Nov 16, 2017 | By Lourdes Linares
Get more Denim insights as a WGSN subscriber
Jeff Shafer of Bluer Denim looks to revolutionize the premium denim market with the introduction of his transparently sourced “Made in America” denim brand.
Regular denim readers may be aware of the numerous Kickstarter businesses that have been cropping up in the denim market as of late. The crowd funded programs work on a direct business to consumer model that cuts out the middle man. By removing the cost of traditional wholesale/retail-industry mark-ups and other supply chain costs, these small start-ups are funneling those savings straight to the end customer. Paleo Denim, RPMWEST, Benzak Denim Developers and most recently Bluer Denim are just a few of the notable denim brands that have already emerged through this approach.
With over 20 years experience in the denim world, Jeff Shafer, founder of Bluer, has seen the changes that the industry has gone through. The loss of domestic manufacturing in America has been one of the biggest loses Jeff has noticed – “with production and manufacturing going off shore quality has gone way down hill, but prices keep going up because the model has to pay so many people. And thats a shame.”
With this in mind, Jeff and his team went about trying to figure out a model that could start to bring manufacturing back to the US, be profitable and some how be affordable to people buying their products. The Kickstarter program provided the perfect platform for Bluer, allowing customers to have a more direct connection to the brand. By selling directly online, it allowed Bluer to design and build goods in the States and charge much less than what retailers charge for denim made overseas – “We can work on our own convictions and be completely transparent our process.”
The reaction to the project was completely beyond Jeff’s expectation and completely surpassed the original goal by 250% – in one month since it launched in June this year. Since then Jeff and the team have been busy with putting the business model into practice.
In a quest to bring back manufacturing to the US, Bluer has sought to partner with the best manufacturer’s in the States wherever possible . The entire line is designed in Portland, Oregon, and hand built by their team in Los Angeles. All their denim features cotton grown in Georgia, Cone White Oak denim milled in North Carolina. Obsessed with details they use YKK buttons, rivets and zippers forged in Kentucky and patches are made by neighbours Tanner in Portland.
They also asked themselves how they can make the shopping experience as great as the product. On each purchase, customers are offered a free home try-on of three pairs, in the comfort of their own home and send back unwanted items for free.
One of the other goals Jeff had for Bluer was to become a global leader in ethical business practices – part of his commitment to the community. This has included eco-friendly ozone laundry processes, providing recycled and re-purposed denim to people in need, as well as strict corporate responsibility and a reduced environmental impact. Customers are also invited to contribute, where every pair pair of jeans they donate to charity, they get a discount on a new pair of jeans.
The current collection is offered to both guys and girls with a range of jean fits (signature selvedge featuring 100% double ring-spun cotton) in various washes and fits as well as jackets and jersey separates to compliment the denim line. Every pair of jeans and every jacket has a unique serial number sewn into the garment that identifies when the product was sold, enabling Bluer to honor their one year warranty. The belt loops are tucked and our back pockets are fully lined, just a few of the many premium details featured on the products.
Know what’s next. Become a WGSN member today to benefit from our daily trend intelligence, retail analytics, consumer insights and bespoke consultancy services.