While fashion isn’t exactly Austin’s main industry, several fashion startups have found success here. Some founders are trying to change the fashion industry by using technology to address the problems of typical retail shopping.
We caught up with several of these startups to find out how they work.
Maximus Box, founded by Wes Reddick, is a big and tall subscription service for men. “We’ve tackled an area that no one else is really tackling,” Reddick said. “This whole thing has been bootstrapped—we’re just taking care of business and working really hard.” Reddick, a former finance director for a Fortune 500 company, started working on Maximus Box in March 2016 because he wanted to help other busy men find stylish clothing that fit well and was reasonably priced.
LOLA (Live On, Love Always), founded by CEO Kayla Mendoza, mixes online, subscription and in-person shopping through their memberships. Memberships include benefits like free shipping and returns, and several clothing items per month for a set price. Mendoza worked as a funeral director before venturing into fashion at the age of 21.
Founder Kayla Ernst said she started Redenim in 2016 hoping to find a tech solution to shopping for jeans. Customers are on-boarded with an online style and size quiz, and then Redemin selects and ships three pairs of jeans. After trying the jeans on in the comfort of their home, customers pay for the jeans they like and send the others back within two weeks.
Founders Ben Munoz and Sidney Williams started Nadine West in 2013. They named the subscription-based, direct-to-customer women’s fashion retailer after Sidney’s wife Nadine. Like other fashion subscription services, Nadine West allows customers to keep the clothing they like and send the rest back for free. The company prides itself on keeping prices low and offering inclusive sizing.
Paul Hedrick, Founder and CEO of Tecovas, launched the direct-to-customer cowboy boot brand in 2015. “We’re a high-end boot company, meaning the quality of our boots competes with the most expensive ones on the market,” he explained. “But we’re priced competitively low because of our commitment to driving direct-to-consumer value.” Tecovas offers both men’s and women’s styles.
Chase Heard and Andy Stepanian founded Howler Brothers in 2010. According to their website, the inspiration for the name comes from hearing the call of the Howler Monkey in Costa Rica. The men’s clothing company is headquartered in Austin, but retailers all over the country carry Howler Brothers clothing and accessories.