LOS ANGELES — A former Dell executive is applying a tried-and-true strategy of the PC world to apparel.
Dustin Hindman, founder and chief executive officer of Austin-based Trunkist, is looking to tap the loyal followings of digital influencers he calls “branders” to help them bring limited-edition collections to market.
“We work with new branders, and by new branders, I’m referring to the new media stars,” Hindman said. “They have a social media following and are good at connecting with their audience in deep and meaningful ways. Each new brander that we work with brings their own unique audience with them.”
Trunkist helps with the design and product-development process and then contracts work out to any number of manufacturers it partners with in the U.S., South America and Asia. The company also handles logistics and ships worldwide. Product is not made until after a pre-order period ends.
“At Trunkist, we’re applying the Dell build-it model to the fashion industry,” Hindman said. “And in that model, you never produce anything unless there’s demand for that thing. [For example], Urban Beardsman doesn’t want to go and purchase inventory and hope it sells. They want to do the Dell build-to-order model, which is in our world, the cut-to-order model. We then batch production.”
The company last month brought on Kristan Glass, former global vice president of women’s wear design at Tommy Hilfiger, to be chief creative officer. Glass relocated from New York to the company’s offices in Austin, where Trunkist is part of the Capital Factory accelerator program.
Trunkist, which launched out of beta in June, thinks its competitive advantage are the digital influencers it partners with on lines.
“New branders are obviously good at marketing,” Hindman said. “They built a loyal following through their marketing efforts.”
The company has several partnerships in the pipeline, with three new collaborations timed to become available Nov. 30.
The first is a three-piece capsule from blogger Rebecca Stice. Trunkist also partnered with The Everyman, started by Austin Fashion Week founder Matt Swinney, for a wool men’s pant and The Modest Man on a button-down shirt.
Next year brings collaborations with four designers from season 14 of “Project Runway”: Kelly Dempsey, Amanda Perna, Lindsey Creel and Duncan Chambers-Watson.
A collection launching Valentine’s Day with Catherine Lowe from “The Bachelor,” rounds out the latest planned collaborations.
The company’s target price range goal is to keep items around $75 to $200.