When Alden Millar ’12 and Sam Miller ’12 saw a gap in the market for comfortable, stylish and affordable clothing, they took it upon themselves to found Stitchmill, their own start-up brand devoted to manufacturing high-quality Henley shirts in the United States. To fund their first large-scale production, Millar and Miller recently launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of raising $25,000 by Wednesday, July 8.
In just the first seven days of their campaign, which was launched on June 4, Millar and Miller have raised 88 percent of their funding goal. The campaign uses a tiered system, in which pledgers can donate set amounts to pre-order different combinations of the Henleys. Available for purchase now are a woman’s tank top and dolman, as well as a men’s short sleeve and long-sleeve shirts.
“We’re excited to produce the highest quality Henleys in the United States, and want to continue building our brand around the Henley style to own the market,” Miller says. “We have a lot of plans to create unique new styles, so this is a great first step towards the future of Stitchmill!”
Millar and Miller, who were first-year roommates at HWS, say the idea to start Stitchmill came from a discussion they had on the lack of clothing to fit their lifestyles “outside of the 9 to 5 grind.” While they thought Henleys were a great option, they found a gap in the current market for affordable, high-quality Henleys.
“We saw an opportunity to assert ourselves in the Henley market and do something no other brand has done before-devote our full passion and creativity entirely on the Henley style and bring classy casual clothing to a whole new level,” says Millar.
The duo has spent the last year-and-half developing the Henleys for Stitchmill and meeting with manufacturers across the country to get the company up-and-running. They’ve recently partnered with a manufacturer located in Los Angeles that will assist in their first production run after they reach their fundraising goal. They also spent the past year using their social media channels to build an “energized and supportive” community, who have also given them feedback to ensure they create Henley styles that appeal to their market.
The shirts are made with two unique fabrics – a supima cotton blend and a linen blend – created by Stitchmill to make their Henleys soft, breathable and comfortable and also more durable than those already on the market. Keeping with their goal of creating a sustainable product with a minimal environmental impact, the Henleys are knit, dyed, cut and sewn within a 10-mile radius in Los Angeles.
“Maintaining a low carbon footprint is very important to us and one of our driving factors for wanting to manufacture in the United States,” Miller says. “We both always had an interest in sustainability, and being conscientious of our environmental impact is something we took away from our time at HWS that we are proud to incorporate into Stitchmill.”
In addition to fostering a commitment to sustainability that stemmed from their time at HWS, Millar and Miller also attribute the liberal arts education they received at HWS with teaching them how to master a wide range of skills that have given them confidence through the arduous journey of starting Stitchmill. Even without fashion degrees, they say they knew they could “put their heads together and learn how to start a clothing brand.”
Miller and Millar also say that one of the things they appreciate most from HWS is their “amazing community of friends and family,” who have given them the support and energy they’ve needed to get Stitchmill off the ground.
“The tremendous amount of support we’ve received from our HWS family has been very encouraging as we embark on this journey,” says Millar. “Our campaign has gotten off to a great start, largely in part due to our HWS family and friends.”
In addition to their Stitchmill endeavors, Millar and Miller also both work full-time jobs. Since graduation, Millar has worked as a publicist at 360i in New York City, a leading advertising agency focused on Influencer Marketing and social media campaigns, while Miller worked on Wall Street for two years before moving to Denver this past fall to pursue his passion for entrepreneurship.
To pledge to the Stitchmill Kickstarter campaign, visit: http://bit.ly/Stitchmill.