The Menswear Style Podcast

David Keyte, Co-Founder of Universal Works

March 23, 2020 Menswear Style Episode 50
The Menswear Style Podcast
David Keyte, Co-Founder of Universal Works
Chapters
The Menswear Style Podcast
David Keyte, Co-Founder of Universal Works
Mar 23, 2020 Episode 50
Menswear Style

Universal Works was inspired by David Keyte’s formative years growing up in a provincial midlands town in the seventies, part of a working class family that loved to dress well; seeing his Dad and Uncles in their work-wear and also when dressing for the weekend. Next, working as a sign-writers apprentice, whilst experiencing the development of eighties sporting and music subcultures. And finally, a thirty-year span in the fashion industry. From Paul Smith to Maharishi he gained an education from and worked alongside some of the best in the industry.

With David’s life work reading like a description of the company’s DNA, Universal Works is about the mixing of ideas; understanding heritage and context underpinned by contemporary needs and aesthetics. They champion skilled, small-scale production and produce garments in the right place, both in the UK and overseas, working only with factories they trust, admire and are proud to be associated with.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast, we sit down and speak to David Keyte, Co-Founder of Universal Works. Our host Peter Brooker finds out about the origins of the brand and when the idea was first thought up. We learn about Keyte's background, passions and inspirations for the brand which leans towards blue collar workwear with military and contemporary British tailored styling. With many years of working for other people David looked to start his own menswear brand, designing clothing he would personally want to wear. He also gives insights into growing a fashion brand and the difficult hurdles that arise along the way.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Show Notes Transcript

Universal Works was inspired by David Keyte’s formative years growing up in a provincial midlands town in the seventies, part of a working class family that loved to dress well; seeing his Dad and Uncles in their work-wear and also when dressing for the weekend. Next, working as a sign-writers apprentice, whilst experiencing the development of eighties sporting and music subcultures. And finally, a thirty-year span in the fashion industry. From Paul Smith to Maharishi he gained an education from and worked alongside some of the best in the industry.

With David’s life work reading like a description of the company’s DNA, Universal Works is about the mixing of ideas; understanding heritage and context underpinned by contemporary needs and aesthetics. They champion skilled, small-scale production and produce garments in the right place, both in the UK and overseas, working only with factories they trust, admire and are proud to be associated with.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast, we sit down and speak to David Keyte, Co-Founder of Universal Works. Our host Peter Brooker finds out about the origins of the brand and when the idea was first thought up. We learn about Keyte's background, passions and inspirations for the brand which leans towards blue collar workwear with military and contemporary British tailored styling. With many years of working for other people David looked to start his own menswear brand, designing clothing he would personally want to wear. He also gives insights into growing a fashion brand and the difficult hurdles that arise along the way.

Whilst we have your attention, be sure to sign up to our daily MenswearStyle newsletter here. We promise to only send you the good stuff.

Unknown:

Hello, welcome to another episode of The menswear style podcast. I'm your host people how we're doing and on this episode. Really excited for this one we'll be talking to David key co founder of universal works. Universal works was inspired by David's formative years growing up in a provincial Midlands town, part of a working class family that loved to dress well seeing his dad and uncles in their workwear and also when dressing for the weekend. After initially selling to 10 retailers, universal works have gained a substantial following and are now stocked from Los Angeles to Seoul. Their head office and web store is based in Nottingham and they have four universal work stores opening in London on land conduit Street. That was back in July 2012 Berwick street in August 2013, knocking on Broad Street, March 2016. And again, the latest one in London, the coal drops yard in October 2018. And by the way, we'll be talking about the launch of that shop because it's an incredible venue right in the heart of Kings Cross, very central London. But before we get into all that, let me tell you about our website menswear style.co.uk if you click the Member Area button on the top right of the homepage, you'll be taken to our discounts and loyalty section. This is where you will see exclusive discounts and privileges from hundreds of your favourite High Street brands within fashion, lifestyle beauty and more. We currently have 20% of it New Balance 15% of it Hawes and Curtis 10% of a team loan and 50% offer corner store. That's right five oh, and we've just added some more 15% of a pasta 20% pursue fitness and 35% of my protein so lots of good reasons to go check out the website apart from all the other blogs, all the other competitions that we run so menswear style.co.uk that's the place to go. Right Lastly, if you're on the social in men type in men's wear style into your smartphone there, and we'll just come up almost everywhere. If you'd like to get in touch with the show or become a guest and talk about your brand and its journey. Then Email us at info at menswear. style.co.uk Okay. Here is that interview with David Keith, co founder of universal works Wonderful. Well it's my great pleasure to introduce to the podcast David kete. Joint founder of universal works how we're doing today David good nice chilly morning in quite sunny Nottingham today. For the uninitiated, would you mind giving us a thumbnail sketch of view and of universal workspace Okay, so I guess we are universal works it was was begun by myself and my partner Stephanie we wanted to produce a I guess something that had always been my passion men's were based on on old kind of blue collar work where and military styling but with an understanding of sort of British tailoring almost like British classic British clothing. But we wanted that to be a very contemporary and and understanding its roots and understanding where it came from. We wanted it to be very much about today. And people's lifestyles today. And also in the realms of affordability that was that we both come from a fashion world where things maybe were aspirational sometimes and less affordable for for myself and my friends. And I think we felt we wanted something that was a bit more attainable. And so that was the original goal of it. And it's hugely about a massive wardrobe for me because it's all things I want and where and as a as a business, I guess we've got no particular plan to take over the world. We just wanted to put our vision of menswear out into the market and see if we could make a success of that. But we'd had many many years of working for other people. Both of us coming from product and production background, not a design background, although Stephanie has studied fashion as a design course in in Nottingham actually. But I was not trained. I was not trained anything, let alone fashion and I just did it because I loved it and got jobs in it and progress through through the through actually doing I guess through being sitting next to geniuses that I worked with at Portsmouth and marishi and various other British menswear designers and thinking I could always do better myself. And finally, I got the opportunity to do it. I believe the brand started or was launched in 2009. What was the main hurdles of you launching the brand in terms of what were the obstacles that you needed to fight at the time to get universal works off the ground. I think pretty much the same with any new brand, whether you're straight out of college, or you've been doing it for many years, the initial issue is getting your brand in front of getting in front of the consumer. But there's generally two routes into selling your product or the director, the consumer, or through stores. And if you're selling through stores, you need to get it in front of the buyers of those stores. If they're independent stores, it's usually people who own and work in the store. And if it's a bigger ICA, Harrods or a selvages, or a bigger company, they'll have separate buyers. And we needed to get the product in front of those people to buy it, put it in their stores, we went through that route, because we didn't have a lot of money we didn't, we couldn't open our own stores or launch our own website. And so we wanted to put it into some of our favourite stockists. And, and we needed a showroom where people could see it. And that was that was our route into it. And it was all it's always the biggest, most difficult hurdle to get people to convince to buy your brand rather than someone else's brand. Because you're in an unknown, and people don't, I guess, have the confidence in buying it unknown, you're totally unknown. And I think we started the whole business thinking that we wanted to, we wanted it's all about product, and delivering that product to that store and that store having the confidence to sell it. And that basically, they wouldn't see it again, it's got a it's got to be delivered on time, right price, right quality, so that it it succeeds with the consumer. And then the stores are happy, they come back and they buy it again. And but to get that first initial hurdle over is difficult. I think we we were very lucky that we worked with a UK showroom that believed in us. And we people believed in that showroom and trusted them that I wouldn't be showing them a product that wouldn't work. And I think we had a number of a number of friends and colleagues industry who knew we could deliver, we knew we could do this thing that we said we could do. And also then we had enough help with our manufacturing that generally if you're a new brand, and you sell 10 jackets, you can't make 10 jackets, you have to make 100 jackets or 1000 jackets. And we had enough favours backed up through 25 years in industry to get people to produce very small numbers, incredibly small numbers, which meant we delivered everything. We always do deliver everything and we we make with people who could make hundreds and thousands of things, but they'll make very, really small numbers for us. So we were with a little guys, but that's much, much harder if you're new. If you're 25 straight out of college and you've got a new brand and you've got no backing. A shirt maker or knitwear maker or sock maker doesn't want to make you your 1010 sales. Yeah, yeah. Because you're not reaching a minimum, we managed to persuade people to do that, because of the history we had. Well, I can speak from personal experience of running an independent menswear store. Probably dialling back about five years now and outside of Cambridge, and we had your marquee names, it was very much the middle brands, I guess I mean, super dry, entry level, Luke, Lyle and Scott, for example. But then we'd have the very independent, very parochial brands. And I know being on the shop front floor, it was great to get these brands in the unknown brand, shall we say. But it was a lot harder to actually sell them to the customer because you have to burn twice as many calories to convince them that this is going to be the next best thing. Or this is something that even though it's roughly the same price as all the other brands you're seeing on the shelves, and they recognise those brand names, that I actually really liked that part of it though, because I was actually championing something that people hadn't heard of. And at that time, they wouldn't have seen before anyone else so but I do remember vividly those those moments in time when it was new brands coming in. And it was a lot harder to shift but a lot more the process was more enjoyable. And we recognise that and we we've run small independent stores ourselves. We've had retail we know that the retailer has the most difficult job because the guy walking into His store is going to spend real money money he's earned somewhere and is passionate about you know, getting the most for it. When we're selling to a store, we're selling to a guy who loves clothes, otherwise he wouldn't have a store. Yeah, so and you know, the storekeeper has a much harder job than us, we think. So we want to support them as much as possible. And yeah, trying to find someone that is prepared to buy a new brand new never heard of, we know that if if it's like, if it's you and your store outside Cambridge, if you like it, you buy it, and you'll probably wear it. And you've got a massive opportunity to convince the the consumer. Yeah, so you're doing, you're doing that job by putting it on and going, look, these pants look great, or this shirt looks great. People trust you, and they'll start to buy it. Yeah, in the end, it's got to keep working. And you know, we're in a situation now, kind of 1011 years later, where we have a lot of people who trust us in within the industry to provide product that will sell, because that's what they're in business for. But also the consumer that they it does a good job for them. So they keep coming back. And you you know, we're still tiny in the world of, you know, fashion, we're still absolutely tiny. But yeah, it's certainly easier today than it was 1011 years ago to get someone to convince someone to buy into your product. Yeah, that designs for the clothes. Now, don't let me put words in your mouth. But when I'm looking at the collections, and when I've seen universal works over the years, I've always thought they're very classic, but they're very full cut, the work wear jackets, in particular have this very blue collar feel. Yeah, I know, that's very intentional with some of your background. Can you just talk us through the process of how that started? And how and yeah, I guess I'd always had a love of that was what we, in a fashion sense think of as, as work where I always say blue collar workers work where today for a lot of young people in certainly in Europe would be, you know, a suit going to the office, it wouldn't be an overall to protect you in your annual, you know, your, your manual labour job. But those products that I saw my family and, you know, as a child were designed and made for longevity, and protection and function. And I think, although I became very obsessed with clothing at very young age, and dressing up and watching my aunts and uncles get dressed up to go out on a Saturday night, when they were from a very kind of working class background, but they wanted to look good, the weekend. And that had a huge effect on me. And I loved the idea of that kind of smarter clothing and wanting to spend money on clothing, but still had that affection or understanding of those functional garments. And I think men is where that's something that guys dislike, and we respond to both for sure, there was a moment in sort of cycle of fashion that that look was going to be or was starting to be interesting again, and moving away from kind of over design product, which was an opportunity for me because that's what I always wanted to work with and design. So I guess that was happening 2007 2008 and so we could launch our brand on that ethos at the right time. But still, even now, you know, we have very, very kind of work life jackets, but we still try and make it in a much more contemporary way than just trying to repeat something from the past. But I guess from a design point of view, a lot of it is is looking at and being inspired by the things around you. So you're always involved in contemporary culture and contemporary life so you can't not be affected by that. But yeah, you know, the the thing is, I was around as a as a kid of you know, my father had a work jacket on every day because he went to work and yeah, that's all protective cover all jacket on. And we named out of that after him because he was a biker. And I didn't want to call it work jacket so I called it biker jacket. Actually there's a lots of those jackets around in the world and and they do perform a great function. It's what you do with it isn't it's, it's how you wear it, what you team it with. And I think all of those products would have been generally they would have been looser rather than tighter. Because it's hard to add tight clothes if you're an engineer or Or a builder or a bricklayer or Baker for that matter, it doesn't suit what you're doing. So I think my silhouette was always a little bit looser. And that taken a while to take off for sure. Because for a long time, you guys were wearing very skinny jeans and very skinny tops. And slowly our, our silhouette of something a little bit looser, nice is coming around to being much more acceptable. And I think people responded to the fact that we don't really do a skinny trouser, we tend to do a looser trouser, and a lot of guys have started to get into it. And thankfully for us, it's it's paying off. Yeah. And I can talk about the baker jacket at length with you because, well I say that I was debating whether to bring this up with you, David, but I bought the word the workwear Baker jacket in Cambridge probably again about five years ago now. And I adored it and I wore it to death. I think Roger Moore said of Ian Fleming that he wore every one of his suits down to the last thread. And I think that's what people will be saying about me about that jacket. Because it was I adored it, and I still have it. And at the time I started dating my now girlfriend, she lives in London at that time I was living in Cambridge. So I was often referred to as a town mouse and Country Mouse I'd have a different wardrobe for wherever I'd be. Now sadly, by the time I'd met my girlfriend she'd but she didn't like the jacket because I think it had done a few laps around the park, shall we say? It still hold up fantastically? Well, but yeah, she's she comes from a very professional background where she likes to see me dressed in shirts and, and conventional stuff. So yes, this Baker's jacket was relegated to the country wardrobe. But I still actually enjoy going back to Cambridge Now, every now and again and having that jacket Wait for me at the end of the line. I think well, this is now me. And this isn't my wardrobe that I really want to slip. Yeah. And in fact, if you punch into Google, sorry, into YouTube, I did it just before we got on the phone, universal works Baker's jacket, I believe I come up in like the top three or four videos. Because I did a I did a review for it on an on another blog that I did back in the day. Well, I'm gonna check out the video of it as soon as I can, oh, please don't manage your expectations. But I guess that'll lead me on to a question that I don't notice any women's wear on your website, I guess this is something that you get asked a lot is are like the clothes unit unisex or gender free as I think people like to call it now. I mean, we we, we make clothing. And we are, you know, it's the design of that is coming from my vision of what I think men should wearing. And in reality what I want to wear, and therefore I'm kind of designing it for me in the hope that the rest of the world will be interested in we can have a business from it. And for sure, a lot of women buy it. So, you know, in our in our HQ and the setting now there's I think we've probably got slightly more women than men and and everyone, I'd be very surprised if if at least half of those women today aren't wearing some universal words possibly more often all of them will have something on from our collections. It might be knitwear it might be a sweater it might be jersey, we we certainly sell a lot of our that particular jacket, the Vegas jacket comes in anything from you know, simple cotton to held to Paris tweed and beautiful Italian suits and fabrics. And you can't wear it in a lot of ways. We sell it to a few women's wear stores around the world who buy it specifically for that one its customers in, in smaller sizes sometimes, but generally it's exactly the same piece. So we we hesitate to call any of it women's wear, and I think just because we you know it's it's not what you would traditionally think of us as women's wear but then women have forever have worn their, their boyfriends clothes, haven't they? You know, you know, everyone from Madonna, you know, Bianca Joel wearing Humphrey Bogart, you know, it's like, women wearing men's clothes as often looks very sexy and been very appealing. So it's always had a place in fashion if you want but also it's just practical. Yeah, you know, our, a lot of our fits, will suit a lot of people because they're not super tight and hopefully thought through in the way that they should fit more people. And that applies to men and women. Of course sizing. You know, we're not Doing super shaped things. So if you're a woman that wants something a bit more figure hugging, you're not going to buy our clothes. But I think it's not figured out how the clothing list is it's not you don't necessarily need to have that to look like a woman. And a lot of women buy our clothes, we just try to you know, we, we don't want to do specifically different things because I think it changes who we are. And it changes who resenting we have to try and sell that. But for sure, a lot of a lot of women buy our product, and we're very happy for them to do so. I'm not surprised by that one bit to be honest with you, because I think, I don't know if that's the right term. So I'm not really down with the kids. David, shall we say, in terms of what the pigeon hole looks and categories and genres? But yeah, like the oversized and the full cut? Look, I do believe has been, it has been back in the mainframe now for a good couple of years. Yeah, I mean, I I don't think I've got a skill set that would be would ever let me really design properly design women's wear, I think we'd design what would traditionally be a more masculine set of clothes. And I think that's working for us. And people seem to like it. And for sure women will bind to me partly that's because right now, it's kind of a cool fashion look, as well. But a lot of women have worn these sort of clothes for, you know, for for decades and been very happy with it. That leads me on to another question does because I guess we come in cycle with fashions, you know, things go quite skinny, and they come quite full cut trousers get low rise, and now double pleated trousers up to the midriff, you know, can be in vogue. Now that we've got a swinging all the way back to full cut, are you seeing any other brands lifting from your designs or taking inspirations from your collections at all? I'm not sure I'd be the right person to comment. I yes. I mean, for sure. People that have made skinnier silhouettes are suddenly making them less skinny. And that's just fashion. And of course, we're all influenced by fashion, and we're only gonna swatch by what's around us. And, you know, there's there's a lot of there's always a movement. And right now it's definitely a little bit looser than it was. That's come to me as sad on because we've always done a looser silhouette, and probably always well. But that's not to say that you don't get affected by what's around you and our silhouette changes. You know, it's probably looser than it was a few years ago, even though then people thought we were making baggy trousers, you should see that some of the things we offer now, but I think you do move. But yeah, I mean, other people doing similar things. Great if they're looking at Universal works and following it. I'm hugely flattered and honoured anyone thinks they should follow us. But you know, in terms of you know, it's a trend for sure. But I think we know a lot of people have been buying there are certainly many silhouettes in our collection that we're in season one and we're in season 20 Yeah. Nice. And David, I'm conscious of had you on the phone now for a good while, but I really wanted to ask you about how it's getting on in coal drops yard because I was there for the launch. I believe green. Okay, that was a guess. 2018 I might have been a little bit late but it was like it was brand spanking new. Okay, for people that don't know or have not heard of coal drops yard. If you're coming to London, you're literally going to be on the doorstep of coal drops yard as soon as you get into Kings Cross St Pancras you're a stone's throw away. And sort of the actual architecture that's been going on in these buildings is absolutely stunning done by the Heatherwick studios, I believe. And you can come in and ban these old coal drop buildings that used to be docking ports for trains that would come in and unload all their coal and then bugger off again. And anyway, so much history, I'm sure you already know. Yeah, no. And, you know, on a personal level, I think when we were first introduced to the project, and the buildings were amazing buildings built to bring coal from the north to keep London warm, you know, it was where the coal from the Midlands and North of England was dropped off. That was then, you know, Burton homes and for industry. And I thought, for me, it was at a sort of personal history because I'd always been coming from north from the Midlands to London, regulate through through my work and business, working for companies in London, but going back home up to the Muslims Always been travelling from those train stations and seeing those buildings. And, you know, the only ever youth they had was for raves. Yeah. And for many years, certainly. And so when that when the development started, it just really struck a personal chord as someone that had worked in the Midlands, Colin's tree, many, you know, not very long, but I did. And it felt like it, we if there's going to be someone who had a store there, we should be part of it. Yeah. So we took in a bit of a parent wing for us to have taken that on when the size we are with a, you know, building a store within, in that space was a huge investment for us massive investment. And I think, you know, for us, we're really happy to be there. It's a fantastic development. So really beautiful building. And there's very, very, you know, the work that Thomas had did is stunning. And that the whole place has a fantastic feel about it, that the Central Sun Martin's Fashion College is based there. It's one of the world's best fashion colleges, it's run doorstep. There's really good small, independent businesses, as well as one or two bigger companies. But it's a great mix. And it's good to have a 20 year project to make that place a really important part of London. So it's not always super busy is not always perfect, but it's really, really cool place to be and we're really happy. And, and we we think we've got a really beautiful shop within that space. So we're we're very, very happy with how it's gone in the first year. Yeah, yep. So yeah, so far. Oh, I'm great. I told you before I've been in retail for a while. And I know, the how laborious it can be sometimes to do shop fits and how, you know, it's kind of like, up at the crack. Go home at 4am. You know, everyone's waiting to a deadline. And I walked into storage for this is what a shot fish should look like. It's fun. It's got that big mirrors at the back. That kind of Yeah, height on the storage, but completely elasticache the space. So yeah, I mean, we we were lucky enough to have a couple of really talented architects to work with who were who were fans of universal works. I met, I met the guys in the store when they were coming in to buy things that you know, they were saving money up to come in and buy a suit offers. And I really liked them as people and they really understood as as a brand and as what we stood for, I think certain they did an amazing job. amazing job. And I think you know, we're so proud of that story looks really, really cool. It does. And so the whole place has got this beautiful romance to it. Alexander McQueen used to do shows early shows there and some of the buildings and then so if you if you are coming to London people if you've not checked out coal drops yard, please take the time to check out universal works universal works.co.uk the website people can go to Universal stash works is on Instagram. I hope I've got that right. Yes, yes. Yeah. hyphen, underscore, sorry, underscore, scooter. Yeah, you'll find that last, I'm gonna take a bit of a hard right here, David. But one last question I had for you. What are your thoughts on the current state of digital marketing and influences? And the reason why I'm asking you this is we spoke about how I did a video previously. And you know, yes, wearing a lot of stuff and tagging and then whatnot. I think I reached out to a couple of press people and they said, Look, thank you so much for doing all this. We we don't really do much work with influences, but obviously will keep you on file and outside are brilliant. Excellent. Great. I'm guessing now with a welter of people on social media tagging you, you must get a lot of requests for people wanting to be Brandon. Yeah, we do get a lot of requests. And I think we always had the same opinion that we try and treat everything in the same way. Whether you're a film star or your average Joe, if if there's, if there's a reason for us to get involved with something or with a project and of course we will take it seriously but we've never we've never really worked with any influencer or given away product to as placement for anything. However, it's just not what we did when, as people were not really interested in what celebrities are wearing. Of course, if someone I'm a fan of wares, universal words, I'm utterly thrilled and delighted. But at the same time you know, most all of those cases people come into our store and were like, oh, wow, look, there's whatever, you know, don't bury unfortunately not anymore. But you know, there's a famous guy, but they come in and bought things in our store. And that's hugely rewarding for us. But we, we don't seek that out. And we don't chase it. And we don't send gifts to people or use influencers, just because I think I think you guys out there in the world understand what it is. They know that if someone's just writing about our jacket, because they've consented, not real. And I think people appreciate the fact that we try and be honest and real. So someone's wearing jackets, because they want to wear it, not because we've given it to them to write about it. And then they'll get another jacket off someone else next week. So for us, it's never really been something we've we've, we, we can't kind of put it into our heads and say that's amazing. That works. I'm sure it does for some brands, and certainly on a commercial level, there are parts of the world where it's really important. But for us, it's not something that we seek out or do. Sorry, no, no. No, no apology necessary. I love the philosophy of that. I've just got to tell you a very quick story that's happened to me in the last couple of days, there is a influence a friend that I have, and I won't be naming any names here. No, I was I was tagged in a post recently, because there's a brand out there that is just about to launch their new collection. Now the previous collection, my friend, this influencer is a friend, I know him personally, he built the entire collection, you know, literally just bought every piece in the collection did an unboxing did the whole prestige on Instagram, plugged it and, and that and that it was actually really well done. It's really well curated. But yeah, he's never had anything given to him by the brand. And he's never been invited to any parties or launches or anything by the brand. So now come season two of this collection, he's decided to take to Instagram and say, Hey, what's up brand? You know, did I not do enough for you last time, I think I influenced pretty much everyone I know in my circle of friends to go out and buy your products. Now you're doing this. So I realised right there. And then this that is a microcosm of what must be fantastic and terrible for brands, with relationships to social media. In one instance, you've got a guy that's going out and buying the collection, telling everyone how great it is doing the exact fit. And on the second hand, he now thinks he's got an established relationship with you, because he's done that. And now he feels entitled. And now he wants to be in the loop. And he wants to be in the parties and the launch events. So I don't know how, like, if this ever swings back to you, if you've ever had any of this where people come back and go, Hey, come on, look at all the work I've been doing for you. I used to just like the days where you'd go out and buy clothes, and you wouldn't ever feel. I mean, I never felt like I had a relationship with a brand 15 years ago, but when I went out and bought something, I might have a relationship with a tailor or the guy behind the desk but never with the brand. Yeah. Yeah. I guess at the end of it, you know, we're we're making, we're making garments, we design and sell clothing. And you know, without the sale, we don't have a business if you're just creating interesting things, but you're not selling it. It's not a business's art or something. So for us, we need to sell product. But we want we want the product to stand up and and for us to be proud of it. And we want to have we want to have happy customers. And for sure, you know, if someone has a regular customer of ours, why wouldn't we want to invite him to a party, of course. But if someone an influencer, that's it starts to be like, how does that work? Where does it as you say, where do you draw the line and you want to buy it don't want to buy you just want to get in and you want to talk about it. It's a very difficult process to go through that is ever going to be a relationship that you want on either side. Yeah. So it's a really, you know, it's become it's become the new PR. So rather than sending your your thing that some PR agency, you're sending it to some influences, trying to get it trying to get your product in front of more people, of course, and we're all doing that. Absolutely. We're in the business of selling thing. But it is a hard one to you know, when you start talking about relationship you have with the brand. It's really hard to know, isn't it? Because we want people to like what we do we want to be decent and honest about it. And I think if you're giving an influencer then at very least you've got so we're giving this to the influencer to influence you guys. Otherwise you're trying to do something dishonest. Yeah. So the whole process is a bit murky and difficult and But yeah, I guess if someone you know, wrote a massive piece about our next collection and influenced hundreds of people to buy into it now I might send them a free beer. Because that's so nice of them. Thank you very much. I'd be very appreciative but What do you what do you do as a brand do to keep sending things the rest of their life? You know, what's the what's the What do they expect? And what do I how do I evaluate? Difficult? It's it's a very strange timer in and I think I'm in a position where I've seen it from multiple scale. So I'm kind of in the influencer world I have a lot of insular friends. I would never call myself an influencer because I don't like the term. But the you know, I've been from the brands perspective, because I've obviously, I'm friends with a lot of people within the brand trade. And I've also been in the retail trade of selling these clothes. So I kind of have like this 360 view on it all. And I've never seen anything like this at this moment in time. But anyway, maybe a discussion for another day. David, thank you so much for your time I've had you on for nearly an hour. I really appreciate it. Thanks for putting up with the technical difficulties earlier on. Once again, people also works. co UK, not just in London, not just online. By all means go online and check out where the stock is saw internationally. So we've got a lot of them these days. That names addresses all on the website. There's lots of places you can go shop. Absolutely. Okay, David, I like to get over your day. Thank you very much. All right. Thanks again. Take care. Bye bye. David Keith, there Thank you, David, so much for coming on. And we had a whole bunch of technical issues believe me I had David on the horn for over an hour and it was a bit of a nightmare but we got there in the end. I hope you guys enjoyed it. So again, the website menswear startup Koto, UK, that's the place you go to to find all the articles, interviews, competitions and the member area that I spoke about before. Thanks for listening, sharing, doing all your reviews on iTunes. That means a lot to us. It helps us get the podcast up the charts and more people can listen to it and encourage us to do more of these interviews. So until next time, people remember it's only fashion and you're never fully dressed without a smile.