To understand any brand you should learn their story. Our story begins with two 6’4″, ripped guys with chiseled jawlines named Bert and Mike. Ok, one is 5’7 and the other is 5’9 and neither warrant the adjectives ripped or chiseled to describe them. But in their minds they’re really, really cool. They first met in Jr. High, spent too many sleepless nights playing video games in high school and traveled to Kenya to help with a medical clinic outside of Mombasa during college. Soon afterwards life took them in separate directions. They moved hundreds of miles apart, pursued opposite career paths and chased new ventures.
In the winter of 2015, Bert joined a group of businessmen and visited a handful of U.S. based NPOs in Southeast Asia. He came back to Los Angeles with 2 things. First, a flawless bespoke suit which cost him pennies on the dollar. Second, he saw how much these NPOs were struggling financially. Shortly after the trip, Bert and Mike met for lunch and asked a hypothetical question. “What if we brought that tailoring skill set to the U.S. market while creating jobs for those poverty stricken communities to help the NPOs?” They both strongly believed in teaching to fish rather than giving a fish so simply writing a check wasn’t the solution. These communities need sustainable jobs. Could this be done?
For any business to be successful, it needs to have a problem it can solve. 6 bourbon’s into their lunch conversation (that’s right, bourbon at lunch) the light bulb went on. Bert and Mike realized the opportunity leaned upon 3 truths.
- Men want to look good but hate to shop! We’d rather watch the ballgame with a craft IPA in hand than spend hours at the mall.
- Men don’t follow fashion trends. Men can explain what a Hemi is, recite the ERA of their favorite pitcher, differentiate an ale from a lager and beat grizzly bears in a wrestling match but they don’t follow fashion trends. This leads to a certain unspoken level of insecurity about not knowing what to buy.
- When men do buy something, good luck finding a perfect fit. Let’s be honest. We’re not all built like David Beckham. The traditional solution is to offer skinny, slim, trim, tailored, modern, regular, athletic, classic and traditional fit (among others you’ll find at any department store) and expect the average guy to know which fit they are in each brand. It’s confusing. And it still may not fit right. Men are lumberjacks. We’re bear wrestlers. We ride Harleys. We play rugby against wild wolverines. We want a perfect fit but our unique bodies make it a challenge.
By the 17th glass of bourbon, they said: “What the hell. Let’s do it.” And just like that, a lunch conversation between a marketing exec in the tech space and the former COO of a major clothing brand led to the genesis of 8/omakase.
*while this story is based on 100% true events, alcohol consumption levels may or may not have been exaggerated.