Posted by Maurice Malone on 20th Oct 2018
Becoming the go-to-brand for true quality Big and Tall jeans
Before 2014, big and tall men seeking really good quality, modern fit denim, meant expensive custom tailoring or locating bespoke denim makers. Ever since denim enthusiasts started finding our brand, request and inquiries for sizes became larger and larger. As the owner of another brand that previously sold well at big and tall chains, I was very familiar with fits and the market for guys who wanted fashion in sizes 40 plus.
Soon after we moved the WGC production from China to the U.S., we were offering up to size 42, while most of the American made premium denim market maxed out at size 38. Guys that saw we offered size 42, asked if we would do size 44? Speaking to customers over the phone, while running a one-man brand, guys became elated after I’d inform them that I would bump up the sizing in the next production. I did some research to see who offered better big jeans and found no one. I mean, the chains were offering designer branded plus sizes, but the fits were horrible and nearly every jean I found was made in inferior denim overseas. I quickly realized there was a solid market not being serviced.
Soon after we moved our production from China to the U.S., we were offering sizes up to 42, while most of the American made premium denim market maxed out at waist size 38. We began offering 38-inseams in waist sizes 34 to 36. Guys that saw we offered size 42, asked if we would do size 44? We also found that there were mom’s looking for jeans for tall boys and expanded the minimum waist from 34x38, down to 32x38.
Running a one-man brand, I spoke to a lot of tall and big fellas. They would tell me their denim issues and would become elated with my choice to help solve them. I would often research to see who else offered better big men’s jeans, and found the market lacked what we offered. The big chains offered designer branded plus sizes, but the fits were horrible and nearly every jean I found was made in inferior denim overseas. I quickly realized there was a solid market not being serviced.
In the Spring of 2014, we began offering Custom-Made-To-Order sizes, allowing orders in any waist size or inseam length before we cut production. Before we knew it, the sizes were all over the place. Dealing in small volumes, it became expensive and upset manufacturing vendors.
"Our customers don’t buy raw denim and aren’t interested in better quality jeans"
By our second production, our max size grew to 48 waist and long 40-inch inseams. We then streamlined our offerings. Big Guys called and wrote us, expressing thanks.
We knew we were on to something and decided to contact the big and tall chain stores. No one returned our calls. Finally, we talked to a buyer who told us, “Our customers don’t buy raw denim and aren’t interested in better quality jeans.”
We offered to send samples for review, he said, “don’t bother.” We asked the buyer to look at our website. He said, “I won’t look, I don’t have the time.”
That conversation ended being great for our business. I felt these guys didn’t get it, so I never called on another big and tall retailer again. A few years later, some retailers have begun to offer slim fits, however, I think quality is still on the low-end, with most jeans being imported and made in inferior fabrics.
In denim, we’re solving problems for fashion forward big and tall men
Our extended sizes continue to sell strong. We can’t keep size ranges fully stocked, sizes sell faster than we can make them. Understanding there was difficulty sorting through styles to find in-stock sizes, we added the new Shop-By-Size menu.
We recognized our slim Grand Street wasn’t slim enough for some of our more forward shoppers. They wanted tapering services, not just hemming. We then added tapering to our alteration’s options. This year, we acknowledged the issue and added the new Hope Street slim tapered fit in sizes 40 to 46. We now have three silhouette options in larger waist sizes. Also, we plan to make the leg opening on the Grand Street a little smaller on the top-end sizes.
At Williamsburg Garment Company, we are continuing to treat our Big and Tall denim collections with the same styling respects are our standard sizes. We thank our customers for their continued support.