Interview with Maurice Malone

Face2Face
Maurice Malone
Maurice Malone
Denim designer
Williamsburg Garment Company
Williamsburg Garment Company

What is your take on new blends and colours in denim that has also seen the rise of jeggings?

I would like to see us do more printed fabrics, especially for the summer months.

Which is the one style in jeans that can never go out of date?

With the growth of the Internet and so many people seeing so many things, style is no longer driven by any industry. People all over the world can find what they are into and it is likely that someone offers that. So, I think the days of things going in and out of style are over. That said, the standard straight leg jean is the most timeless fit when it comes to denim. Fits trend and descend in popularity, but the basic straight has stood the test of time. At WGC, we strive for tradition. The major philosophy behind this brand is to not to give the consumer a reason to say no. We stripped our jeans of everything that may turn people away because clean and classic will last forever.

Which brands in the United States of America provide the most authentic true blue jeans?

Someone who is not knowledgeable about denim would think the oldest brands would be the obvious choice. They do not realise that these brands are now mainly producing jeans not made in the United States of America. Obviously, we are a bit biased, but WGC is one of the few brands that offers modern, wearable jeans of top quality with fits that appeal to all consumers.

How has the market for jeans evolved in the United States of America? What are your views on the current market?

Denim remains an essential part of people's wardrobe. Leggings have taken a good portion of denim away in the women's market while joggers have done the same to a lesser effect in the men's market. However, more men find clean, dark denim more suitable for business casual wear. As far as style, I don't see skinny going anywhere but I do see more people opting for loose fits as an alternative look.

With Made in USA back in trend, what is the growth story you envisage?

We plan to be a top maker of US denim in the world, the brand everyone thinks of when thinking of American denim. We have grown by staying small and maximising our efforts. The easiest way to go out of business is to be too big or expand too fast.

At what rate is the jeans market growing in the United States of America? What are your expectations from it for the next two years?

I am not a researcher to give you market numbers but I can give historical facts. Denim will be strong in the foreseeable future, just like it has been in the past.

From where do you source raw material?

Our denim is sourced from three main suppliers. About 92 per cent is from Cone denim which is made in the United States of America, about five per cent from Kuroki while three per cent is Kaihara denim, made in Japan.

What is your manufacturing capacity?

Our factory is just starting. Our goal is to produce the WGC collection and start small with other brands to give us time to learn, perfect and optimise our production process.

What are your plans for the company this year?

This year, we are expanding into knit garments and core wardrobe essentials like T-shirts, sweatshirts, joggers, leggings and socks. We are moving most production in-house. Too many times, suppliers we relied on fell way behind with delivery timelines, which makes us look bad to our customers. Our slogan is: We have a clear, focused vision: To be the world's favourite American Denim Brand. 

That cannot be achieved with late deliveries. We now have our own manufacturing arm. We intend to grow and market the new manufacturing company the way it should be done in today's market.

How much do you invest in R&D every year?

We do not waste much money on R&D. Timelines are short and experimenting can be expensive. We have ideas and take them into production, starting small and safe with new products.

How has the performance of your company been this fiscal? At what percentage are you expecting to grow in the next fiscal?

We have seen a small percentage growth each year. I believe the company has nearly topped out in numbers it can reach as a one-man company, so I have taken on help this year. Our growth now is only limited by our credit limits. In the current banking situation, we have seen credit lines grow slower than anticipated, so part of my focus this year will be to look for financial institutions that will work with our company to help us maximise our potential.

Any suggestions for those planning to manufacture and sell items in the United States of America?

Run a smart, small and tight business. Start a business built to do business today, not yesterday.
Published on: 28/04/2017

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of Fibre2Fashion.com.

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