Our first Anniversary

This time last year I was counting down to the birth of PinCollarShirts. Unlike most parents, though, I got to choose the big day and August sixth was to be the day PinCollarShirts.co.uk came into the world.

Like any expectant father there was a mixture of fear, apprehension, just a pinch of doubt and a huge amount of excitement. I’d long had an eye and a passion for fashion, but now I was about to take this a lot further and make it my life. After more than a decade working in IT networks for commodities firms, starting up a new label was a bold move.

12 crazy months later and here we are, celebrating our first anniversary; the first, I am confident to say, of many.  

Our first photo-shoot was held down at the historic dockyards at Chatham. This was one of the most fun days we’ve had and I think this came through in the images. One year on, we’ve now had a fair few shoots, formal and informal, but are still using a number of the photos taken that day. Davide Infantino showed why he’s is currently one of the best male models in the business, Laura Hayes did a beautiful job of stealing her scenes (or rather frames) while my brother Aaron and I got in on the act before being upstaged (as it turned out, not for the last time) by my new French bulldog pup, Charlie.

Just five weeks old and Pin Collar Shirts were off to our first London Fashion Week. I turned on the charm offensive and had a fun, informative, eye-opening weekend. 

Soon after this was another trip to the Far East. Before starting I had visited our factory in Hanoi, Vietnam, the makers of shirts for many luxury brands, and now Pin Collar Shirts. The second trip was for the Singaporean Formula One and a little beach-modelling.

Back home and I restarted my life-long love affair with London. Working and living in this great city, with its enormous variety of people and its distinctive mix of classical and contemporary styles, was the everyday inspiration behind starting up this label and I wanted (and still want) to celebrate this. After a few visits to different corners of town, I’m now left with just my own back yard (South London) to complete the London square. As it’s August the fifth, however, this will have to wait until early in the new PCS year.

As mentioned, since the first photo-shoot at the old docks we’ve had another half a dozen formal and informal shoots. While I’ve always had a reasonable idea of our branding, this has been shored up while trying out different looks along the way. Perhaps the best of these was our ‘Winter Sun’ session with model Deigh Alexander. Like Davide, Alex is another London model at the top of the fashion ladder. We’re very lucky to have had him wear some of our brighter threads for the day.

The New Year started (as it tends to) with a bang and pretty soon we were off to another fashion week…or rather two. January saw London Collections: Men followed the next month by the February instalment of London fashion week.  This is where I met one of my icons in the mens fashion game, David Gandy who kindly became one of our faces of the brand.

It’s now early August, with the September event showcasing the Spring/ Summer 2015 collections looming. Hard to believe this will be my third London fashion week with PinCollarShirts and fourth London fashion week overall. I’m starting to feel like a seasoned campaigner already. Like ‘dog years’ I suspect fashion time works differently from normal.

In November creative marketing and PR experts Katch held a press day, at which PInCollarShirts featured. This was like a live dress rehearsal for a fashion week, with me in multiple roles. Despite a few last minute palpitations, in the end everything went extremely smoothly. 

To top it all off, we have even sponsored a racing team. They are not quite Mercedes, McLaren or even Marussia but they race a classic Capri and are a bit of an underdog story just like us.

These have been a few of the obvious highlights in this first year. Of course, for any business, the day-to-day is often a very different story. While I’m no newcomer to the business world, I’ve learnt a huge amount about running my own internet-based label in the last year:

  1. Social media is even more important than you think. Facebook, Instagram, twitter, google+, linkedin and pinterest are all vital tools for promoting our pride and joy. We want to get people talking and, if you’re reading this, that means you too! We’d love to hear what you think about how we’re doing, so please do let us know your opinion on everything: our site, our branding, our colours and, of course, our shirts and other products.
  1. You need to be flexible in your approach. While it’s important to have a clear, distinct vision before launching, you won’t know all there is to know about how to realise this before you begin. Good research, analytics and PR will help you find and target the right demographic. Once this is done (and it’s always changing, so is never done) great customer service will help you hang on to your customers…though, I have to admit, I did know this one before I started.
  1. Keep your friends close…and that’s it! I’ve met a lot of great people this last year – from the marketing gurus at Katch to fashion bloggers, photographers, models, tailors, more tailors, manufacturers, suppliers and, last but far from least, customers. As I sit down and look back on the last year, it’s been quite a ride. If I’m honest there have been a few bumps along the way. Anyone who starts up a new business and tells you they didn’t face any hiccups in their first year either had an awful lot of luck or is just lying. Starting a new label is a tricky, risky business. Without all of your support and, indeed, friendship along the way, this ride would have been an awful lot bumpier.

Thank you all.

 

 

 

As always, please follow, like, share via our social links below:


Twitter
 @PinCollarShirts

Facebook www.facebook.com/PinCollarShirts 

Google+ google.com/+PincollarshirtsCoUk

LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/company/pin-collar-shirts-ltd


Carl Thompson
Carl Thompson

Author

Founder & CEO Pin Collar Shirts Ltd


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