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Men’s Clothing Company Gustin Uses Crowdfunding for Good


Men’s Clothing Company Gustin Uses Crowdfunding for Good

Gustin dedicates profits from handcrafted aprons to restaurant workers

Crowdfunding has been like a superpower for Gustin. The men’s clothing company test-drove the idea through a Kickstarter campaign in 2013. The company, then made up of just two young guys, raised nearly half a million dollars in what became one of Kickstarter’s most successful campaigns.

The campaign went so well, Gustin maintained the crowdfunded model for their entire line of clothing. The San Francisco-based company does not begin making an item — say a pair of raw selvedge jeans or a Japanese cotton Oxford button-down — until enough people have backed the campaign to make it feasible. That means Gustin knows exactly how many of each item (and size) to make. Waste is eliminated and the savings is passed along to customers.

Now, Gustin is using that superpower for even more good.

Gustin’s latest campaign

Gustin, a solely an online shop, wants to help their brick-and-mortar neighbors by doing what they do best — by delivering American-made, artisan-quality products to customers at wholesale prices. The clothing company is handcrafting a new, California-made indigo chambray apron and giving 100 percent of the profits to the hardworking staff at their favorite mom-and-pop restaurant.

Gustin launched the campaign this week. Staying true to their crowdfunded model, Gustin has invited people to back the campaign. Gustin expects the aprons to be fully funded within nine days, then made and delivered in June.

Creatives helping creatives

Gustin, a men’s clothing company, is giving the profits from their new indigo chambray aprons to one of their favorite restaurants.

All profits from the sales will be given to the dedicated team at The Wine Kitchen in Leesburg, Virginia, a favorite of co-founder Stephen Powell’s.

“We’ve been looking for ways to give back to our local communities, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity,” Powell said. “The Wine Kitchen has been a special place to us, and we’re glad to be able to help the employees out during these tough times.”

After Powell helped his business partner Josh Gustin revamp the clothing company to be solely crowdfunded, he moved from San Francisco to Virginia. There, he and his family became regulars at The Wine Kitchen. The 40-seat restaurant focuses on Southern-inspired dishes using locally sourced ingredients.

“We’ve taken our 2-year-old a dozen times just because he loves the mac and cheese. We showed up there with our daughter when she was only 5 days old, and they welcomed us with open arms,” Powell said. “It’s where any date night or back-to-school night inevitably ends up, sitting around the bar chatting with the staff. It’s that spot that makes us—and everyone who walks in off King Street—feel welcomed and at home.”

Craft Cocktails Curator Jeff Berry
Jeff Berry, head fizzisist at The Wine Kitchen in Leesburg, Virginia, serves an old fashioned. [Photo by Danielle Nadler/Artistic Fuel]

About the product

Gustin chose to craft aprons for this campaign to pay homage to so many restaurant employees who have been hard hit by the pandemic. The apron’s lightweight indigo chambray is timeless and durable. The two lower front pockets get a classic denim shape. The upper utility pocket will be marked with a custom natural veg tanned Gustin X Wine Kitchen leather patch. Lastly, the custom brass hardware allows users to adjust the fit to their liking.

Whether you’re a home cook or a professional chef, the apron will serve you will.

Jason Miller, owner of The Wine Kitchen, said among all the hardship and struggle in the past month, he has seen the best of people, and this is just one example.

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“The Gustin team has created an awesome way to help support our staff. A purchase of one of these aprons will be added to all the help, support and kindness we have received,” he said. “We are grateful beyond words for Gustin’s assistance. We hope you can buy an apron and feel good about supporting a local business that plans to return the favor some day soon.”

A glimpse of Gustin’s website shows how customers can back campaigns and track which products are nearly fully funded. [Courtesy of Gustin]

Crowdfunded fashion

Just a glance at Gustin’s website illustrates that the company does indeed do things differently. On any given day, the site invites customers to back 75 to 100 campaigns. The products include men’s pants, shirts, shoes, bags, wallets and, yes, aprons.

Customers can see how close any of the products are from reaching full funding. The site also estimates when the products will be made and shipped. Most of their products go from fully backed to arriving at customers’ front door in about two months.

As the guys at Gustin say, “Nobody making premium menswear has ever done this before. The future of fashion will be crowdsourced.”

Learn more about Gustin’s story and check out their crowdfunded fashion at WearGustin.com.

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