What I love most about my job is hearing about other people’s journeys into the fashion industry. I’m particularly intrigued by individuals and brands who have secured manufacturing capabilities in the United States and are bringing back classic American styles. One of these great companies is Concord Button Downs, located in Boston, MA founded by Dan Castelline.
Concord Button Downs initially came about from Leavitt’s desire to create a clothing line for Ellen’s Heart & Soul, a Massachusetts based nonprofit that works to improve the lives of women fighting breast cancer. Leavitt expressed this interest to Castelline, a native of Boston with an interest in creating traditional menswear clothing. Leavitt and Castelline are “best friends who are constantly fueling each other’s passion” and provide business support to one another.
At first, the two thought of creating a high-quality t-shirt line. But as Castelline prepared to pull the trigger after meeting with lots of distributors and graphic designers, he thought twice about how to differentiate himself from the rest. Castelline wanted to create a unique brand that not only represented the Northeast, but was also produced within the region. Castelline decided to shift the brand’s main product from t-shirts to button-down shirts... welcome Concord Button Downs!
The company is less than a year old, and has already exceeded Castelline’s and Leavitt’s expectations. Concord Button Downs produce 100% Made in America button-down shirts for men who are looking for quality, traditional, prep school look to complete their wardrobe. When I spoke with Castelline, we both agreed that knowing your demographic is only half of the battle to gain attention.
As many other new start-up apparel brands can relate, the other half of the battle is reaching out to a the right demographic of people who can buy into the brand’s vision. Castelline spends 25% of his time brainstorming ways to promote the brand to its serious customers and hoping the repeat customers will help in generating more buzz about Concord Button Downs.
(Note: If you recently purchased a shirt from Concord Button Downs and were satisfied with its quality and style, spread the word!)
I asked Castelline about what has been the most challenging aspect of establishing Concord Button Downs and he said “grabbing people’s attention and showing them the value of paying a premium for Made-In-America products.” Especially since Concord Button Downs is competing against cheap, fast-fashion retailers that offer (deceivingly) similar products at less than half the cost -- however, Concord Button Downs are made to last!
Each Concord Button Downs shirt is “cut and sewn in a Massachusetts mill using quality fabric and the finest tailoring methods available. Thus, each shirt is made to last, becoming softer with each wash and more authentic with each passing year” says Castelline.
Concord Button Downs are currently only available online, however, the brand is looking for retail opportunities for this coming spring so all interested inquiries are welcomed! In the meantime, I will be keeping my eyes on Concord Button Downs to see how the company transforms as it continues to grow.