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Two Lawyers Make Motion in Favor of Apparel

Two Lawyers Make Motion in Favor of ApparelDavid Solomon and Richard Schwartz, two former colleagues at aManhattanlaw firm, were looking for an entrepreneurial opportunity on which to collaborate. They often had bemoaned the state of the law and of the American lawyer and both yearned for a new and challenging venue that would allow for independence and creativity. When in early 2011 they settled on fashion as a potential avenue, they were torn between two ideas: one, a hip t-shirt and hoodie line; the other, an Anglophilic baby and toddler offering. Not being faint of heart, they instead decided to go for it and developed both lines simultaneously, financing the costs entirely by themselves.

As practicing attorneys able to minimize the legal and filing expenses usually associated with starting a new venture, the duo committed to launching their two businesses – Plumley’s Togs (www.plumleystogs.com) and Wainwright’s MonkeyButlerAcademy (www.wainwrightsacademy.com) – under the umbrella of their holding company, Omnium Ventures LLC. There would be, however, much to do before these enterprises came to full fruition, and Messrs. Schwartz and Solomon were operating on a shoestring budget that was tight on moneyand, because the two continued their workas attorneys inNew York, limited on available time.

They first brainstormed the initial designs for the two lines, and, after establishing a clear vision for both, they sought out artistic and graphic design assistance. Because the company had to keep costs down while getting the best value for the founders’ precious dollars, Solomon and Schwartz looked to freelancers in unusual places.

Two Lawyers Make Motion in Favor of ApparelHaving discovered that the cost of talented artistic and graphic design support domestically would be cost-prohibitive to their endeavors, the duo quickly found an artist in South America and a graphic designer inEastern Europewho were willing to work with them. Through a combination of broken English, liberal use of Google Translate and a healthy dose of patience, they were able to obtain dazzling work product on a shoestring budget. As their product designs took shape, the time came to investigate design of the websites that would allow them to sell their unique fashion offerings to the public.

After frustrating but necessary trial-and-error with different providers, the pair settled on hosting their websites with Volusion. However, in order to effectuate the subtle changes to templates and add the custom colors, designs and images that would make their websites “pop” required knowledge of programming language HTML. Hiring outside help would have broken the bank and busted their budget, so Solomon instead taught himself the basics of programming in the computer language so he could make the changes himself. Along with eye-catching graphics from their freelance designer, their online presence was rounding into form beautifully.

In terms of raw materialsand production processes, Schwartz and Solomon had a lot to learn; about blanks, hand, halftones and other industry terms and standard operating procedures. Fortunately, with enough online research and legwork, they were able not only to secure wholesale prices for their shirt “blanks” but also to obtain competitive deals after a time-consuming survey of screen printers around the country. After printing samples that met their exacting standards, they were ready to go to press on their product lines.

Prior to launch, the partners were in for a valuable lesson in what owning a small business is really like. And so, laden with cartons of freshly-printed garments and hangtags as well as rolls of polyethylene bags and armed with pistol-like tagging guns, they invaded Schwartz’s living room. There, literally for days, they attached custom hangtags, folded clothes, packaged them into sealed bags, affixed SKU numbers, sorted the packets by size and color, securely re-packed them, and inventoried the lot, all to prepare the merchandise for its eventual shipment to their fulfillment house in Michigan; again, the result of extensive research for the best prices and service. After much sweat and toil, the stock was on its way, and the pair’s year-long journey from inception of a business to official launch was nearly complete.

Two Lawyers Make Motion in Favor of ApparelThe partners now faced the task of promoting their businesses. Of course they would be utilizing Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest and other social media methods of spreading the word, including emails to friends and family. However, they wanted more official coverage – but without the steep pricetag. They were able to find several free press release services and issued press statements about the launches. In addition to the internet search benefits of having these releases come up when related terms were entered into a search engine, the releases themselves were picked up by a number of fashion and clothing manufacturing outlets and redistributed around the globe, as far away asChinaand theMiddle East.

The merchandise retail websites were officially launched on June 25, 2012, and sales have been promising so far. Both lines have expansion planned for the immediate future, with new designs, colors, sizes and offerings forthcoming in the next few months. Solomon and Schwartz, along with their outsourced design and graphics team and their US-based printers and fulfillment house, are very excited about the growth potential of the businesses. At this point, the duo believe that visibility of the products is the only substantial obstacle to their success.

“The products themselves are, modesty aside, of a very high quality,” said Solomon. “We’ve had very good feedback from people who have the merchandise. We truly maintain that the only thing keeping these businesses from achieving all our goals for them is getting them in front of the eyeballs of more consumers.”

The entrepreneurial duo continues to work diligently on the lines, including new designs and marketing, in addition to their separate professional work. Though their aim is for stores or boutiques to carry their wares, they believe that a brick and mortar presence is not necessary for the success of the endeavors. They believe in the products and the ideas behind them, as they did over a year ago when they first began their journey toward being clothing entrepreneurs.

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