It feels really great when I can find a better way to do something and then share it with others. A better way that makes sense for them, solves a real problem and, more importantly, makes a measurable difference in their life! That’s my WHY and the driving force behind the creation of Otero Menswear.
I did not come from an apparel background and have no direct experience in the industry, but I have spent a lifetime frustrated with clothes that have not fit me properly. So in my own way, I consider myself an expert in the apparel space. I knew what I wanted to achieve: clothes that actually fit not just my height, and size, but most importantly my body type. And like most men, I did not want to have to take measurements or photos from someone to analyze, I just wanted to point-and-click my way to the best fit possible. And that is what we have created at Otero.
From a business perspective, I realized why this has not been done, and it is simply a matter of inventory and cost. As a compromise, most brands provide an average length, and average body type, and XS-XXL sizes. This means at most they have 6 items of inventory per design. But to achieve my ideal, of designing by specific height ranges and specific body types, there would be at least 21 different items per design. I get it! Who wants to manage such complexity?
Fortunately, that is right in line with my background in international business and global supply chain management. So I knew it could be done and it could be done successfully without drowning in piles of excess inventory. So we created a very unique business model. We decided to carry as a standard offering the 3 garments of which every man has 5-10 of in their closet: Polos, T-shirts, and Jeans. We decided we were going to make the best quality fashion forward garments in the market utilizing the best cottons and denim. And I believe we have achieved our aim.
But I did not want to stop there. I love really cool accessories. I am known for wearing “man-bags” (regardless of what others call them), bracelets, great belts, and wallets. I have always thought that accessories really help define a man’s look. So we searched and searched until we found the right old-world manufacturer of full-grain leather goods and together we have designed some awesome accessories which I love and wear and I know our customers will love.
Lastly, I have wants and I know our customers have wants. So we will round out our offering by introducing from time-to-time limited edition limited volume specialty items. For instance, we will create the best white button down shirt you can find utilizing the finest of Italian Cottons. But you must get it while you can. For once it is gone, it is gone. Then we will move to the next “want” – perhaps a jean jacket or sweater. I think our customers will help us choose these limited edition wants. But everything will conform to our 3D Proportional sizing methodology guaranteeing the best off-the-rack fit a man can find.
I am personally so excited to be on this journey and I think Otero Menswear will make a lot of men not just happy, but solidly confident in their look and help each man project the best image of the man he really is.
After spending a decade doing environmental research and analytical chemistry, I first met Steve when he hired me to work for his team at IBM in 1998. We spent the next 6 years chasing electronics parts and supporting manufacturing around the globe, until the tech crash in 2003-4 sent us in separate directions. We kept in touch over the years, occasionally crossing paths for business.
At 5'8" (more like 5'7" now that my over-50 body has started shrinking), I've struggled my whole life to find clothes that fit well. I was a weightlifter through HS and college and I also wrestled a bit. I had size-XL shoulders and a size-S waist on a size-M height frame. Absolutely nothing fit me off the rack. I even had to buy my suits as separates and they still needed to be altered. Forget about finding anything stylish in a simple t-shirt or Polo. And who wants to spend money at the tailor altering a t-shirt?
Fast forward to today and although I've lost some bulk in my upper body (and gained some in the middle, unfortunately), it's still rare that anything fits me off the rack. Anything that fits my shoulders is way too long to wear untucked (who wants to tuck in a t-shirt on the weekend?) and even when tucked, my size-L shirts still have too much room at the waist.
It's easy to understand why I didn't need much convincing when Steve called me with the idea of starting Otero.