Combining century-old family tradition and modern thinking.
Photo: Courtesy of Twillory
Ricardo Goldschmidt spent his childhood playing in the shadow of the Argentinean factory his grandfather founded after fleeing Hungary at the end of World War II. The Goldschmidt family had been manufacturing fabric and clothing since the 19th century and Ricardo followed suit - so to speak - taking over a number of production facilities when he was in his early twenties. Today, Ricardo is 56 and he's about to try something entirely new: He's starting his own label. Along with Asher Weinberger, the entrepreneurial son of a friend, today Ricardo is launching Twillory, an online shirt store that offers high-end threads at medium-end prices. Ricardo says starting the site was the logical thing to do now that he can reach clients directly.
"Most people are either in the manufacturing business or the marketing business - not both," says Goldschmidt. "Go to a brick and mortar store during the week and it will be empty with guys standing around. We don't pay for that so we can provide quality at a fantastic price."
The price and the quality are both notable. Twillory uses long-staple yarns, which are used to create smoother fabrics like Egyptian and Sea Island cotton that provide maximum comfort and durability. The shirts are tailored without being overly so, and the fabrics are colorful without being garish. That's not bad for a brand that sells shirt for $75 a piece. The key, Goldschmidt explains, is doing everything in one place. Though the factories his father ran closed during the political upheavals that shook Argentina during the '90s, Goldschmidt still knows a thing or two about sourcing. With the help of a Shanghai-based expert, he keeps costs down by weaving fabric in China, where the garments are constructed by well-paid laborers he gives "the right" amount of training (enough so they can do it correctly, and not enough to copy the designs). Rather than hiring designers, Twillory focuses on fabric.
"I always say that designers are a double-edge sword," says Goldschmidt. "They know what they want, but they also want to show off what they can do regardless of whether there is a market for it."
Weinberger makes it expressly clear that Twillory, as a brand, will be defined by demand. "We want to give people what they want in a straightforward way," he says. "If they want less luxurious, we'll do that. It's about making the whole thing easy." It's easier to make changes when you're building shirts from the yarn up. By approaching the whole operation as a single entity, rather than investing in branding and fabric separately, the young brand intends to stay agile. The approach - inspired by companies like Warby Parker and Everlane - may be modern, but the point isn't to innovate, not exactly. "It's really Old World tradition packaged in a new form," explains Weinberger.
That said, the company will be offering at least one entirely new service. Every Twillory delivery will arrive with a pre-paid mailer bag that customers can fill with the shirts or clothes they no longer want and send back to the company, which will donate the freshly cleaned duds to Career Gear, a non-profit devoted to outfitting struggling men searching for employment. It's a graceful and efficient bit of problem solving, something Weinberger and Goldschmidt can get behind.