PaperCity Magazine

November 2014 - Dallas

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Page 21 of 63

WHAT'S IN A NAME. Mizzen, main and jib are the first three masts of a three- mast warship. The name is an homage to a classic East Coast lifestyle of sailing, with a touch of military imagery that an old sailing warship brings to mind. The first time I saw the words was unforgettable. It is hard to catch people's attention, and "mizzen and main" was something that jumped out at me. EPIPHANY. During school, I took an internship in Washington, D.C., and saw a man run into a meeting in a sweat- soaked shirt. It was something that stuck with me. I thought, "Why can't we make a shirt in a performance fabric?" I grew up in a world of golf, where performance Polo shirts were deemed unacceptable. But over time, that changed; people like Tiger Woods and brands like Nike and Lululemon changed the way we dressed. I wanted to create a moisture-wicking, wrinkle-free dress shirt in a performance fabric. So I started learning the industry on nights and weekends. I even learned to make shirts — actually cutting and sewing to make sure I knew what I was doing. After six months researching fabrics, we had our first prototype, in December 2011. REACTION TIME. The response from most people is usually something like "I can't believe no one has done this." When we started, the response from people in the business was largely the opposite. I went everywhere — trade shows, stores large and small — and they all told me their customers would never buy something like this. Some people actually told me I was crazy. But I think a lot of things that end up dominating our existence — from computers to cell phones to new apparel — have an adoption curve, and we started the curve when it comes to performance fabrics in menswear. There are always going to be people that doubt you, so we started the company with a website so I didn't have to wait for the industry to give me their blessing — because, honestly, they never would have. We are doing something that fundamentally goes against what they do. We're saying you all are using the wrong components; let's use better components to make better menswear. JUST KICKIN' IT. We used Kickstarter to launch our blazer, and it was fantastic. It helped us answer the question: "Do people want this?" For us to produce something new like this was a tremendous investment. Using crowdfunding like Kickstarter or Tilt allows young businesses to test the waters, because any decision when it comes to new products is a big one. To bring things to life requires a significant investment in time and capital. The world of e-commerce makes starting a business today dramatically different than it was a few years ago. My entire office for the first year of existence ran for $300 a month. We have used technology to push forward much faster than we could have even a few years ago. GREAT EXPECTATIONS. I'll totally admit I expected to sell out of the first run of dress shirts in a month. I expected people to just go crazy for it, because it was performance fabrics in classic men's staples that everyone needs to wear, so I just expected it to blow up. One of the big things I've learned is that "If you build it they will come" is not true. A lot of things that seem to be overnight successes took years of groundwork to become the successes they are today. It takes a lot more preparation, time, money and ups and downs than anyone can see from the surface. I would say nothing is what you think it will be. It can be much better, and it can be so much worse. We had things I thought would be great that bombed and vice versa. It just comes down to the reality that this is a fast-paced world, and there are tons of demands on people at all times of the day, so to catch their attention and get them to give you their hard-earned money for your services is infinitely more difficult than I ever anticipated. SWIMMING WITH THE SHARKS. Two people have been crucial to my success. One is John Baschab, my professor and advisor at SMU. He has been both a coach and support system and is someone I can call at any time. On a stranger note … Everyone tells me I should go on [the TV series] Shark Tank. Ironically enough, I've had a number of conversations with Daymond John, founder of FUBU and Shark Tank judge. I met with him about two months before I founded the company, and he really changed our trajectory by providing candid advice. We stay in touch, and he really means it when he says he wants to help entrepreneurs. He has provided great context and insight and has shared his knowledge of building a brand from scratch. BY STEVEN HEMPEL. PHOTOS SHAYNA FONTANA. TRUE MIZZEN MAIN THE B E A R I N G O F K evin Lavelle is a man on a mission. A graduate of SMU, he launched performance menswear line Mizzen+Main in 2012. The brand, which consists of classic menswear using performance fabrics, has caught the attention of big, bright names in the apparel world, with investors such as as Zappos founder Tony Hsieh and Astor & Black founder David Schottenstein, plus advice from Shark Tank member and FUBU founder Daymond John. The company has the wind at its back and its sights set on becoming the next great American brand. Kevin Lavelle inside his new Glass Street showroom I t was piñatas and tequila for all at this year's Mission Olé, which raised more than $200,000 for Trinity River Mission. The fabulous femmes chairing the 15th annual fiesta, LeeAnne Locken and D'Andra Simmons-Lock, welcomed a jovial crowd to One Arts Plaza for appetizers, tequila tastings (thanks to el Jimador, TequilaMe, Nectar Girl and Korbel), a live auction and the chance to win a prize by taking a whack at a giant piñata. A performance from the students of Trinity River Mission capped off the night. Feeling spicy: Honorary chairs Linus and Joyce Wright; as well as Nancy Ann and Ray Hunt, Anne and Steve Stodghill, Hilary Roberts, Baxter Brinkmann, and Steve and Linda Ivy. BY JANE ROZELLE. PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANA DRIENSKY, THOMAS GARZA. NOVEMBER | PAGE 22 | 2014 HARVESTING NIGHTS FULL OF MISSIONS AND MEMORIES C o-chairs Kristi Bare and Nancy Gopez planted successful seeds at the inaugural Harvest fund-raiser. Nearly 550 guests — a sold-out crowd — packed the newly renovated Farmers Market for delicious fare, cocktails and conversation, all to benefit North Texas Food Bank. Stations throughout the venue offered such palate pleasers as braised short-rib tortellini from Princi Italia, truffle-salt popcorn from Live Love Pop and cheese temptations from Mozzarella Company. Station hopping: North Texas Food Bank president and CEO Jan Pruitt; honorary co-chairs Katherine and Eric Reeves, Janet and Phil Cobb, and Ruthie and Jay Pack; and guests Ashley and Ward Hunt, Courtney Sinelli, John Terlingo, and Peter and Susi Brundage. Rebby Gregg at Mission Ole Karen Lukin at Mission Ole Tiffany Hedra Dolores Sosa Green Co-Chair LeeAnne Locken Barbara Daseke at Mission Ole Scott Ginsburg at Mission Ole Thomas Surgent at Mission Ole Ashley Ennis at Mission Ole Alan McBee at Harvest Molly Brundage Lauren Brundage at Harvest Joanna Clarke at Harvest Scott Houdek at Harvest DeeDee Lee Jim Lee at Harvest Paige Westhoff at Harvest Debra Nelson Co-chair Kristi Bare Co-chair Nancy Gopez at Harvest Amy Houdek Lynn McBee Lara Tafel Jason Rothstein Carmen Surgent Jim Pasant at Mission Ole Leah Pasant Jeremy Lock David Kiger Gina Ginsburg

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