Within weeks, the world changed, although the magnitude of the change won’t become clear for months. Mr Advani recalled a sign posted at the brand’s stores in mid-March that said it would reopen on April 1. “It turned out that April 2021 would have been ambitious,” he said.
At the time, the company wasn’t alone in believing it just needed to weather a storm that lasted several months before normalcy was restored. He put retail store staff to work on remote projects like sending gifts and handwritten notes to his best customers, and brought in the Paycheck Protection Program to pay those employees and its owners. It also started producing masks, which would eventually account for 13% of sales last year and give the company much needed cash flow.
By the end of the summer, the end was nowhere in sight and the company’s revenue was stagnant. “Every time I called an investor they would tell me, ‘Please tell me the department hasn’t gone bankrupt,’” Mr. Reese said. He trusted the leaders but, he said, “if you weren’t concerned, you weren’t paying attention.”
In August, the start-up decided to ‘stop betting on the return’, as Mr Amarasiriwardena put it, and reshuffled the company around new ideas: the idea that remote or hybrid working would continue. for years and that office dress codes would be. definitely loosen. The company focused on “sharp” clothing that could be worn in many different situations. He would continue to promote his scientific approach to unique clothing and fabrics.
A mad rush ensued. The fabric that was intended for the blazers was reused for the joggers. The company edited items that were already in production, inserting elastic belts where there used to be sewn-in waistlines and tapered hems on suit pants to give them ‘sneaker cuts’, while discontinuing costume orders. , blazers and dress shirts. The modified dress pants took just 30-45 days to turn around, compared to the company’s typical product timeline of four to six months.
The Department of Supply re-photographed all 200 items on its website and rewrote the descriptions, in an effort to “get rid of every pair of high heels, every brown dress shoe, every tucked-in shirt, every mention. office or work, ”Mr. Advani said. He renamed around 25% of his wares to make them more attractive to remote workers – dropping the “dress” from his “Apollo shirt,” for example.