On Thursday I received a mail from August, in which he wanted to introduce me to the joint project of him and his buddy Jakob: ASKET. Behind it lies a new Stockholm T-Shirt label, whose philosophy is based on timeless aesthetics, premium quality and a unique size system.
Two weeks ago the launch of ASKET took place on the “Crowdfunding” platform kickstarter. And it was a complete success for the two, because in only 19 hours they reached their goal and had more than 1,200 T-shirt sold to more than 550 people by Thursday – with one week remaining.
The campaign of the two of them convinced me too, and for this reason I wanted to give August the opportunity to lose a few words about ASKET and the vision behind it. Because I always find it interesting how to put ideas into practice and create something new. Now I give the word to August, have fun, with a look behind the scenes of ASKET.
The Idea Behind ASKET
The idea of ASKET originated from our own dissatisfaction about the offer of T-shirt. Despite the absurd variety of men’s fashion on the market, it is really difficult to find a perfectly fitting, high-quality and timeless T-shirt. If you find a t-shirt that combines all of this, it often comes from fine fashion houses and is marketed as a fashion item at prices of €80 upwards. Is it so hard to make something seem so simple right?
The fashion industry is so busy with the latest trends that you have long forgotten what made the T-shirt so unique: the elegance of simplicity and unassuming. But apart from the trend-setting delirium, two other fundamental problems stand in the way of our standards of quality, fit and price: the size system and the sales model.
The XS-XL standard system comes from the physical distribution where one has to stick to the limitations of expensive shop space and therefore tries to squeeze as many people as possible into as few sizes as possible. As a pure online brand, we do not have to stick to it and have therefore developed fifteen instead of the normal five sizes. We supplement each standard size by a long and a short version: You are tall and slim and you need the length of the L but the width of the M? Then you will find the perfect fit at ASKET in the M Long.
The second problem in the industry is the value chain – the way of the shirt from the cotton to the shop. The production cost of a premium T-shirt is just € 8 on average, but it is sold for around € 80. What does the customer really pay? For intermediaries, expensive shops and pompous marketing campaigns. We dispense with exaggerated marketing and sell directly to our customers, exclusively in our own online shop. Thus the price of our T-shirt, which is made in the same production sites and made of even finer material, ends at € 30 instead of € 80.
The Asket T-Shirt
We strive for perfection in quality and fit, not to make afterwards from our clothing status symbols. So we can offer high quality t-shirts at a very fair price. By removing all superfluous, we can invest in the highest quality production processes and materials. The fabric of the ASKET T-shirt is made of 100% combed, Egyptian cotton. It is gentle but at the same time sturdy to keep long and to give a masculine form together with our classic cut.
Both Jakob and I are both originally from the business and have worked with e-commerce companies such as Klarna, Rocket Internet and Zalando. Without formal training in fashion design or textiles, it was a great challenge at first to learn everything about product development. We have intensively dealt with this, and what we still lack in technical expertise is made up by competent partners and a strong vision.
The Kickstarter Campaign And Other Challenges
In the middle of April we started a so-called crowdfunding campaign on kickstarter to sell enough t-shirts to cover the start costs of our production. The reception was absolutely overwhelming. In just 19 hours we had reached our goal and hundreds of people from all corners of the world wrote to us to express their enthusiasm about our project. When you start something new, these personal messages and compliments are extremely important. We have always believed in the concept but now we have the express confirmation of our customers and are even more motivated to leave our impression in the fashion industry.
Although we have sold four times as much as we hoped, we are faced with many other challenges. We must bring our brand, our philosophy and the high quality of our products closer to the customer without the physical reference. It is similar to the large system. Although it is intuitive and understandable, there is the basic problem of finding the right size while online shopping without having to try on the garment. With the standard sizes it is because customers often fall between two sizes and therefore have to order both.
With our system, we are able to solve this problem and hope, even though we have more sizes, to make the choice easier for the customer. We offer our virtual kicker supporters a virtual size comparison over normal size tables. For the planned Online shop, we will develop a “Size-Finder” which requires only common information such as body size, weight and trouser size. We want to make the shopping experience even more worry-free for the customer.