Erin Berg and Kyle Moshrefi found their sense of style didn’t match store-bought offerings, so they created Kipper, a clothier that tailors masculine fashions to women’s bodies.
These dapper entrepreneurs shared the secrets of launching their brand with Lesbian.com.
What do you do and why?
Kyle and I started Kipper Clothiers in July 2013. Kipper Clothiers is a custom suiting and shirting venture focusing on making menswear for women accessible to the community. Kyle and I came together with a mutual passion for menswear that blossomed into Kipper Clothiers almost instantly. We were tired of seeing our friends struggle to find menswear that fit or looked good. We provide clothing to everyone along the gender spectrum, but use the word menswear specifically to provide a particular timeless aesthetic that has never been accessible to us.
What’s the single most important piece of advice you received when first starting your company? What would you tell a young entrepreneur in turn? What resources would you recommend to someone who is contemplating starting her own business?
The most important piece of advice would be to do your research. Find your local LGBTQ business organizations and reach out to them: for us it was the GGBA, StartOut, and other local small business owners. You can’t be afraid to admit what you don’t know and ask others for help. Kipper Clothiers has succeeded since day one because the first thing we did was find mentors in our field.
What aspect of business ownership came as the biggest surprise to you?
To be frank, Kyle and I liked the idea for Kipper Clothiers and ran with it. However, if you would have told me that I would be working 15 hours a day for the first year of the business, I would have had second thoughts. Starting a business is an all-consuming venture. That being said, I couldn’t be more happy that we jumped right in.
What do you find most rewarding about owning your own business?
When you work at larger businesses or corporations, there are separate departments for each aspect of the company. But at Kipper Clothiers, Kyle and I are in charge of everything. No marketing department, no accounting department, everything Kipper Clothiers produces, we create.
Where do you see yourself and your company in five years?
We get this question a lot and Kyle and I like to have the mantra “one suit at a time.” We have seen other companies grow too quickly and have that be their downfall. We like to give our clients the individual care and attention they deserve. Obviously, we eventually hope to expand nationally and have a casual ready-wear line of garments and accessories, but first we want to focus on our brick-and-mortar store in San Francisco located at 78 Gough Street.