Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it. -Greg Anderson
Building a men’s wear brand from the ground up with no previous experience in fashion or manufacturing is a tall order. Befriend vendors, learn about fabric, trim, cut and sew, dye process, finishing, fit tests. Make tons of mistakes. Learn a lot more. Make 2000+ shirts and hoodies after slaving, dreaming and obsessing over fabric, fit and quality. Learn about fulfillment, fulfillment software, creating your own warehouse, building your own warehouse, creating processes and efficiencies around shipping. Fulfill 563 Kickstarter orders.
Stylistically, I wanted Pistol Lake to represent a classic style, something timeless. Steve McQueen meets old-school varsity threads and a hint of Post WWII Americana. The branding, packaging design and voice needed to reflect the vintage nature of the company and its California beginnings. Something warm and laidback, I refused to ever consider wrapping the clothes in plastic poly bags. Instead, all brown kraft paper, twine, and a hand-stamped finishing and a note from us.
We needed to test market viability, so we started with a Kickstarter campaign. What resulted was not only a successful backing of $51,712, but also setting the record for the fastest growing fashion Kickstarter in 2012.
Our first fabric production order, first stockroom in our DTLA studio and fulfilling all the Kickstarter orders.
In late 2013, we started our self-crowdfunded campaign featuring a henley, hooded long-sleeve shirt and a lightweight zip hoodie. This second campaign on PistolLake.com brought in $55,000+ in pre-sales and unsolicited PR and press.
The “johnny collar” shirt
Mid-2014, we expanded into a bigger warehouse space to accommodate the new styles from our second crowdfunded campaign.
Restocking inventory at the warehouse
Late-2014, I designed the storefront web presence and shot photography for PistolLake.com on the Shopify platform and our store officially opened with inventory.
Also in late 2014, we started developing several styles for the new french terry material. Here, you’ll see the different stages of the sweatshirt, from sketch to finished product.
I shot and edited a video lookbook of the french terry line we produced.
Various tags and labels I designed
Some street marketing I did one afternoon outside our old warehouse to drum up attention. If you’re familiar with the intersection of La Cienega & Jefferson, you know that it gets heavy traffic and is visible from the Metro train. The ROI was immediate as we soon started seeing tweets, texts from friends and friends of friends, Instagram posts and purchases attributed to the signage as it was going up that very afternoon. Cost: $80 for paint and tools.
My sketches from a bag design I was developing
“Adventure shorts” pattern and sketches
Shooting a promo video for the adventure shorts
Rough cut of the promo video – shot and directed by Devon Patterson
Press Mentions & Features
Snapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy in a Pistol Lake henley