Ezra Paul Clothing
I was born and raised in Portland, Oregon and always had a passion for design. Between my freshman and sophomore years in college I was waiting tables at an outdoor restaurant in East Hampton, New York. Unfortunately it was one of those stormy summers and I ended up not getting called into work most days, so I went into town and saw a “help wanted” sign up at an Armani clothing store. On a whim, I applied and and was hired on the spot as the stock person. By the end of the summer they had me selling in addition to my stock work and I found that I really enjoyed all aspects of the job. During the course of the next fifteen years, I worked for various other retailers in sales and management, including Saks Fifth Avenue in Portland and Washington, DC for six years. in Early 2010 I decided to pursue my dream of starting my own clothing brand and founded Ezra Paul Clothing. While I built the brand, I focused primarily on custom clothing – suits, sport coats, outerwear and shirts. In 2015 I started looking for a larger brick-and-mortar location in DC and opened the new store in April 2016; now focusing on both custom and ready-to-wear.
This loan is special because:
More about this loan
Ezra Paul Clothing was founded in 2010 and focused primarily on custom men’s clothing. After years of working in the clothing industry, I realized that most well-made clothing was fuller cut and most cheaply-made clothing was trimmer, but there were not many options in between. Men were forced to decide between cut and quality. As a fairly slender man, I could not wear the nicer brands, and while assisting customers, I realized this was a common issue. With the trend strongly migrating towards more fitted clothing, the time seemed right to fill this gap.
I currently manufacture my clothing in the USA and Italy using fabrics from Italy and the UK. Prior to 2013 I used several different American suit/sport coat/trouser manufactures, but I found the quality and production times to be very inconsistent and/or their abilities to be limited. I started to look more closely at Italy and found the factory that I have been using for the last 3+ years. They are a small, family run business and I have been very happy with their attention to detail, quality, and flexibility.
Shirt manufacturing has been easier to source in the USA and am currently working with a small factory that makes a beautiful product in a reasonable amount of time.
What is the purpose of this loan?
The loan will be used to increase the marketing budget. The store is beautiful, we have have great merchandise, and have an excellent location. Our goal is to drive more foot-traffic to the store and we’ve found that the best way to do this is via marketing, particularly online.
The funds will be used for search engine results, such as Google Adwords, direct advertising such as Facebook ads, and for optimizing placement on directory websites such as Yelp. We will also explore local print options, but the pricing is higher than online and the return on investment is difficult to track.
In the little advertising that we have done so far, we are seeing a much better return on investment than average for our industry. For instance, our last Facebook targeted campaign had over a 5% engagement rate versus an industry average of 0.5-1.0%. Similarly, we have experienced considerably higher than average open and click-through rates in our email campaigns, which we see as evidence that there is genuine interest in Ezra Paul Clothing and that the main hurdle is getting the word out. We can also see a sharp increases in Yelp and website activity in response to these campaigns, which shows that advertising is driving brand interest, which ultimately should correlate to higher foot-traffic. Many of the customers that ultimately make purchases have found us via Yelp or one of our ad campaigns, according to conversations that we have had.
Years in operation: More than 5 years