The Menswear Style Podcast

Martin Parker, Co-Founder of Cut & Pin

February 23, 2021 Menswear Style Episode 117
The Menswear Style Podcast
Martin Parker, Co-Founder of Cut & Pin
Chapters
The Menswear Style Podcast
Martin Parker, Co-Founder of Cut & Pin
Feb 23, 2021 Episode 117
Menswear Style

Cut & Pin Co-Founders, Martin Parker and Alan Baker, both share a vision to create a wardrobe collection of everyday pieces, designed and made with integrity at their core. Having both worked in fashion and witnessed first-hand the impact the industry can have on the planet, aligned with a burning desire to fill a gap in the menswear market, they both felt the time was right to launch a brand that married style with responsible sourcing, creating pieces that will stand the test of time. They believe in stepping away from the treadmill of fads and trends, creating products that are seasonless and offer the versatility of a modern wardrobe. Whether working from home, going to a meeting at the office, attending a lunch date, or just having a beer with your mates, Cut & Pin clothes are designed to work around you.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Martin Parker, Co-Founder of Cut & Pin about each of the Co-Founders' skills and backgrounds, and the founding story of their sustainable menswear brand. They had frustrations with the impact the clothing industry was having on the environment, and so they set out to create a fashion collection with this in mind. Our host Peter Brooker and Martin also talk about how to raise capital to launch a business, the difference between deadstock, recycled and organic materials, the challenges of operating through Covid-19, the importance of garment sizing, and being inspired by David Hockney.

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

Cut & Pin Co-Founders, Martin Parker and Alan Baker, both share a vision to create a wardrobe collection of everyday pieces, designed and made with integrity at their core. Having both worked in fashion and witnessed first-hand the impact the industry can have on the planet, aligned with a burning desire to fill a gap in the menswear market, they both felt the time was right to launch a brand that married style with responsible sourcing, creating pieces that will stand the test of time. They believe in stepping away from the treadmill of fads and trends, creating products that are seasonless and offer the versatility of a modern wardrobe. Whether working from home, going to a meeting at the office, attending a lunch date, or just having a beer with your mates, Cut & Pin clothes are designed to work around you.

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Martin Parker, Co-Founder of Cut & Pin about each of the Co-Founders' skills and backgrounds, and the founding story of their sustainable menswear brand. They had frustrations with the impact the clothing industry was having on the environment, and so they set out to create a fashion collection with this in mind. Our host Peter Brooker and Martin also talk about how to raise capital to launch a business, the difference between deadstock, recycled and organic materials, the challenges of operating through Covid-19, the importance of garment sizing, and being inspired by David Hockney.

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, and welcome to another episode of the men's wear style podcast. I'm your host, Peter Drucker. On this episode, I'm gonna talk to Martin Parker, co founder of cut and pin, cut and pin a less is more philosophy is echoed in all aspects of cut and pin and the product they create. They believe in conscious consumption. And this sentiment has helped them to create a collection of pieces that transcend trends and gimmicks. And you can find out more about cut and pin through their website cut and pin.com. And here is Martin to tell the story of cut and pin along with my business partner, Al Baker. And we actually met while working for Kashmir company based in Harrogate. So, we became quite good friends shared similar kind of humour, and shared sort of the similar ideas about fashion and sort of the world. And so yeah, we were we had a particularly bad meeting one afternoon and answered, would you have a fancy setting up your own business and off, we went to the pub for the glittery pine and discussed through around around, you know, what we'd like to do. And I think, I think fundamentally, methanol felt quite frustrated with the way that the industry was going. Because at that time, sort of this was kind of the beginning of 2019. It just started sort of, you know, to gather momentum about what what the impact that the fashion industry's having on the planet. But also, there was a frustration with the menswear market, as well, as it was we were struggling kind of, and to find things that we we we like that we would like to buy into all kind of kind of kind of stem from there early, and then kind of snowballed. And what what kind of expertise are you bringing into this, if you've got a textile background? Yeah, that's the good thing with me now, I think that's probably the best kind of partnership is where you get to people with different kinds of capabilities, different experiences. So my background is in fashion. I'm a fashion designer, and I've been doing that for around 20 to 23 years. And ours is in the digital marketing side. So he's been doing that around sort of, you know, 20 years, right, working various companies from sort of big, big corporations to small corporations, similar to myself. So and, you know, that kind of partnership works. Yeah, no, a nice alchemy. And was it always your idea to have some think of your own in the future? set up your own brand? Yeah, I mean, I've often thought about it, but never really kind of done anything about it, really. And I think the good thing about Ali is quite entrepreneur, entrepreneurial. So, you know, it's, for want of a better word, a little bit of a hustler. Yeah, but no, in a good way. So you know, I think, you know, I'm the kind of, sort of, like, stay sort of in the background, whereas he's kind of, you know, upfront, so it was him that saw, you know, we can do this and, and off we went, and, you know, spoke to, you know, potential investors that he sort of knew along the way and kind of took it from there, really. And I was going to ask you about, how did you manage to raise the capital to get it off the ground? Do you have like a figure in mind that you needed to get to? And then who did you go? Whose doors did you go knocking on? Yeah, so I mean, Al's sort of the more kind of the brains of the partnership in terms of, you know, I'm, I'm a designer and more creative, it's not kind of the way that my brain operates. So he's more that kind of side of it. So, you know, after sort of discussing initial concepts, what we wanted to do, then he went off and kind of, you know, put it through a bean counter, as it were. So, you know, and came up with possible scenarios, and in terms of what kind of capital and money it would take to get a business like what we want to do off the ground. So and, and Al's great at sort of networking and keeping in touch with people. So he knew. He knew a few sort of venture capitalists or people that would like to invest into a business like ours, but actually, what we actually did was, we approached the virgin startup loan, and we got actually got recommended by somebody to approach them and we were very successful in securing a loan, as well as some small investment from another person, another party. Okay, that's got equity in the company as well? Well, that's actually really interesting. Because it's a question that I, I often ask founders and CEOs, and then the first time that that company has been mentioned, and I think anyone that's listening to this, that's got an idea, and perhaps, you know, out of ideas on how to get capital, maybe Kickstarter hasn't worked, maybe the bank doesn't lend them, you know, and often ideas fall by the wayside, don't they? If it doesn't get past the first hurdle? So that's interesting to know, that could be a good resource for people out there. Yeah. I mean, what we found, it's interesting, we, you know, we did go down to London a lot, we were approaching a lot of people, and I think people are generally quite cautious. You know, even before the pandemic, you know, with, you know, recessions, what, and what was going on in the industry, I mean, the, the fashion industry, at that time, and still is quite a, you know, it's, it's quite on shaky ground at the moment. And so I think, you know, a lot of people that were quite wary, obviously, a lot of questions about what we wanted to do and why I wanted to do it. And, you know, there are a few knock backs along the way, but somebody eventually did buy, but the virgin start loan was, was really good, you know, really supportive throughout, you know, trying to trying to secure the loan, and really, really helpful. Rome, as, you know, I would recommend anybody that's thinking of starting a business, whether it's fashionable, or whatever, that businesses is definitely approached virgin start loans. I guess it sounds good. If your brand also has like a, an honesty to it, like the sustainability element in your brand was kind of the ethos that's, you know, yeah, that runs right through the heart of campaign. So let's say I mean, you know, you do need, there is a USP, obviously, they asked a lot of questions, though, they want a lot of market research, which is fine. I mean, you know, we did a lot of that we did a lot of that, because we're actually going around meeting these people that were asking, you know, to part with their cash and invest in our business. So, you know, we already had like a deck we already had, and we'd already profile the type of guy that would be going after we already had everything there. Yeah, we're all going out trying to trying to secure some investment. And then, you know, along the way, me and I'll have invested some of our own money as well. Well, your time as well. I imagine. I mean, like time is a commodity that no one really goes Oh, yeah. Well, that didn't cost anything. But in reality, it cost a couple of years of your time, probably. Yeah. Yeah, the investment of time and losing investment, obviously, from a monetary value. You know, Martin, talked to me about some of the things on the website, please. So there's three categories. There's deadstock, organic and recycled. And, and for those that aren't overly familiar with them terms, maybe you can walk me through them, please. Yeah, well, probably start with deadstock. I think that is a term that's kind of only really come to the forefront in fashion just recently, and certainly when Allentown began on this journey back in 2019, the whole deadstock thing was starting to slowly sort of surface, I noticed that a lot of and big sort of big players, big designers started looking at kind of their dead stock or overstock family fabrics, and there's something there what else are basically dead stock, it doesn't it's, it's quite an odd word, because it could maybe conjure up that it's actually fabric that's kind of bad quality inferior, which actually isn't dead stock is basically fabric that maybe a retailer or supplier has ordered too much fabric, or it's fabric that just basically hasn't been used. And it can be fabric that has been over ordered. And yes, it's just sat in a warehouse, basically gathering dust, and never sees the light of day. And so a lot a lot people are now starting to look at and buy into deadstock and overstock fabrics. was the main problem of using deadstock, though is that sometimes there's not enough run of it, maybe it will actually and that's, I mean, you could see that we saw that as an opportunity because it almost creates limited edition or one offs. And, yeah, the thing about deadstock once it's gone, it's gone. So you know, you can buy up, however many metres, make X amount of garments, but once that, you know you can't kind of get back into it. Yeah, it gives you that Light and light and exclusivity, I guess. Yeah, absolutely. And that is something that we'd like to sort of get more into is using deadstock or other people's kind of waste. So in terms of the recycled for instance, the recycled cashmere is actually and Kashmir that as the supplier when the making the garment when they're making the cashmere garments, it could be, you know, all the yarn that comes off the Garmin, and, you know, falls onto the cutting room floor. That's Rhys burn and then used again, which normally though, that kind of thing would probably just go into a big incinerator or a bin and get sent off to landfill. Actually what they're doing is reusing it, why can't the supplier use it themselves? What the the? Yeah, well, that's what they're doing. They're reusing it to sell to people like us. Okay. All right. So they'll use the original Cashman? Yeah, that is what we call, it's pre consumer. They're making for, you know, another company, and any waste that they're making, they will recycle that yarn. Right. Okay. And organic, organic, so organic yet, obviously, you know, we've all heard of organic food. And, you know, the food industry was quite kind of pioneer in in terms of that. But I think, you know, the fashion industry has been quite slow to capture. But I think, obviously, now, organics becoming more, more normal. So organic is, is basically cotton that's been organically grown. So you know, less of the pesticides, less of the water is kind of fed by rain water, as opposed to, you know, actual being fed by water. And so yeah, so there's a lot. There's a lot about the way it's actually grow and manufactured, interested in using less of the pesticides and chemicals that would normally go into something like a just a normal cotton mine, talk to me about what it's been like to get this off the ground during these times. I mean, it was the world's on fire and upside down as it has it been trying to get something like this off the ground? What obstacles Have you hit, and overcame? Well, I mean, probably the biggest one that everybody obviously is talking about in the world is the pandemic. So, you know, and Originally, we thought that we'd launch June 2020. But that kind of got put on hold. So we have to launch a lot later due to, obviously, what was going on worldwide with the COVID-19. And so yeah, I won't lie, it's been tough. And, you know, the lockdown hasn't helped, hasn't helped in terms of, you know, connect, connecting with the supply base and getting in the products, because everybody's had obviously issues with that. So I'd say that's probably been the biggest kind of stumbling block is the whole kind of lockdown and the pandemic. And then obviously, yeah, just getting getting out. Getting out there are the garments made in the UK. So currently, so this is something that we actually discussed, originally, that we wanted a lot of our garments be made in the UK, but obviously when COVID hit, it changed everything. And so Currently, we are looking at UK manufacturing. So the new stuff that that's due to Korea is all UK manufactured. But at the moment, it's manufactured in Portugal and Mongolia. Right. Okay. And Brexit hit you guys at all in any ways, or if you manage to combine those? Yeah, it's probably too early to sort of, say whether it has affected us because obviously, we're at the very start of our journey. Right. But yes, I think in terms of getting the product over from Portugal, and into the UK, obviously, you know, everybody's heard about the sort of problematic, and, you know, the problems that we're having bringing products in from Europe, with, obviously, it's all teething problems until we get that sorted. So, yeah, it's a bit early to tell for us at the moment, because we love a lot of the stuff that came in for launch was pre Brexit. Yeah. So we'll we'll, we'll find out soon enough. Proof will be in the pudding. Yeah. And if you got any plans to go into retail, at any point, I presume you guys are just online right now. We are Yeah, so we're online. And the idea being that, you know, we'd love to, again, pre pandemic, we were talking about pop up shops, right now. I was gonna say, yeah, a lot of people doing that now as opposed to kind of You know, getting a store and having as a standalone store bricks and mortar. And great thing about a pop up shop is obviously, it can last for six months, 12 months, and you can get the name out there and people can see the product. So, yeah, it's something we have talked about. And it's something we definitely look into once you know, things start to come down and hopefully return back to normal. I think you know, Internet's grey, and obviously, it's gone through your roof, you know, in terms of people buying online, but, you know, for me, who, and probably a lot of people out there who can't get past the fact of walking into a store, trying things on and actually feeling the quality and the fabric. Oh, yeah, no. So it's definitely something that's on the agenda for future. But yeah, it's it's probably a thing where you have to be quite kind of cautious with considering what's happened in the market. And currently about Yes, I think we'd definitely like to do. Okay, well, I hope so. I mean, you must have been underneath the breakfast table this morning, when I was having this conversation with Anastasia, because I was saying to my girlfriend, yeah, actually haven't bought a pair of trousers in about a year and a half since this has been going on. Because each time I try and get something online, or Yeah, I can't try and think on in the shops, women were allowed to go in the shops. And because I'm a kind of a weird, odd shape and fit. Yeah, you know, anything that arrives just gets sent back. So you know, I'm just now living through the lost threads of machines that mean, I'm desperate to get out there and get, you know, get back into the habit of actually, like you say, feeling fabric, trying things on and walking out of there with an experience rather than just having something arrive and go. That's nice, isn't it? Or not? In most cases? Right, Peter, I think that that is a thing. It's Nick, the whole experience of doing that. And you know, that that's the beauty of building a brand and, you know, creating those experiences and, and you know, our quality, I know, I'm biassed, but our quality is exceptional for the price. And I think, you know that that's, that's what we need to get out the message that the quality is there, and the fit and everything. And I completely agree with you as well. I mean, you know, how disappointing when you order something online and the fits not great. The whole rigmarole of sending it all, may I just can't be asked to do it. And and also, I don't feel great about doing it as well, because I used to work in retail. Yeah, and the biggest, and one of the great feelings was actually putting out the orders, you'd have online orders, and we go to the post office, and there'll be a night. And the worst thing would be seeing the postman come back in with those return packages. So like the posts, he would come every day with the same kind of like, blue bags underneath his arms. And it would just be like a real, yeah, it's expected because you know, you have to kind of adjust for this, you know, you sell X amount and X amount will be refunded, so you kind of know how the game works. But it's still a little knee and the nudges in the day, when you see the guy comes in with your clothes, and you have to get the money back. And I think, you know, once hopefully touchwood if we get a name for quality and fit, and then, you know, obviously, people will be quite happy to buy online because they know. And that that is one thing we're conscious of doing is not constantly changing fits of garments, which I know a lot of retailers Do you know, how annoying when, you know, your favourite pair of jeans that you've constantly wore? And it's happened to me that you know, and you reorder and the fits completely changed. Yeah. I mean, fits always the hardest thing it's the most, you know, works in this industry for a long time and fit is so crucial, but it's also the hardest thing you know, to get right because obviously like you said, Peter, you're you're different shapes the next guy and I'm a different shapes the next guy, so it's definitely finding that balance. It's, it's a hard one. I was gonna ask you about Hockney as well. I noticed that was one of your biggest influences. Yeah. Talk to me about some some Hockney, please. And and also how what have you taken from Hockney and put into your designs? Yeah, so I mean, it's kind of a certainly a kind of subtle hint to me, but again, being an art student and an early fashion student and I've always been inspired by Hockney love his artwork and, and obviously, he's a fellow Yorkshireman as well, you know, hailing from Bradford, and then, you know, and also one of the greatest artists that we've ever seen. And so going right after it was he? Yeah, he's an old man now, but he's still still hanging on. And, and I think, you know, I've always admired his style. And I think that was the biggest thing for me. It wasn't just about his artwork. And he's a real kind of style icon. And I think I love his sort of the way that he puts things together. It's kind of effortless. He looks really cool. And I love the way that you know, he is quite an old man now but still. Well, to me, it looks really cool. Yeah, no, he does that I had a quite what that sort of age looseness to him in terms of his style, which is something that couldn't pin is definitely about, right. You know, you can talk about, you know, when, when me and now we're talking about the type of guy. And, you know, a lot of people do it, obviously, it's a huge sort of marketing thing. We talk about age profiling and stuff. And, you know, it does, it does sort of come into that kind of thing. But, um, you know, we like to think that our garments are our style, and everything will appeal to everybody, because let's face it, you know, people have changed so much, just because you're in your, you know, 50s or early 60s or whatever. It doesn't mean to say you won't start wearing old clothes. But exactly, I mean, I mean, some of the most stylish people I know, perhaps some of the more seasoned gentlemen out there. I mean, you probably heard of David Evans from grey Fox blog. I mean, he's kind of like a force of nature in this sort of stuff. I mean, you see, regular listicles on GQ, Jeff Goldblum will always be at number one. And why is he Oh, yeah. I mean, look fantastic. He's really cool, isn't it? I mean, it'd be a good, good ambassador, I think for your brand. We'll see if we can get I think he was actually on our, on our initial deck. Oh, really, along with Jude Law, and Adrian Brody and people like that. So it's kind of cool, you know, effortless, sophisticated. classic, classic. Yeah, I think that's thing, you know, we want to still be, you know, a brand that kind of offers something slightly different, but not that different that you know, in time is going to look out of stuck with everything and out of fashion, with everything else going on. So that that was another thing that we were really keen on doing is not actually, you know, making clothes that last, because I think that's the biggest thing. You know, because sustainability isn't just about the fabric using or where it's manufactured. It's actually educating people on you know, that if you look after your clothes, and then under clothes, a good quality, and you look after them, they can last you a lifetime. Well, Mike, thanks for coming in. And where is it coming in? He's not sitting next to me. Anyway, yeah. Well, hopefully we'll get a pop up store in London and move or Leeds wherever. Nick, box Park is a good shout for pop ups think reasonable rates. We're not affiliated with boxpark. But I had a look into them once and for us. It's not too bad. I wouldn't mind doing that myself. You know, box Park would be ideal. Yeah. means great shops at books. Yeah, quite, quite reasonable for a couple of weeks of pop up rentals and get kind of that kind of hope in but you know, they've got the bar there. And yeah, you know, people can go and shop and have a beer. And that's what it's all about. And that is that is the shopping experience, isn't it? And that's why, you know, the likes of all these big retailers is kind of circling the drain or have already gone. Yeah, yeah. Isn't experienced for for anyone that's not been to Brixton or know what Martin and I are talking about. boxpark are made out of these shipping crates, aren't they? Yeah, yeah. Cause they're kind of cargo shipping crates you see on these big massive ships, they've actually converted those into little retail shops and hubs that people can sift through like a nice lab refined maze almost of independence and cultures. It's good fun. Anywho I digress. Martin, thanks for coming on mate. So late in the day. Best of luck with cut and pin people can go and find the brand. Cut and pin.com is the website people can go to and also follow their journey on Instagram at cut and pin menswear. menswear. Got it. Good to go. Brilliant. All right, man. Take care yourself. great talking to you can say thank you. Cheers. See you later. Thank you, Martin. And thank you all for tuning in to this episode of The menswear style podcast. If you like what you hear, why not leave a review it does help our egos. Don't forget to check out the show notes for this episode and all content pertaining to fashion, watches grooming and lifestyle over at WWW dot menswear style.co.uk and we're on the social as well at men's wear style. If you want to be a guest on the show, and tell us about your brand and your journey. You can email us here at info at men's wear style.co.uk. Until next time, everyone