I caught up with Eric Powell, founder of Colorado-based Ratio Clothing, recently about the impact of the coronavirus on his business.
Through Ratio Clothing, Eric has made made-to-measure shirting more accessible to more men. Ratio is one of my favorite digital native brands that are helping men dress sharp in the digital age.
Importantly, his terrific button-down flannel, oxford and dress shirts are made in the United States. I’m wearing Ratio Clothing’s Bradford Flannel shirt right now as I type this (and drinking a cup of tea while my kids, mercifully, play by themselves upstairs).
Here are Eric’s thoughts on the real and potential impact of COVID-19 on his business and community:
“Because we’re a custom clothing operation, there are unique considerations for us since our production happens continuously. We’re not selling from inventory.
“We’re working closely with our manufacturers to maintain service while remaining safe.
“Our website is mostly business-as-usual, though the team is all working remotely. Our showroom has switched to appointment-only with only one customer and one employee in the showroom at once. We’re also washing-hands and wiping down surfaces between each appointment.
“In terms of sales, both online and off, we’ve definitely seen a significant effect really starting in earnest the week of March 8. It’s difficult to know how long that will continue, but I suspect things will get worse before they get better.
Adjusting to the new normal and looking forward to better times ahead
Eric also emphasized he’s adjusting to the new reality. He echoed other entrepreneurs in expressing a spirit of optimism about the future, and is looking forward to better times.
“All of that said, we are trying our best to carry on and find a “new normal.” We’re excited about our spring/summer collection (rolling out over the next weeks and months) that’s our biggest yet.
“To any would-be customers reading this, if your situation is stable, I would suggest trying to find ways to support small and independent businesses of all stripes — your neighborhood restaurants, and also your favorite shops or online brands.
“It will really help and sales will find their way into the hands of the people that need it most (garment workers and hourly staff.”
Support small business
Echoing Eric’s suggestion above, I hope you will support small businesses like his if you’re able. If you’re wondering whether you can get coronavirus from a package, here is what the experts say.
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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