Since the first patent was filed by Levi Strauss & Co. in 1873, blue jeans have been a wardrobe staple. From bell-bottoms to “mom jeans,” denim has cycled through countless trends — and the latest transformation in jeans is happening right here in Pittsburgh.
But don’t expect new washes or flashy embellishments: Revtown is bringing denim back to its roots. The online shop, which launched last week, offers just two styles of jeans and four varieties of shirts. For now, all the clothing is styled for men, but there are plans to create a women’s line by next year.
The Revtown founding team includes three former Under Armour executives — Henry Stafford, Steve Battista and Matt Maasdam — whose combined experiences make them a merchandising and ecommerce juggernaut.
Revtown CEO Henry Stafford says his time with Under Armour was eye-opening because it gave him an inside look at how athletic apparel companies approach product design and got him thinking of ways to apply the function and performance of athletic pants to denim.
“It took over a year to develop our first pair of jeans,” says Stafford, who conducted in-depth research to get it right.
The result: Decade Denim™, a proprietary fabric blend of premium Italian cotton and elastane for enhanced durability, mobility and comfort.
“We believe in really great materials and really great style that will last for years and years at an unbelievable price,” says Stafford, noting that comparable designer jeans run $200 to $300 a pair, while Revtown’s jeans are $75 a pop — a modest increase over the price of a pair of classic Levi’s.
“Our price point is close to the big players,” says Stafford, “but truly innovative and higher quality.”
Revtown is able to offer superior quality at a lower price because of its business model, which eliminates the inventory, capital and infrastructure costs associated with a brick-and-mortar location. By keeping the company strictly online, Stafford says, “our operations are really lean and our manufacturing network is very fast. Our lead times are 30 days where our competitors’ lead times are six to eight months.”
Another advantage is the company’s small product line.
According to Stafford, his experience bears out the 80/20 rule of sales, which states that 90 percent of revenues and 100 percent of profits come from just 10 percent of the products.
Jeans come in two fits: Automatic, a loose-fitting, go-to style for casual wear, and Sharp, a more structured, crisp fit, perfect for dress-down days at the office — or every day. (Survey and focus group respondents told Revtown that they wear jeans four out of five work days, on average.) Shirts — all made from a Pima cotton and elastane blend — are available in polo, Henley, V-neck and crew neck styles. Customers can buy any of the products individually, or curate a “crate” with two pairs of jeans and two shirts (Revtown will toss in an extra shirt on the house.)
Stafford says that when the idea for Revtown first came about, words like “revitalizing,” “revolutionizing” and “reveling” kept popping up in conversation. The “Rev” part of its name refers to all three. But the “town” part is all about Pittsburgh.
“We think Pittsburgh is an amazing place to start a business now,” says Stafford, citing the city’s robust startup talent resources, technology and automated manufacturing. Besides, Stafford notes, he and the company’s COO, Chris Lust, are both Pittsburgh natives.
“We want to be Pittsburgh’s jeans company,” he says, “the brand that makes the world’s best jeans.”