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December 17, 2018
COREGAMI | Year in Review
Hey everyone! It’s me, Kevin.
We started Coregami from a tiny condo in 2015. My life was in transition. And I had just met a girl.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years since we took the leap.
So much has changed. Tens of orders have become thousands. Our team has grown. We’ve become better at design and production. In this past year alone, we’ve collaborated with the New York Philharmonic, New World Symphony, and some of the best performing artists in the world.
Still, the important things have remained the important things. As we pass our third anniversary, I’m happy to share that we are still (a) 100% bootstrapped (b) hustling to create the best technical formal wear the world has seen (c) proudly supporting our community of artists.
As an entrepreneur, teacher, musician and husband, I’m often burned at both ends of the candle. Yet this is the happiest chapter of my life. If you have a minute, here are a few stories from behind the curtains.
It Takes a Village
Since day one, we’ve been swimming in the deep end. There’s never enough time, money, or energy. Our production shop in Los Angeles was hardly keeping pace. We double-downed on delivering incredible customer service which is extremely labor intensive. Orders kept mounting every month and we were flying by the seat of our pants.
With every passing day, the picture was becoming more clear. I was the bottleneck.
If you are reading this right now, you’ve likely had some interaction with The Sumo. He’s in charge of serving our Community and a character that I’d like to imagine as disciplined, relentless, and honorable. Behind this caricature is a real person.
As we were growing our team, my buddy gave me a piece of advice. He said “don’t hire for aptitude, hire for attitude”.
After a long search, I welcomed our first hire. Since day one, he’s gone above and beyond to make customers happy - the hallmark of a servant’s heart. More importantly, he has allowed me to lift my head so that Coregami can better look into the future.
Building a company and serving a community is a team sport. Please help me welcome my good friend, amazing clarinetist, the trusted Sumo of our community - Brent!
Product Design : For Artists by Artists
Back then, the words comfortable formal wear rings like an oxymoron — like jumbo shrimp or plastic silverware. I still remember my tailor telling me in exact words -
“This is a tuxedo. You're supposed to be uncomfortable”.
For decades, product design is driven by "experts" from fancy department stores. They review sales data from prior quarters to decide what to buy in the future. In effect, buyers simply purchase more of the same styles as years past. Consequently, we have a bunch of outdated designs circulating the market. Especially in a guarded category such as formal wear - nothing ever changes.
In 2015, we broke the rules.
In frustration, we threw out everything we knew and started from zero. We started by listening to our community of elite musicians. We took an engineering approach to solving problems. Stiff and starchy fabrics were replaced by technical fabrics that stretch and breath. We challenged the old shirt patterns closely guarded by the high priests of fashion. After months of research and design, we developed a workable product. We established a new viewpoint, a new category - one which we call “performal”.
Today, Coregami stands as the only technical formal wear company in the world.
The patented, Gershwin tuxedo shirt was the first of its kind. Then came the Bernstein and the Coltrane that debuted at Carnegie Hall. At the request of major symphonies and artists, we released The Miles Mandarin.
We are Artists serving Artists. We see our products as solutions to problems. We see incredible customer service as a way to delivery those solutions. As we look into the future, we can’t wait to share all the new ways that Coregami will reshape the formal wear and serve our community.
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND
It's so important that we remember how we got here. Thanks for being a part of our journey. We will do good and we will do better.
Kevin & Team Coregami