Monday, October 20, 2008

Goodbye Jameswinston Co.

For two years now, Jameswinston Co. has brought unique, high-quality underwear to the men's underwear scene. They have been one of my personal favorite brands and the only brand to get a perfect 10 score in my reviews. It is with great saddness that I inform you that the company that was Jameswinston is no more. The Jameswinston site will continue to operate for the next few weeks while they sell off the remainder of their line, but after that it will be almost impossible to find. So if you have not yet tried out the brand, I suggest you do so now. Also, if you join them (fill out the form on their website) and let them know that you are a MUB reader, they will send you some great deals and discounts that you can use in the last few days. Brian James, owner and founder of Jameswinston, best expresses the reasons for terminating the brand in his open letter:

Dear All,

Since October 2006 Jameswinston Co. has been a real labour of love - and a gamble. We idealistically entered the men's underwear market looking to improve the generally poor quality of contemporary offerings. With no industry experience whatsoever, there was 'always' something new to learn:- manufacturing; underwear construction; branding; PR, web-design; photography; dealing with retailers, magazines etc. It was also a sector that was exponentially more complex than it first appeared. And we were tackling all of this for the very first time...

We were lucky to receive some great support along our journey; from our manufacturing and packaging companies, through to international magazine editors and forward-thinking retailers. Crucial to our early (and continued) survival were the internet underwear blog sites who kept us 'treading water' while we went through an unbelievably steep learning curve.

Coming back for a third time in Apr '08 was in essence, to prove a point; that a small brand, with enough experience and talent, could do the ‘impossible’ :- i.e. innovate creatively and product - wise to a level above the most successful global competitors…and make it seem almost easy. Ironically, that success in itself became a disadvantage. We observed well - established underwear brands follow the lead of our design elements (e.g. check the number of single, centralised logos on brand waistbands these days) while they, alongside magazines, wider media and even renowned pro - photographers, took direct inspiration from our marketing / visual ideas…ideas many of you told us were amongst the most cohesively creative seen in any brand. Our far from market - leader status made for incredible frustration when we couldn’t adequately capitalise commercially and subsequently remained widely unacknowledged for that influence.

So, we’ve struggled through market naivety and higher than anticipated initial investment costs, especially those of an unscrupulous yet low on creativity, early web-designer .... In addition, the ‘hits’ taken by all start-ups when they make mistakes are multiplied tenfold in this particular market sector. Well now, and off the back of our most successful trading period by far, we’ve decided to bow out. As put simply, if we can’t get near the operational / financial set-ups of the larger players, everything we do next (in this ‘crunch’ dampened economy) will become a monumentally thankless task. Not great timing, admittedly, as there was so much more to come with our new styles and designs.

Ultimately, it’s of regret our small size and costly, early mistakes were the only obstacles to creating an enduring, competitive brand. And while ‘living the dream’ was often more akin to a nightmare, for four short months (Apr - Aug '08) our unique new range innovations were an incredible sell - out success. That meant we actually became ‘the undergarment of choice’ for a damn good few of today’s males worldwide. I think we can call that mission accomplished...

Sincerely,


Brian James - Director

Jameswinston (Underwear) Co. Ltd

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Although the JamesWinston site may be closing in a few weeks www.deadgoodundies.com will continue to stock the brand until stocks run out

UMan said...

Yes, this is true, and I'm sure that all the other stores that stock Jameswinston will also continue to sell it until their stock runs out.