“When I first conceived the idea for a boxer short company, two things seemed immediately obvious. First, that the manufacturing would need to be outsourced; I had never sewn a button, seen a factory or even (sufficiently) pressed a garment. And second, that the manufacturing would take place overseas. After all, wasn’t everything these days manufactured outside Britain?
I jotted down some of my concerns onto a piece of paper. How was I going to find someone to make my garments? How would I ensure the quality was up to scratch – not just the first time but consistently? How was I going to ensure that conditions at the factory met all the right standards?
Then one day my business took a very different turn. On a trip down Jermyn Street (one of London’s most famous streets for men’s tailoring and shirts.) I spoke with a few shirtmakers about the science of boxer shorts. How were they made?
Traditionally, I learned, boxer shorts were made using surplus fabric from shirts. The idea that some sartorial gents would order a collection of bespoke shirts and ask for the remaining fabric to be made into boxers struck a chord with me. I loved the idea.
And so Sir Plus was born: a company that uses off-cuts and surplus fabrics to make exceptional garments.
Looking now at the business, it’s hard to imagine one with characteristics that are more British. The majority of the fabrics we use are woven in England and are sourced in the UK; 90% of the garments are made in the UK; and the style of the clothing is very British.
Therefore it was important that the branding would communicate this message effectively. The name was our starting point. Sir Plus neatly encapsulates what we do, with some wordplay that hints at our sense of humour, whilst respectfully raising its hat to Grand Britain.
By the time it came to designing our logo, I had already spent considerable time sourcing the fabric and had learnt that the slang within the industry for surplus fabric is “cabbage.” So the logo was to be a cabbage with a top hat. The top hat represents our formality, tradition and history, and the cabbage? Well, our sense of humour!
If you were to come and visit the Sir Plus stall (at Portobello, or one of the many retail shows we do across the country), the display is very in keeping with the brand. Think old wine crates, antique furniture and vintage sewing machines. However it can be harder to communicate your brand online than it is in person. We chose the domain www.sirplus.co.uk as it sets us apart from the .com stratosphere, and .co.uk is a trusted domain which in turn helps our customers to trust us.Customers need to have confidence online because they’re handing over their money before actually seeing the product in the flesh. Having a .co.uk helps us promote our British values and commitment to making quality products using materials sourced in the UK.
The cabbage and top hat grace our marketing material along with the slogan “Made in England from Cabbage.” This engages with our customers. Those who know about cabbage smile; those who don’t look it up on our site and engage further with our brand.
How does Sir Plus promote the Britishness of the brand? In truth, we just promote the brand. The Britishness is inherently and irrevocably a part of that brand: running through the founder and the fabrics, the story and the supply chain, the concept and the top-hatted cabbage.”
To take the first step towards your online success story with .co.uk, or for general tips and advice, visit: www.agreatplacetobe.co.uk. Follow @dotuk on Twitter