Trestlethorn.com was created to make shopping for men’s fashion and lifestyle accessories easier. We set out to create an experience that simplifies finding those last couple of pieces that tie your aesthetic together. Trestlethorn filters products by style, body type, and purpose rather than just basic color/size, so that you can make sure you can find exactly what you are looking for. We want to create the feel of an online personal stylist so that you can be confident that what you are purchasing will not only fit your setting but complement your specific style and body type.
We focus on products for men because resources and shops specifically for men’s accessories aren’t readily available at all price points. Not everyone has or can afford a Rolex watch or a Gucci bag, but we can find items from the same manufacturing regions and a much higher value point. A nice-looking timepiece to complement an everyday work outfit, a custom piece of jewelry for a celebration or a sharp pair of sunglasses for a day at the beach can make you look and feel better. We want to provide these styles to everyone and make the experience as painless as possible. Through our website, we want to provide information about what products fit certain styles (i.e., what exactly business casual entails), and how you can make sure those styles fit you, both stylistically and physically.
How TrestleThorn.com was formed
Trestlethorn was founded by Jake and Mike Rubart in the winter of 2021. While Mike has been a software developer since 2002, Jake is a University of Utah student with one attempted start-up under his belt. While stuck in quarantine, we came together trying to think of a way we could start some side hustle. We would joke about how incredible it would be to not work a normal 9-5, especially when we had to miss a particularly great powder day of snowboarding. The actual idea came during a dinner in 2021 when we were talking about how hard it is to shop for guys, especially as Jake had to find accessories for a wedding he was attending in July of 2022. This is when Trestlethorn was born, trying to make it easier for guys to perfect their style both in their fashion and in their homes.
Before deciding to become an entrepreneur, Jake felt the pains of trying to shop for men’s accessories. “At 6’7”, even finding sunglasses that wouldn’t look like they came from the children’s section was a struggle. I remember spending hours comparing the sizes of the frames, as well as what styles complimented my face. After about a week of searching, I finally landed on a pair from Amazon. When they arrived, I put them on and looked in the mirror, finding that they were the right size, but looked and felt cheap. That feeling of resignation was pretty familiar, from finding t-shirts that fit like a tent instead of ending at my belly button, to watches that again looked like they were found in the children’s section. This made me not really try and dress well for years, and therefore I hated how I looked, but I didn’t feel like I had much of a choice. The other option was to shop at a specialty store for the big and tall, but most of the clothing was overpriced and not great quality.” This was the problem, either get stuff that kinda sorta fits for a decent price, or get very expensive items that weren’t great quality. That feeling of resignation is what motivated us to start Trestlethorn, so that everyone, regardless of style or body type, can look and feel good every time they get ready in the morning.
The challenges TrestleThorn is facing
The biggest challenges we face are the reliability of our vendors and trying to gain traction in the extremely competitive eCommerce space that is the internet. Being able to bring new product lines to the market in a way that satisfies our high standards of style, quality, and price quickly and reliably will also be a challenge. Initially, we will not be able to locally warehouse many products so will need to lean on quality producers and warehouse services to help build our business. Globally shipping products have a lot of moving parts to be successful and with the latest supply line interruptions, things can go wrong that are completely out of our control. We are also competing with online behemoths that are already the go-to for online shopping. Amazon, for example, may have extremely similar styles for a similar price but doesn’t have the middle layer like Treastlethorn to ensure that products meet our standards, or have the same filters and information about what products work with your personal needs.
The opportunities in front of TrestleThorn
One of the greatest opportunities we have is access to an incredible amount of vendors, and therefore we can make sure we offer everything and anything one might need. It’s only pretty recently that the majority of men have started to improve their style and try to look and feel nice. This is evident in any major department store, as their men’s section has grown exponentially in the last 5-10 years. Regardless, it’s still very hard to find exactly what you are looking for without wandering malls for hours and hoping you can stumble upon that final piece that ties everything together. We can provide more options than anyone because we don’t have a limited sales floor, and therefore provide something for everyone, from the lawyer to the lumberjack. By operating solely online, we can quickly change our catalog to offer the latest fashion trends without having to sacrifice the more timeless pieces. We can also leverage the filtering power available only online, to make it easier to pick exactly what people are looking for. Whether that means a watch that is appropriate for a black tie event or suggesting a pair of sunglasses to compliment someone’s body type and face shape. In effect, we create an experience, much like having an online personal stylist, that will make sure that not only will the products be appropriate for specific events, but also compliment body types and face shapes. All of this will allow us to pivot easily and provide exactly what customers want, without a lot of up-front investment. By operating solely online and utilizing a wide variety of vendors and their warehouses, we can avoid the cost of a brick-and-mortar establishment and employees at the beginning. This will allow us to invest a lot back into product research, advertising, and the website itself without having to worry about supporting the entire infrastructure ourselves.
Advice to other businesses
- Building your branding is incredibly important, especially in the internet age. Making sure everything feels professional is just the beginning. You have to create a lasting impression. You need to make customers feel like they are a part of something greater. People who wear Patagonia want to feel like they are a part of an outdoor community, just like how people who use Gucci bags want to show their love and knowledge of fashion. By appealing to people’s emotions, the Pathos, you can create a connection to and create a loyal customer base who will spread your word as well as inform your future direction.
- Do your research and then do it again. Understanding what challenges you will likely face will help you prepare for when those challenges do present themselves as well as other challenges that crop up. Understand that the classic story of someone who quits their job working 40 hours a week for something else so they could work 80 hours a week for themselves is steeped in truth.
- It’s empowering, yet hard. There are a lot of nuances, especially with an online space. Lots of tools and lots of ways to not configure them correctly.
- When you have a small team building something big, that means a steep learning curve, learning new skills, and wearing many hats.
- Constancy is key if you can’t fund your project to be your full-time job right away. You want to set a schedule that you can work with to keep a good work-life balance so you don’t burn yourself out before you start making good progress. We found dedicating 2-4 hours a day, 4-5 days a week worked well. When we started setting deadlines, milestones and goals is when we saw the biggest leaps in progress.
- Supplier relationships are key, if vendors know who you are and what you are about, they will be much more willing to work with you on prices, quantities, shipping time frames, and costs.
Creating a lasting first impression can make or break a relationship, professionally or otherwise. Trestlethorn.com was created so everyone can perfect their style, ensuring you look and feel your best regardless of what life throws at you.
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