Today we had a chance to sit down with the co-founders of Great Lakes Collection, the newest and freshest apparel collection to hit the Great Lakes. Great Lakes Collection focuses on it’s midwestern roots to deliver quality apparel that is both high quality and unique.
10,000 Lakes: Growing up in Minnesota, did you guys feel a need for a clothing brand that represented where you’re from?
Great Lakes Collection: The Midwest is definitely underrepresented in terms of clothing brands. We have a unique culture defined by our love for lakes, spending quality time with family at cabins and enjoying the beauty of America’s heartland. We work hard but always find time to enjoy the finer things in life. These are a few of the values for which Great Lakes is built from.
10,000 Lakes: How is Great Lakes Collection different than most clothing brands?
Great Lakes Collection: While we’re building a brand known for premium quality and a lifestyle created from our Midwestern heritage, our primary focus has been on product development and customer experience. We want to provide the market with beautiful and durable products created from a company who truly believes in quality. Another thing we find very important is creating the best possible customer experience. From visiting our website to quick and easy ordering and hassle-free returns we want to make their experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. GL also has a passion for helping keep our beautiful lakes clean. (You can read more on the “our promise” part of our website. Lastly, we believe in challenging the current level of quality in the apparel industry. Our goal is to create a company that creates products known for premium quality, comfort and a lifestyle woven from our Midwestern heritage. We just so happen to make shirts.
10,000 Lakes: Why is 100% American made so important to you?
Great Lakes Collection: Choosing to create our products in America has been one of the toughest challenges we’ve faced thus far. Sourcing American grown cotton and partnering with a manufacturer in San Francisco was tough to find but we believe the benefits heavily outweigh the alternative of manufacturing overseas. We have complete control over design and easy access to tweak or change something we may not like. Lead times are much lower which gives us more flexibility on the supply side of GL and gives us fewer
headaches when it comes to inventory management. We believe creating our shirts domestically also gives us an edge when it comes to quality. We want to help with the revival of American craftsmanship.
10,000 Lakes: How has the first year gone?
Great Lakes Collection: The first year has gone well so far. We have received positive feedback and our target market seems to like our vision for Great Lakes. While sourcing American cotton and finding a manufacturer was tough, another challenge we have faced is creating a lean supply chain as well as order fulfillment. Shipping everything in house is time consuming but necessary early on.
10,000 Lakes: What are you aspirations for the future?
Great Lakes Collection: We are currently in the process of finishing up the design of our polo shirt. We are very excited about this and believe it will help us get our foot in the door with retailers.
10,000 Lakes: What is the coolest thing about running your own business?
Great Lakes Collection: The flexibility as well as having complete control over the products we produce. It’s
also been fun meeting with important people in the industry like the owner of Tommy Bahama and the head of SJ Manufacturing who helped brands like Nike andLevi’s during their early stages.
Make sure to buy your apparel at: greatlakescollection.com
Make sure to follow us on Twitter @10000LakeLax
Make sure to follow them on Twitter @GL_Collection