The Team – January 2015

Most conventional wisdom tells young companies to ‘act big’, ‘fake it till you make it'; something we value at Blank Label is context through transparency and authenticity. With 12 people, limited resources are always a constraint to consider, and this filter permeates throughout everything we do. This affects how wide a merchandise selection we choose to offer, the number of locations we can be in, and most importantly the amount of dedicated attention we can provide to every customer given the variability of busyness day-to-day and month-to-month. One of the most challenging parts of our young company is deciding what we can do, and equally what we cannot do. In the spirit of context, here are the people behind the work we have chosen to do.

Benjamin Bernard / General Manager
– Boston native hailing from West Roxbury, been with the company since 2013
– Works with the retail team to serve clients in the Pattern Room, and implement projects to move the retail experience forward
– Super power is his ability to wear loafers through the coldest of Boston winters
– Photo: Back row, third from the left

Team photo

Rocco Carzo / Operations and Service Manager
– Relocated from Upstate New York in 2014 to join the company
– Works in our back-office team to keep garments rotating in-and-out smoothly, and deliver service to our online customers
– Super power is ability to say a lot with very few words, internally joking that he keeps himself to a daily word count
– Photo: Back row, fourth from the right

William Harper / Head of Operations and Finance
– Originally from Virginia, most recently from Kellogg, Northwestern, joining in 2014
– Either running or improving the ‘magic’ of a garment made for you being delivered in two weeks, and handling the fluctuations of an on-demand business
– Super power is his ability to imitate accents, with a particular penchant for outback Australian
– Photo: Front row, second from the left

Michael Kinlin / Menswear Specialist
– Another Boston native, has been with the company since 2013
– Works with the retail team to deliver an end-to-end client experience
– Super power is ability to communicate in grunts, moans and cackles, with people understanding perfectly what he means
– Photo: Back row, far right

Cheri Nelson / Menswear Specialist
– Boston native, has been with the company since 2014
– Also works with the retail team to deliver experiences that achieve fit, ease and quality
– Super power is her illogical amount of fast food to skinny physique ratio
– Photo: Back row, far left

Alison Romano / General Manager
- Joins from Connecticut, has been with the company since 2013
- Works with the retail team in servicing clients, with a particular focus around fit and pattern-making
- Super power is her appetite for fashion knowledge, from latest designer news to technical garment construction
- Photo: Front row, far right

Sarah Rubenstein / Visual Designer
– Hails from Rhode Island, has been with the company since 2014
– Works with creative team to continue to tell the brand story through content and photography, including all of our email updates
– Super power is a source of constant laughter, which creates a Hawaiian wave of laughter around the office
– Photo: Front row, second from right

Parker Simon / Creative Director
– Representing the west coast, hailing from LA, has been with the company since 2013
– Leads the creative team, overseeing product and merchandise, marketing assets, digital experience and company communication
– Super power is constant source of Lysol wipes
– Photo: Back row, third from right

Paige Sullivan / Menswear Specialist
– Our fourth Boston native, although joining the company from LA in 2014
– Works with retail team to deliver an experience starting from in-person and moving online
– Super power is email response time, goes through her inbox like a knife through butter
– Photo: Front row, first from left

Zee Sheikh / Head of Technology
– Another west coaster, joining the company from LA, pre-launch in 2009
– Oversees all technology infrastructure from website, to retail point-of-sale, CRM and database
– Super power is only wears striped dress shirts
– Photo: Back row, second from left

Davis Vanderlin / Merchandiser
– Our final Boston local, joined the company in 2014
– Manages merchandise and buying, runs product development which last year included corduroy, ties, topcoats and scarves
– Super power is constantly challenging Rocco to feats of strength
– Photo: Back row, second from right

Ready for the Cold: Limited-Run Flannels

Beat the Chill: our limited-run flannel shirts are guaranteed to keep you warm this season.

Flannel shirt

Update: This navy plaid flannel has already sold out. The two remaining plaid flannels in the collection are red and green. Both are limited run.

Update 2: We have updated the button-stance so that the bottom button of any shirt will be no more than 5″ from the base of the placket. This will ensure your bottom button doesn’t sit too high when wearing your shirt untucked.

 

The Last 5 Years

Welcome to Blank Label, my name is Fan Bi and I’m the Founder and CEO of this menswear brand. If you’re visiting us for the first time, let me catch you up to speed on what we’ve been up to. The company was started with a very simple premise: custom was better than off-the-rack, and if it were the same price, it’d be a no brainer. The name Blank Label was, and is, actually a rejection of paying for the extreme margins in designer labels, and furthermore needing to adhere to that designer’s beliefs. We believed in a world where fit was growing in social consciousness for men, custom would be a necessary and obvious solution. So began the journey.

2010
– 3 people
– online only, custom dress shirts
– really laying the technical foundation of our website and infrastructure of taking orders, making and shipping custom dress shirts
– highlight was a splashy feature in the New York Times

2011
– 3 people
– online only, custom dress shirts
– focusing on understanding how a person could most easily provide measurements and customize a dress shirt, i.e. still trying to take this non-obvious idea of doing custom clothing online and trying to make it easy
– highlight was launching version two of our online shirt customizer, which we thought were going to solve all of the world’s problems

2012
– 4 people
– online mainly, with some trunk shows, custom dress shirts
– looking for additional marketing and distribution channels as custom online only wasn’t getting the adoption we were hoping for
– highlight was taking our customer interactions offline via trunk shows and being repeatedly asked the question ‘where is your store’, and being in almost disbelief that we were trying to do this online only; (read: lightbulb goes on)

Muffin Top

2013
– 7 people
– online, permanent store in Boston, pop-up in Chicago, custom dress shirts and custom suits
– make a major expansion into brick-and-mortar with our first Pattern Room and start to aggressively build out technical infrastructure to support offline-online syncing, create training around in-person fit and service, learn in-store merchandising and layout, and develop a suiting program
– highlight was taking our first outside money which was a huge deal as it allowed some longer-term thinking as the company was always living month-to-month, and that other smart people outside the company (in addition to our customers) believed in us

2014
– 12 people
– online, permanent store in Boston, custom dress shirts, custom suits, custom topcoats, custom pants (chinos, corduroys), ties and scarves
– relocate to larger office and store in Boston’s Downtown Crossing which is more than double the space of previous office and store, continue to build out retail operations, major redesign of the online experience, new in-house tools including a custom-built CRM, point-of-sale and database application
– highlight was moving into our new home which will likely be our HQ and flagship Pattern Room for the next few years, as well as winning Best of Boston 2014 by Improper Bostonian

Boston custom suits

2015
- we’re excited for you to wait and see

Whether it be our loyal customers, curious visitors, future team members, or just people who are interested in how we run our young company, and those who are following with what’s going on in retail innovation, I plan on using this blog as a place to keep anyone who is interested up to date.