At Wildwood & Company, we are entering our 10th year (!) making bespoke suits in downtown Portland, Oregon, and we are ready to take a big leap: launching a full retail shop and e-commerce platform for our unique collection of quality head-to-toe accessories, which we have developed over the years to complement our tailoring.
We have developed each accessories program to complement our bespoke tailoring—like shoes and boots, knitwear, leather goods, ties and bowties, suspenders, and more (a more complete outline is below)—all with our same commitment to quality and uniqueness we've developed over the last decade.We’ve only really had the bandwidth to offer those beautiful accessories to our in-person tailoring clients. But the response to those projects has been so overwhelmingly positive that the path forward for us has become clear: Grow the variety and selection of our world-class offerings, and make them available to a larger audience. To do that the right way, we need to raise capital (scroll down for an overview of what specifically we plan to invest in).We are proudly based downtown Portland, Oregon, with no plans to move (although potentially opening an additional retail location someday is certainly not out of the question); and our sincere hope is that this expansion will further cement our status as a downtown Portland destination, bolstering the community around us in the process.
We ask you—our clients, colleagues, neighbors and friends—to consider supporting our growth in one of three ways (none of which is a “donation”).
(1) Pre-purchase any future piece from us:
Make a pledge of any amount through this page, and you’ll be entitled to a gift certificate in that same amount—for yourself, or to give as a gift. Been meaning to commission or gift something from us? Now would be a great time, with the following additional perks to show our thanks:
Any amount under $100:
Our thanks, and early access to our new e-commerce platform when it launches in spring 2024.
$100 and more:
Entry in a drawing for some very special gifts and experiences, outlined at the very end below (plus the above perks).
$1000 and more:
An additional $100 gift certificate for every $1000 pre-purchased (plus the above perks).
$5000 and more:
You’ll be hearing from me (Joe), to arrange a very special gift that’s meaningful to you—like joining me for a private VIP tasting at the Multnomah Whiskey Library; helping me design the next Wildwood House Tweed, or a custom English silk for ties and other accessories; or even having a product or design named after you or a loved one (plus all the above perks of course).
To give to someone as a gift:
Please contact us, and we are happy to make a beautiful presentation of a physical wrapped letterpress gift certificate for you to give.
If you'd like to pledge an amount other than those available in the drop-down menu:
Please add a lesser amount to your cart; then click "view cart"; then change quantity to reach desired total. E.g., to choose $800, simply add $100 and change quantity to 8. Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!
2) We are also seeking larger investment:
While our goal is to raise $100k through this campaign to get a great start on our expansion plans, our full plan for expansion will require more. If you or someone you know would be open to talking about investment at a more significant level, please let me know, and I’d love to talk further.
3) Introduce a friend:
Over nine years, we have thrived in large part because so many of our clients and friends have personally introduced others to our small business. If you have friends, family, or colleagues you think would dig what we are up to, please introduce them—an email intro is easy, but I’m also always happy to host you both for a personal tour and a drink.Continue reading for a more complete outline of the plan (including "why investment?" and how we plan to invest the funds):
I opened Wildwood & Company downtown Portland at the end of 2014, to bring back the craft of bespoke tailoring and to raise the level of menswear and accessories in our region (and to make the craft of bespoke tailoring available to all genders). We have grown every year (except a little dip in early 2020), almost entirely by appointment in our little shop, hidden off the street. We make everything from the most traditional bespoke suiting, to custom casual attire, all by hand in the U.S.I've heard it said that it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on something…. I’ve already put in twice that on this path, and I think it’s safe to say I’ve learned a lot in that time about what works and doesn’t work in the world of fine tailoring and accessories. Hence...
The Accessories and Ready-to-Wear Apparel Programs:
With that experience, we’ve developed what we think is the best collection of accessories in the world; and that hunch has been confirmed repeatedly by the overwhelmingly positive reaction from our in-person clients.Our approach is pretty simple: Use the best possible craft methods and materials, but update the styling in ways that still feel fresh—both timely and timeless—whether that’s a full-canvas sportcoat in a bold-yet-elegant pattern; goodyear welted alligator chelsea boots; a tailored over-shirt in fine Italian denim; or a fitted camelhair coat to last a lifetime.Our work has received such a positive response over the years in part, I believe, because we have tapped into the weariness of our society regarding fast fashion and the relentless branding of so-called “luxury” brands. We’re also not afraid to talk about “value” regarding expensive goods; we talk about longevity, versatility, and true enjoyment of the pieces we make, never conspicuous consumption just to show off. And we augment those objects with a celebration of experience and education—our approach has always been inclusive, social, and hopefully a bit of fun along the way.Here’s an overview of the products we hope to expand or launch in this next phase of our business (this is the beginning, and we have several other exciting potential projects in the works that we hope to announce over the coming months; honestly the best quick overview visually is probably to skim back over our Wildwood instagram account, @wildwoodcompany to see the kind of work we have been prototyping and starting to expand into).
Silk Ties, Bowties, Pocket Squares, Scarves, and more:
We have our own small-batch silks made for us in England, based on our own designs. We can then make up those unique silks into small batches of neckties, bowties, pocket squares, scarves, and more. And because those silks are then our own, we can also offer something we believe is unique in the U.S.: made-to-order custom sets of matching or complementary pieces for weddings and other special events (or even a “family silk,” to be commissioned by a family that we could make an array of pieces out of).
Suspenders (or Braces as the Brits call them):
We’ve partnered with Albert Thurston in England, the best maker of suspenders in the world—they’ve been doing it for over 200 years, including for every James Bond movie. And if you know me at all, I am fighting the good fight to bring back suspenders as the best tool for keeping trousers right where we want them. We do small batches of unique suspenders in a variety of fabrics, including our own English silks—and they’ve been so popular we’ve had a hard time keeping them in stock.
Knitwear and knit care:
We have always offered one-of-a-kind bespoke hand-knit sweaters (a prodigious labor of love) but now we are thrilled to expand that offering with small collections of ready-to-wear knitwear in fine merino wools, pima cotton, and opulent Scottish cashmere—each made one-at-a-time for us in NYC. Beyond those collections however, will be something we believe may be unique in the U.S.: The ability to select your choice of color, material, and style, and even make changes to fit, to have the perfect knitwear piece made just for you. We have extensive experience in knitwear design and care, and will also augment our knitwear offering with handmade aromatic sweater boxes and kits to care for our special knits.
Handmade shoes and boots:
A stylish array of shoes and boots in leathers, suedes, exotics, and more; all goodyear welted in Spain for us and built to last a lifetime. Because of the partnership we’ve built, we can create small runs of ready-to-wear pieces, and even custom one-off versions. The results have been very exciting (I for one have discovered an excitable shoe designer I didn’t know I had in me), and we can’t wait to expand on this program by stocking size runs in our signature house styles.
Shoe and boot care:
We plan to complement our footwear offerings with the highest quality shoe-care and accessories, like our custom aromatic cedar shoe and boot trees; shoe bags; shoe polish and suede care kits; elegant long-handled shoe horns, and more.
Cufflinks, buttons, lapel pins, rings, and other metalwork:
We have worked with jewelers to create our own designs of handmade metal goods like cufflinks, buttons, and rings—which have been received very well by our clients—and we can’t wait to expand our offerings in this arena to include a wider array of designs, and even precious metals.
Shirts and Over-shirts:
We have made the highest-quality custom shirts since we opened, but are thrilled finally to be able to offer small runs of ready-to-wear shirting as well. Our goal is to create small size runs of both classic dress shirts; small editions of fun prints and patterns over time; and more casual every-day tailored over-shirts in beautiful woolens, fine denims, and more (all with alterations included).
We’ve made fine bespoke overcoats and other outerwear since day one, but are excited to be able to start making small batches of ready-to-wear pieces—including the perfect proper Portland trench coat we’ve been dreaming of for years. We also have plans to work with an established U.S. maker of fine leather and suede jackets, and are eager to share more information about that.
We've always carried a very small selection of the highest-quality selection of belts, wallets, briefcases and bags. We plan to continue working with world-class leather artists like Takeshi Yonezawa, and also to bring in another established craft brand like Frank Clegg.
Hats and Caps:
We will make and stock a collection of classic fabric flat caps, and we hope to develop a program with a top-quality hat-maker like Optimo.
To complement these classic categories of menswear and accessories, we’ve always enjoyed offering in our shop unique objects of fine craft for the home and person that wouldn’t normally be found in a clothing shop, but that make sense when you see them all together; like hand-blown glass barware, or handwoven blankets. After nine years, it's fair to say we have a good read on what types of pieces are a good fit with the rest of our work, and look forward to offering this work to a wider audience.
A fair question might be: “You’ve bootstrapped things this far, why seek investment now?" Yes, nine years ago I naively dove in with nothing but our savings and a couple credit cards—and as any of you small business owners out there know, that is exactly why I now know better. But in all seriousness, I have been doing this long enough to know where the pain points are in growing what we do, and know how important having adequate capital is. Specifically, I know based on experience that we will need more capital to do the following: Designing and making more varied inventory in each category of accessories; a retail manager to help with walk-in client visits and managing inventory and shipping; some merchandising and packaging/branding (like elegant shipping boxes and wrapping papers); consulting on web design (we actually already have a Shopify framework ready on the back end from previous efforts at "dipping our" toes into e-commerce, but it'll still take plenty of work to scale it up to where we want to be); consulting on online advertising and then a proper budget for actually advertising, which we've never needed to do before; and photography and videography work, including recurring substantive conversations (in the form of videos, a blog, exact format TBD) about everything from fabric to tailoring techniques—our goal being to make our web experience feel as much as possible like the experience of chatting in our shop. I will of course be happy to go into greater detail on our specific business plan with anyone considering substantial investment.
Was there a Gofundme?
This is just a streamlined version of the crowdfunding page we started on the site Gofundme. They had some hidden clunkiness that didn't come up until after we launched, so we just moved it over here to make it simpler.
Above, I mentioned being entered into a drawing for anyone donating $100 and more. I’ll add more items to the drawing before it happens in early 2024, but some of the things included will definitely be:
Five additional gift certificates:
At least four at $100 and at least one at $500 (and I’ll add more to the drawing as the total pledged goes up).
Five “first dibs” passes:
for a private tour of Wildwood and in-person “first dibs” on all our new accessories in early 2024 before the e-commerce platform goes live, including a selection of a free gift.
Five whiskey experiences:
like a private whiskey tasting here at Wildwood or a private tour and tasting at our friends Westward Whiskey (and of course we'll be happy to swap something else if you are a non-drinker and happen to win this).
If there’s something else you’d love to see in the drawing or as a perk, let me know and we may well be able to accommodate.
Last but not least (especially if you've made it this far), thank you all—especially those who have already been a part of getting us to year 10 in the first place. What a journey, and if I don't say it often enough, I appreciate you all dearly for helping me make this dream a reality.
Very sincerely, Joe