Learn from Ministry of Supply co-founder and CEO Aman Advani about his team’s efforts to produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Boston Medical Center and lean into long term investments in the face of the coronavirus.
About Ministry of Supply
Founded in 2012 out of MIT, Ministry of Supply makes performance professional wear.
That means the company incorporates technical fabrics engineered to do things like wick moisture and inhibit odor into business and office-appropriate attire.
Ministry of Supply was at the forefront of applying athleisure to professional and business casual clothing. It turns out they make nice Zoom shirts for Work-from-Home video conference calls as well.
They’re a great example of an innovative, direct-to-consumer brand helping men dress sharp and live well in the digital age.
In an earlier interview, Aman described to me Ministry of Supply’s appeal:
With the rise of athleisure, people today have grown accustomed to performance clothing in the gym or on the trail, but don’t usually find the same functionality in their clothing on their commute, at their desks or during big meetings.
That’s where Ministry of Supply comes in: we’re using the latest in tech and science to create versatile, high-performing and sustainable clothing. So, to someone who’s never tried high-performing clothing before — we’d tell you once you try it, you won’t go back!”
I followed up with Aman to ask about the impact of the coronavirus crisis on Ministry of Supply.
“The impact has been dramatic”
Aman told me that, “the impact has been dramatic.”
That impact started with Ministry of Supply shuttering its six physical stores the moment the crisis became clear.
We’ve seen our ecommerce business take a hit too, as general uncertainty with the economy and of course disaster prep are taking mindshare. Purchasing clothes built to wear out-of-the-home isn’t exactly top of mind.
Shifting focus to long term investments and short term COVID-19 response
“That said,” he told me, “we’ve kept the entire team busy (and employed) by shifting our focus.”
It’s heartening to hear Aman say that Ministry of Supply is leaning into long term investments, rather than pulling out of them.
It’s even more heartening to hear about how Ministry of Supply is helping first responders in the short-term:
Aman flagged that, “we’re doing our part to help through the crisis by producing, procuring, and donating tens of thousands of facemasks (3D printed at our factory!) and N95-equivalent respirators.”
Head over to Ministry of Supply’s website and you’ll see “Masks” at the top. There, you’ll have the opportunity to donate directly to MoS’ mask efforts.
“We’ve spent the lion’s share of our time focused on PPE, and in particular using our “3D Print-Knit” approach to make face-masks,” Aman added.
You can dig deeper to learn more about their mask production techniques via Ministry of Supply’s blog.
Ministry of Supply are donating PPE, largely to Boston Medical Center in their hometown.
Update: Ministry of Supply is now selling reusable, washable face masks with filters to the public.
If you’re looking for other options for washable facemasks for personal use, check out this guide.
Adjusting messaging around Working from Home
One increasingly common thread emerging from the direct to consumer brands that I’ve interviewed about their response to COVID-19 is their shift in messaging to meet the needs of people working from home.
Jon Shanahan of men’s skincare line Stryx told me that his business pivoted to emphasizing how their products can help men look their best working from home and sales have returned to pre-crisis levels.
Wylie Robinson shifted his innovative blanket and gear company Rumpl’s messaging to emphasize the comfort and security that their products instill.
For Ministry of Supply, Aman said that, “we’ve shifted our merchandising approach to highlight the large part of our collection that’s great for working from home.”
Ministry of Supply has developed a landing page dedicated to Work from Home essentials.
The company is also producing a series of content under the banner “The Home Work,” with tips for staying connected, productive and sane while working from home.
Support small and independent businesses like Ministry of Supply
If you are able to support Ministry of Supply during this time, it’s a great opportunity to upgrade your Work-from-Home wardrobe, or stash away some pieces you’d like to wear once the office opens again. (Because that’s going to happen. Sometime. Right?)
You’ll find a men’s and women’s Work From Home collection on their site. It includes dress shirts that feel like t-shirts, and blazers that are both comfortable and will look great on your next video chat.
In my prior interview with Aman, he suggested newcomers to the brand try out the company’s breathable, wrinkle-resistant Apollo dress shirt, which is made with NASA phase change materials and regulates your core temperature.
You can feel good knowing that Ministry of Supply has joined the Brands for Better coalition of companies. Brands X Better is a group of companies coming together to pledge to support COVID-19-related causes and deliver additional value for their customers.
As part of the Brands for Better coalition, Ministry of Supply is committing to donate 2% of sales to support Boston Medical Center.
For other ideas to support small and independent businesses, try upgrading your leather sneakers with these innovative brands, explore other work from home options featuring performance fabrics for men and women, or research blue light blocking glasses to combat all of that extra screen time.
Photo credits: All photos courtesy of Ministry of Supply.
About JakeJake is passionate about exploring entrepreneurs' global journeys. He founded Modern Fellows in 2012 to get to know the entrepreneurs behind the innovative brands helping men dress sharp in the digital age. Jake has written about entrepreneurship, international business and/or fashion for outlets including Business Week, Forbes, Inc., Details Style Syndicate and Primer Magazine, and has provided analysis on international business for BBC Radio, NBC News, CNN and Time Magazine.
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