The founding story of Tailored Industry can be summarized quite simply, give your customers what they want. Or, alternatively, you can get the long version. In either format the result is an on-demand manufacturing operation and software platform that enables fashion brands to precisely produce what they need, when they need it. (which oddly enough is practically a miracle for the fashion industry) The entrepreneurial backstory that proceeded this vision was the convergence of first hand sourcing and manufacturing experience, a bit of "give it the good old college try" naiveté, and esoteric programming knowledge.
Alex, our Co-founder & CEO, previously founded a collegiate wholesale distribution company that produced wayfarer-style sunglasses and Made in USA sweaters for over 200 colleges and universities. Early on, Alex was forced to make a decision about the supply chain. The factories that produced the sunglasses had very high minimums and there were virtually no knitting mills left in the USA. The few knitting mills that had survived also had high minimum order quantities and poor quality. This dilemma proved prohibitively problematic for cashflow, inventory management, and growth. As a solution, Alex questioned these industry norm and proposed a simple solution, "what if we did it ourselves?" He decided to pad-print the logos for the sunglasses in-house (originally in his parents garage) and eventually bought knitting machines to produce the sweaters internally as well.
After graduating from Cornell he moved the business to Brooklyn, where he expanded the company's operational footprint. This is where the naiveté comes in, but it is also when it got interesting and eventually paved the way for a pivot. Small contemporary fashion brands and even large apparel companies started contacting him about small batch production. As Alex describes, "both big and small companies were incredibly interested in the operation we had set up, particularly the knitting side. When we met with them, they all asked the same questions - what is your MOQ and how quickly can you ship the order?" Alex describes the light bulb moment simply, "what if we just give them what they're asking for, low MOQs and quick turnaround?" It was that initial customer discovery that eventually birthed the idea for Tailored Industry. But, it didn't happen until after Alex was forced to close his first business for lack of funding and until he met Kady a year later. Kady, at the time, was working for a 3D knitting machine manufacturer honing her skills in a Japanese programming language called APEX.
Kady, our Co-founder & COO, besides always having a taste for high quality clothes, knew that she wanted to do something that involved using her hands and geometry. After graduating from FIT, Kady quickly locked eyes on the emerging technology of 3D knitting. At school, she had heard of Stoll's knit-and-wear machines that made an entire sweater 3-dimensionally on the machine in one complete piece. However, Stoll wasn't hiring but Shima Seiki was. When interviewing for the position at Shima, the technicians asked her "do you really want to program and run equipment, you're going to get oily." A curious question for Kady, as she quickly replied "Yes, that's the one! The one were I get in the machine and get oily."
Kady flew to Japan for an intensive 1-month training and more importantly, came back to spend the next 5 years honing her skill set for the highly specialized craft of programming 3D knitting machines. During her time in NJ, she developed hundreds of programs for the industry's top luxury fashion designers and also assisted the production team run small-batch orders. It's from these experiences that she was able to develop a roadmap for the company's on-demand software platform, bringing to life the operational mechanics that make the business use-case Alex saw from his prior startup experience a reality.
Tailored Industry was founded to give our customers what they want, when they want it. Truly a supply chain that works for them, not against them. One that leverages technology to provide a supply chain to be proud of.
Alexander C. Tschopp
Co-founder & CEO
Previously founded a vertically integrated consumer goods company, which manufactured sunglasses and sweaters.
Co-founder & COO
Previously worked as a Sr. APEX Programmer for Shima Seiki NJ in production where she developed indepth skill set in both WholeGarment development and production management
Chief Financial Officer
Previously worked in mergers and acquisitions at various investment banks, while also actively investing investing in early stage startups.
Director of Technical Operations
Previously worked as technical knitwear designer and operations specialist at factories in Shanghi.
Director of Partnerships
Previously worked as Sr. Sweater Designer at Calvin Klein, Tory Burch, and many other smaller contemporary brands, developing a robust network.
Assistant Production Manager
Head of Post-production
Team Lead: Finishing
Team Lead: Sewing
Team Lead: Pressing
Team Lead: Quality Control