Custom Clothier Enters Menswear Accessories Industry
A brand new product called Swiss Stays—a high-end collar stay—is about to hit the menswear industry. A newcomer to the menswear accessories market, Astor & Black Custom Clothiers Founder David Schottenstein surprisingly did not have to “sell” his product to investors—he simply showed them the product and they asked where to sign. The Swiss Stays product, Mr. Schottenstein says, “speaks for itself.”
The target demographic for Swiss Stays is “massive,” Mr. Schottenstein believes. “Any guy who wears a dress shirt will want a set of Swiss Stays. Regardless if he’s wearing a high-end shirt, such as one purchased from Brioni or Astor & Black, or a more moderately priced shirt from Macy’s or JCPenny, every gentleman needs Swiss Stays to avoid looking like he forgot to finish getting dressed.”
With the collar stays hitting the market early next month, Mr. Schottenstein is hoping for a strong first year with projected sales in the $2 million range. “If people catch on quickly and Swiss Stays sell really well, we could break $3 million,” he says. Projected wholesale sales are even greater.
As one might imagine, there is a lot of competition. Most department stores that sell menswear also sell collar stays for their dress shirts. This doesn’t faze the entrepreneur, though, who says his product outshines that of the other brands. “The problem is that our competitors’ products make the collar stand up a bit too tall, which looks unnatural. Not everybody likes that look. Swiss Stays, on the other hand, keep your collar looking crisp whether you’re wearing a tie or not. When you’re going for a more casual look—an open, loose tie or tieless collar, for example—the Swiss Stays maintains that sharp look for you.”
The Swiss Stays have already received tremendously positive feedback. Reports the owner: “Every man who has tried our product says he loves the one-size-fits-all collar stay in whichever material his was made.”
There are many options of materials for Swiss Stays; they come in sterling silver, mother of pearl, hard plastic credit card-like material, and brass carbon fiber.
The inventor is confident that the product will gain strong traction in the market despite his limited portfolio of inventions—the collar stay is his first. “Over the years I’ve learned that in business it’s sometimes better to be an expert at one thing than to be mediocre at many things,” he shares. “If you focus on many things, you’ll be an expert on nothing. I think its good that we have focused and honed in on Swiss Stays. The quality is therefore top notch. Of course, we would be making more money were we to sell more items, but ultimately, we are doing our customers, ourselves, and our brand a service by focusing on Swiss Stays.”
Are there any plans for additional inventions on the horizon for Mr. Schottenstein? Future accessories? The native Ohioan doesn’t think so. “Not unless I invent something groundbreaking that everyone has to have—something revolutionary. I’m not for selling something you can buy anywhere.”
“I’m in the business of selling only that which consumers must have. My focus is to produce products of high quality that you cannot find anywhere else,” the expert says.
The Swiss Stays collar stays will be sold in stores beginning next month and will be available for purchase on www.SwissStays.com.