How Twillory Became a Leader in Quality Dress Shirts
At first online glance, it would be easy to simply dismiss Twillory as just another Internet shopping opportunity. Twillory’s website is so attractive that its lifestyle brand suggestions are almost subliminal. But Twillory shirts is a ready to wear online brand with a difference. In fact, more than just one. Twillory shirts have all the visual appeal of traditional men’s shirts. That’s because Twillory has history which dates back Austria where it was founded around 1892. That’s more than 100 years in the garment industry. Though Twillory considers itself a start-up because its new to direct-to-market sales, it has a manufacturing history which traveled from Austria to Argentina and finally to New York where it has its headquarters.
There’s also something very appealing about the company website itself. The focus on curated style offers wardrobe suggestions for business and casual wear. In an era when casual has taken over everyday life, it’s quite refreshing to see that a shirt manufacturer still has an eye for appropriate attire-because it really does still matter in many circles.
Twillory shirts have the look of higher end brands because they include design elements common to tailor-made shirts. Genuine Men’s Lifestyle Magazine may have explained it best in their product review when they noted the mother of pearl buttons and the way the second button from the top of the shirt is placed so that they shirt can be worn without buttoning it. Also mentioned were the two options for cuffs; including French or button, and the three options for collars; including button-down, spread, and cutaway.
When Business Insiders Picks team tested Twillory’s dress shirts to determine if their claim of being performance worthy was accurate, those who tried them out had much to say which was positive. They agreed that the shirts kept them cool, wicked moisture, and resisted wrinkles. They attributed the comfortable fit and superior on-the-go performance to the stretch material Twillory uses to make their performance dress shirts. The fabric includes lycra, cotton, and Cool Max-the proprietary ingredient which helps the four-way stretch fabric to regulate body temperature and keep professionals looking great. In fact, the team of reviewers felt that Twillory’s performance fabric allowed the dress shirts to feel like they were wearing T-shirts without sacrificing their professional appearance.
Several things make Twillory not only different, but a stand-out from other companies:
- Twillory created SafeCotton- the first formaldehyde-free cotton in the industry for its anti-wrinkle shirts
- Twillory sells superior brushed nickel collar stays which help keep shirt collars from curling. Many reviewers really liked these and recommended using them in other shirt brands that need some help.
- Those Mother of Pearl Twillory buttons are cut from oyster shell.
- Re:Purpose- each Twillory purchase is sent to consumers with a pre-addressed mailer bag to that they can pack shirts they don’t need. The bags are picked up by the USPS and dropped directly to Career-Gear, Twillory’s partnering charity. The clothing is distributed to the homeless, jobless, and those hit by disaster.
When Jessica Abo interviewed Asher Weinberger for entrepreneur.com in 2016, she got right to the point. She asked Weinberger how he started Twillory. His response was just as concise. He stated that Twillory’s founders are manufacturers and they decided to open their supply chain to consumers. It was a simple answer based on current views of manufacturing. It was a matter of saving consumers money by offering product directly to them without relying on a traditional retail model. In an Instagram announcement, Twillory announced that they had built their own warehouse to offer better customer service and avoid outsourcing. It’s this kind of time-tested attention to customer needs that has kept the best businesses in business for decades.
Weinberger also proudly, and rightfully so, stated that Twillory is the only company in the world creating non-iron dress shirts without using the carcinogen formaldehyde in the process. He noted that 90% of other manufacturers use it and consumers don’t know it. Another disturbing side-effect of using formaldehyde in the manufacturing process is that it breaks down the materials in the shirts and they wear out much more quickly over time.
According to Skift, Asher Weinberger is the CEO and co-founder of Twillory. Weinberger started out in finance, working in a cubicle, immersed in the Wall Street experience. He pursued a startup career in the green and renewable energy field, but that wasn’t satisfying enough. But his family had been in the garment industry for generations. Weinberger decided that he wouldn’t build his garment business in a traditional brick and mortar store. Instead, he chose to create a business which was strictly e-commerce using his strong online retail vision. He searched for a partner. Twillory President, Ricardo Goldschmidt, who Weinberger admitted was much older and had considerable manufacturing experience, became his co-partner and the two co-founded Twillory in its newest online incarnation.
Twillory’s President, Ricardo Goldschmidt comes from a long line of shirting business experts. His great-grandfather was the first of the line. Ricardo Goldschmidt is descended from Emanuel Goldschmidt; lovingly posted on Instagram in a perfectly tailored suit and quote “It’s not all about sight. A great garment must satisfy other senses as well; touch, smell and even sound.” Emanuel is captioned as “Twillory’s Great-Grandfather”. In another Father’s Day Instagram throwback, a photo of Alfredo Goldschmidt is posted with the title ‘From Our Founding Fathers” and his quote, “A true craftsman can feel in a fabric what a sommelier smells in a glass of Bordeaux.” Alfredo is captioned as “Twillory’s Grandfather”.
So, when the current company emerged in 2014 using innovative technology available today it became a winning formula. The goal was to provide men all around the world with high quality shirts made with an eye toward traditional substance. Joining Weinberger and Goldschmidt, Harry Cedarbaum and Eli Blumstein lead the Long Island business with what they term as their “trifecta” including “ambitious philanthropy, transformative technology, and manufacturing expertise”.
Others have joined the Twillory team. While Eli Blumstein was also a co-founder, his work as Creative Director has been present at Twillory since June 2013. Harry Cederbaum is Twillory’s COO and has been since July 2013, working to ensure that the brand offers “elevated shirting without mark-ups”. Joshua Weiberg has been Twillory’s Director of Production since 2017, and there are other talents, such as photographer Mark David and Customer Service Representative Elisheva Shapiro who have contributed to Twillory’s global success. A recent report by Owler estimates Twillory’s annual revenue at $5.4 million.
An integral part of Twillory’s success is tied to its mission of facilitating donations of garments to charity. Each of the primary co-founders, including Goldschmidt, Cedarbaum, Weinberger, and Blumstein, had already accomplished much in the non-profit charitable sector. Because they all agreed that they wanted to do more than simply make money, they worked to give back to the community. They also recognized the current trend in e-commerce marketing is the process of giving back where it is needed.
The co-founders approached the United States Postal Service and worked together to design a mailing envelope which would be included in every Twillory shipment. Each envelope is pre-paid and pre-addressed. Customers who have bought a new Twillory shirt can very easily donate one of their used or less-favorite shirts to charity. They just pack their used shirt in the envelope and send it off in the mail to Twillory’s charity, Career-Gear. Once the shirts arrive at Career-Gear, they are cleaned and distributed to low-income men to wear to job interviews. In the first three months of the program, several hundred shirts were distributed in the tri-state area. Future plans include establishing a charity partnership within the Orthodox Jewish community, while past efforts included donating thousands of shirts after Hurricane Sandy left so many in need.
Once the co-founders joined forces, they put their talents together to build the Twillory brand. They leveraged Goldschmidt’s expertise in sourcing and manufacturing men’s shirts. He had previously worked for upscale retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. His knowledge of fabrics was extensive due to his long family history in the garment business. He had been making literally “millions and millions of shirts” every year.
The team of co-founders put their efforts into preparing for launching their online store, but they also realized that they had to get people to their website. The way they did it was classic Twillory. They created a promotion using their “magnificently designed collar stays” and ran a social media campaign. Anyone who followed, liked, or re-tweeted their promotion would get a free pair of their high-quality metal collar stays in exchange for an email address. They garnered thousands upon thousands of emails and news about the new company spread rapidly. They learned quickly that many people just wanted something free and didn’t become certain customers. They paired down their list by more than half, depending on Klaviyo to develop a precise targeted approach to their email marketing. Through it all, they managed to keep a sense of humor. They offered edible shirt buttons for their April Fools’ email and it was one of the best performing emails they have sent.
Twillory produces millions of private label shirts for its numerous clients worldwide every year. Because they are a manufacturer the company understands what they consider an unfair retail markup structure. It has been uncontested simply because men need to buy shirts. In their own words, they know that some have called their new online only lean retail experience “disruptive”. But, regardless of the disruption, Twillory’s intention was to enter the online market with shirts offered at a fair price while keeping the highest quality available. Their encouragement to would be customers is a frank moto: “Shop Twillory: You’re Too Intelligent to Overpay”.
Even the name Twillory is unique. It has a traditional vibe which is also completely modern. Twillory is a combination of the word “Twill”- which is a fabric woven to have a surface with diagonal parallel ridges and the word “Ory”- which means a place where a particular function occurs. It took 9 months and 300 tries at different names before they landed on Twillory.
Twillory’s textiles are created using long-staple yarn sourced from Egyptian and Sea Island cotton known for high thread count and soft hand-feel. Durability is created using two-ply construction. The knowledge of textile factories and mills worldwide comes from the family history of manufacturing and close relationships within the industry. To keep Twillory’s shirts at the highest possible quality, one founding partner lives overseas and operates that office nearby their factories. The founding team knew that this would allow for close monitoring of Twillory’s ethical standards, production practices and environmental impact.
Founder Goldschmidt had played near his grandfather’s factory in Argentina. His grandfather had fled Hungary when World War II was ending. The Goldschmidt family had been fabric and clothing manufacturers for generations. When Ricardo Goldschmidt took over the family’s production facilities, he was still a young, twenty-something fabric manufacturer. What he knew from that experience was the importance of keeping everything concerning manufacturing in one place. Goldschmidt took on an expert based in Shanghai and keeps production costs down by weaving Twillory fabrics in China. The shirts are constructed there as well. Goldschmidt trains and pays the laborers very well so that the designs are produced correctly.
For anyone seeking to learn more about Twillory, it’s important to know that it has a parent company. Twillory is a trademark of The Haberdash Group Inc. Though the headquarters is listed as Valley Stream, NY and it is privately held at a single location, its categorization as a Mail Order and Catalog Shipping business tells much more of its story. In fact, The Haberdash Group has recorded several trademarks pertinent to Twillory. According to Trademarkia, these include Twillory, which was Live Circa 2013, the single-letter logo “T”, Live Circa 2018, and untuck(able) Circa 2018. The trademarks are all part of the emergence of the online retailer as its fans have come to know it. The trademarks also help to establish the undeniable link which reaches from the co-founders’ ancestors to the current Twillory leaders. Twillory describes not only the importance of fabric to the company, but also the idea that for generations the shirting business has tied the experts together as they worked their craft in various, yet specific places around the globe. It’s a clever name for a very clever company which has created an undeniably intelligent brand.