We are currently developing a chore coat from the ground up. The process hasn’t been easy and we wanted to start with transparency on what it takes to get a product launched.
Developing a product from scratch has been an undertaking. But in order to better share that journey, let me start the beginning: In the middle of 2019, Josh and I were developing the concept of Pedro and Tailor. We initially were going to develop the brand to be ready-to-wear, including a lot of hats, t-shirts, pennants, prints, and home goods. While we will still create all of those things, as we moved into the end of 2019, we started to realize that for us to really create a brand that celebrated our Latinx culture, we needed to have products that could be more specific to our story than only launching with T-shirts, hats, and home goods.
Josh and I have always worked in marketing and content creation, so stepping into cut-and-sew was something we wanted to postpone as long as possible because of the complexities of it. From tech packs, pattern development, fitting, sampling; not to mention production (whether we’d manufacture here in America or overseas) as well as trying to source fabrics, materials, and still maintain a positive approach to sustainability. It all seemed really overwhelming.
But there didn’t seem to be a good way around it. We had always known that we would eventually develop a chore coat and a guayabera, so at the beginning of 2020, we ripped off the band-aid and started diving into the world of cut-and-sew.
(Read More about why we decided on a chore coat )
If you’re not embedded in the world of product development (like us), it’s hard to know which way is up, so we started in all the wrong places. We started doing a deep-dive of what the best factories and manufacturers were across the world—we looked at what factories were top-tier in China, Central America, and the U.S. We started sending out inquiries to learn more—most manufacturers never responded. The ones that did get back to us weren’t available to make smaller runs. The others asked us for garments or tech packs to work against.
So we started the process of building out a technical pack. A tech pack is essentially an instruction manual on how to build a garment—if you were a kid that played with LEGOs, it’s a lot like the instructions—showing you the details, pattern mock-ups, methods for sewing, and the trims (buttons, zippers, etc.). A friend of ours was able to help us build out tech pack, laying out the details of what we needed.
Next on the list was fabric sourcing. What were we going to make this jacket out of? I had meetings with designers, seamstresses, and retail shops, trying to get as much information as possible. Friends pointed us in all directions for fabrics. We looked at Carr Textiles, Kendor, and others, ordering samples. We got fabric swatches in the fabrics we were excited about—reverse bull denim, canvas, moleskin. We tried to get fabrics that could be dyed as well as fabrics that would be fine as is. We learned about shrinkage. We learned about cost-per-yard. It felt like we were getting an advanced degree in product development because it was all an information overload.
But we still hadn’t decided on fabric—it felt like such a personal, intimate, daily used item should have a deeper tie to our shared histories and it wasn’t a decision we wanted to make lightly.
Around this time, we discovered a factory in Guatemala. They were a smaller studio and were able to meet our minimums, and the staff had experience working with brands (and people) like us: namely, people who were new to all of this.
On top of that, this factory had connections to a textile mill that was able to mill recycled denim and cotton fabric all inside of Guatemala. We got to feel some of the fabric—upcycled cotton, with a thick gauge, but also soft and versatile. Think of a hybrid between denim and twill.
It checked all of our boxes:
1. Made in Central America — an homage to the places we come from.
2. High-quality materials
3. Low Impact — Designed to last a long time, with factory and fabric only miles apart
So now we are currently in the sampling phase. We are working to get our first samples created so that we can start the process of revisions and continue the development of the product. Once we get samples back, we’ll also work on color development and consider what color options we’ll make for the Chore Coat.
Stay Tuned. We’re excited to keep sharing more behind-the-scenes about what it looks like to actually go from concept-to-reality with an idea as large as a menswear brand. Both in Form (product) and Function (brand identity), we’ve got a lot of things we’ve been working on and are excited to share.