I have to tell you, it’s looking like 2020 may be our breakout year.
When I first set out to build Bluffworks, I had a mission to improve my life and yours by making a better pair of pants. I remember doing little calculations about our potential success: “If we can just sell three pairs of pants a day, that will be $100K a year!”
We’re a good ways past that now. In fact, we just announced that our Original pants — the product that carried us so far — are finally going away. Get 'em while you can.
I’m thrilled — and deeply grateful — for what Bluffworks has become. And as 2020 shapes up to be so significant, I thought I would share a few details of what’s coming, how it feels, and let you in on one little phrase I use to keep my own dreams alive.
1. 2020 Achievements
Prior to 2019, we grew on the back of just a handful of products. Like… three.
But thanks to an influx of capital, all of this changed last year when we launched more than a dozen new products. (Horizon Vest, Field Jacket, Departure Jeans 1.0 and 2.0, Threshold T-Shirt, Ascender Chino, Piton Polo, Zenith Dress Shirt, and Eardley Cap — plus our first women’s products —Trevi Dress, Trevi Pants, Azores Blouse, and Threshold T-Shirt.)
These products were a success. But, even more significant is that our women’s line went zoom. Fabrics are everything for us, and our first release was driven by the materials that passed wear testing first. We are well into finding our core women’s following, and the next additions to our collection will be as versatile as our men’s line, supporting her entire life.
In 2020, there is much more in store...
2. Plans for 2020
Here’s a look at what we have in the works:
New Men’s Products. If I were to name the product that makes the biggest difference in your life — although there are multiple contenders — I’d have to put our blazer way at the top of the list.
So this year, we’re adding two new blazers: one fully lined and very lightweight formal suit; and a linen sport coat that is even lighter. They have all the Bluffworks Benefits: machine washable, never wrinkle, filled with security pockets and other neat features… taken to the next level. I think you’ll be impressed.
And then there’s the whole rest of your travel bag. This year we’ll take steps into all-weather gear, colder temperatures, and finally (your much requested) new shorts for spring.
New Women’s Products. Everything we’ve observed is that our female customer has the same problems and perspective as our male customer. Thank goodness.
Did you know that many notable brands, like LL Bean for example, started as men’s brands and became even larger for women? There’s a lot of opportunity here. This year, we will expand our options to offer more women what they want to wear for a life that includes travel.
Kickstarter. Kickstarter is sacrosanct to me. Which is why we only return when we have something very special to share; and 2020 may be one of those times. It would be a project in a new frontier, not related to what you wear, but how you pack and carry. Stay tuned.
Physical Locations. Studio Bluffworks in NYC was fully booked at the end of last year. We are working on reopening it, so you can come visit us and try on our clothes in-person. Look for an announcement in the coming weeks.
Maybe Wholesale. You ask us all the time: where can I try on your clothes in-person? For those who can’t get to NYC, placing our products with other retailers is a real option. For you, and a whole host of new customers, it would make it easier to find and try Bluffworks on in person.
3. Making it all happen = capital
In the midst of our capital raise in 2018, I shared how I fund Bluffworks and invited interested customers to participate in the round. Boy did you respond. A number of you joined us, and our growth is the result of you.
Now, we’re at it again — raising capital to take Bluffworks to the next level. If you’re an accredited investor who enjoys acronyms (like CAC, AOV, LTV, EBIT, etc.) and more importantly loves our product, I’d be happy to hear from you.
There’s a concept that people overestimate what they can accomplish in a short period of time (like a day or hour), and they underestimate what they can achieve in a long period of time (like a year). After years of hard work, 2020 is looking like the year we hit our stride.
Please let me know if you’d like to learn more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “2020 Investment”. (Under the SEC, this is not an offer.)
4. Hold on to the journey
Once upon a time, I wrote about how 27 of my big adventures were made small by the task of getting Bluffworks off the ground. I was so surprised that starting a company was that much harder than sailing across an ocean, or convincing my father in-law that I’m not a bad guy, and I had to put pen to paper to figure it out.
The thing is, as a founder it is my job to change — to evolve — more than anyone, from that early goal of making $100K a year to where we are today. Now you know why hitting our stride is so significant to me.
But, when I think about your journey, and whatever challenges our customers are taking on during their late nights and early mornings, what I’d like to share with you is this: I too find examples of things that make me feel like I come up short. For example, other companies that seem to grow so fast. In those moments, what I hold onto is this:
“Never compare your inside with someone else’s outside.”
Whatever you’re working on, make it yours. Nobody else’s journey matters. And you have no idea what they’re feeling. I just heard a podcast where the founder of a $100M company revealed they sometimes need a glass of whiskey in the middle of the night… you never know what’s going on behind closed doors. All that matters is you.
Wherever your own hero's journey leads, I hope our products are helping you along the way.
Thank you for being part of ours.
PS. People have asked, and I’m here to come clean that yes, I absolutely wear test our women’s materials and samples. Dresses, flowy blouses, pull-on ponte pants. How do I do this in NYC? I just do it. The benefit is that in the big city, nobody cares.