Introduce your business and tell us your story: How did you decide on what to sell, and how did you source your products?
Crawford Denim and Vintage Co. is a hand-crafted, small batch denim brand in which our family legacy lives through the simplicity of the designs. We started our career working in American factories to help create clothing for iconic brands and learned the trade from true craftsmen. With Crawford Denim, we are proud to return to our roots of using goods made in the USA, manufacturing our blend of artisanal clothing in Southern California. All of hand-crafted denim and apparel is made locally in Southern California using USA made fabrics, trims and labels. We also use limited edition dead-stock fabrics that would otherwise be sent to landfills. Our Vintage Collection is a curated selection of rare finds and unique items that have influenced our designs. The styles are a reflection of our history, our story and the way we choose to mix the present with the past.
How did you earn your first sales? Which channels are now generating the most traffic and sales for you?
Crawford Denim's first sales were prompted from Instagram; we chronicled the process of our hand-crafted denim being designed, sourced and manufactured leading up to the store opening. Tumblr was also a great initial source to engage customers drawn in by the photos featuring our friends as models, showing how they really wear our denim and apparel. Our Tumblr was highlighted as one of the top denim blogs by a prominent apparel trend forecasting company generating a lot of buzz about the brand at the start.
Instagram continues to be the best channel for sales. Most of the boutique retailers are referred to Crawford Denim through Instagram connections. From social media, Crawford Denim was selected as a small maker to develop a style for Robert Mondavi Private Selection, using wine in a unexpected way for the winery's annual collaboration. The Vintner's Denim Shirt & Artisan Bandana has been dyed using their Heritage Red Wine and part of the oak barrel used to age the wine is incorporated as a trim.
Tell us about the back-end of your business. What tools and apps do you use to run your store? How do you handle shipping and fulfillment?
MailChimp integration has been ideal, allowing folks to sign up for the newsletter to stay up to date with the latest releases. The reviews app has been great giving voice to customers' comments specific about the fit of the styles. Other potential clients can refer to the reviews to select the right fit for their body type. All of Crawford Denim's hand-crafted and vintage styles are shipped directly from the studio in Manhattan Beach, California. The pieces are personally packed in re-usable muslin bags with a postcard featuring our pals wearing the denim and apparel, a little slice from our Lookbook. Additional inventory is stored at the family ranch, also home to several chickens, a pair of donkeys and loads of winding roads for a great motorcycle ride.
What are your top recommendations for new store owners?
Investing time in great photos is the key to attracting customers. All of our retailers use the product photos when listed in their own stores. In our Lookbooks and social media posts we showcase the talents of our friends both in front and behind the lens. Featuring our product as they wear it naturally promotes both the Crawford brand and our California lifestyle.