-up store in Columbus?
The pop-up store in Columbus is now closed. While it was successful and a great boom for Mizzen+Main as the company rapidly expanded, continuing to operate the storefront after relocating company headquarters to Dallas earlier this summer was not feasible. The new Dallas HQ does have offices and a showroom that Mizzen+Main will be selling out of.
[M] What did you learn from testing the brick-and-mortar concept?
Customers loved the concept. Mizzen+Main’s shirts are one of those luxury items that once you feel the quality and uniqueness of the material, you’re sold. Giving customers access to that was huge for Mizzen+Main and the company plans to continue to explore other concepts, whether that be through trunk shows, pop-ups or future retail locations.
[M] Tell us more about the investment Mizzen+Main recently received. How will the money be utilized to help grow the company?
Mizzen+Main completed a Series A funding round totaling $1.2 million. The lead investor is serial entrepreneur David Schottenstein, who founded and then sold the former menswear brand Astor & Black. Obviously, David’s ties to Columbus are a sign that Columbus and the greater Ohio area is still a key market and opportunity for growth for Mizzen+Main.
Also included in the funding round was VegasTechFund, which is led by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh and has invested heavily in recent years on new fabric technologies. A list of some of the preeminent business families in Dallas also contributed to the round including Hunter Hunt, Bobby Lyle and Chris Kleinert.
The investment raised will be used to expand operations, expand and diversify the Mizzen+Main product line, hire additional staff and more holistically market the brand to men everywhere who are looking for a better way to dress.
[M] Tell us more about the Columbus shirt campaign.
Mizzen+Main has always looked to the latest technologies – specifically online and ecommerce – to launch new business ventures. When Mizzen+Main launched its first blazer via Kickstarter, the target raise goal was hit in four hours. Those are shipping now.
In the Columbus shirt campaign – a component of the brand’s first “Main Man Cave” project – Mizzen+Main is using Tilt (formerly CrowdTilt) to allow fans to push new shirt designs into production. The Main Man Cave features new shirt designs (never produced before by M+M), and encourages users to weigh in by pre-ordering the shirt of their choice. Each shirt will be moved into production and added to M+M’s general dress shirt offering after reaching a minimum threshold of pre-orders.
In this first fall Main Man Cave, fans of The Ohio State University can push the “Columbus” shirt into production in time to wear this dapper dress shirt on game day in support of their Buckeyes. Similar campaigns are running for fans of UT Austin and SMU.
[M] What’s next? What can we expect to see from Mizzen+Main in Columbus.
Mizzen+Main will continue to explore expansion with retail partners in the area, as well as hosting customer events, trunk shows and more. We have an exciting fall planned.
For more information, visit mizzenandmain.com.