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The Customizablog: Proper Cloth

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October of 2008 probably won't go down in history as The Greatest Month to Launch a Start-Up Ever. It also probably won't go down in history as The Second Greatest Month to Launch A Start-Up Ever. Nor will it go down as the Third, or Fourth, or 1,038th Greatest Month to Launch A Start-Up Ever. October 2008 was not a great time to start anything, much less an endeavor which required infrastructure, capital and inventory. But no matter, because while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was Slinky-ing its way to an 18 percent crash over a single week, Proper Cloth — a current leader in online custom shirt manufacturing — was careening its way through a self-described nightmare. From their Our Story Page: "We were not an instant success. The first couple years were particularly humble. We didn't come from fashion. We didn't have any contacts. We had a lot to learn. We made a lot of mistakes. We were bootstrapping with credit cards and small loans from friends and family. Our manufacturing was antiquated and slow. Our selection was limited. Our website was confusing." But Proper Cloth pushed on. They built up a network of suppliers, simplified their website, made that website look incredible, established long-term goals and decided that they wouldn't sacrifice those long-term goals for a short term boon. And they also started making great shirts from great fabrics with great patterns and great details. Oh, and did we mention that they have lots of fabrics to choose from? Like, 266 of them. That's almost 17 pages with 16 choices per page. Multiply that by the five collar options per shirt, then do the same with the five cuff options per shirt. Divide it all by one, because pocket choices, duh. Then times it all by 255, because that's how many accent (re: inside of collar/cuff awesomeness) fabric options are available. We won't do the math, but mostly because it's unnecessary. The only relevant answer to the weirdly placed word problem above, the one about how many different shirts Proper Cloth could make for you, is A LOT (in all caps, too). And they're pretty friggin' great. So great that GQ — basically the Paul Revere of mens fashion — called them "a go-to source for made-to-measure shirts for even the most discerning menswear customer… There are plenty of sites that let you make a custom shirt, but no one does it with the same sense of panache and menswear relevance like Proper Cloth." BT-Dubs, GQ isn't the only big-time publication that's super down with Proper. Esquire has raved about their shirts, Fast Company digs the personalization, and the New York Times (yes, that New York Times) has endorsed the brand heartily. The best part about Proper Cloth? The base-price of a shirt is just $89, and for just $105, you can rock this rad chambray-polka dot lined number we just made, using nothing but our minds and the easy-to-navigate Create-a-Shirt page at ProperCloth.com. $105? $105. Yup. We're into that.  

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