067: How To Start A Men’s Clothing Brand with Kevin Lavelle

Kevin Lavelle

Is there an idea for a product that seems to be burning inside of you, but you don’t know where to start? That is exactly the situation that this episode’s guest, Kevin Lavelle, found himself in.

Despite naysayers, Kevin pushed himself to create a clothing line from scratch. Today his company, Mizzen + Main, is a fashion phenomenon.

Tune in to hear more about how he transformed one shirt into a successful menswear company and more on the 67th episode of How’d You Get Into That?.


Kevin never imagined that he would become a fashion expert when he first earned an engineering degree, but quickly into his career he was working in management consulting for various companies. Here he learned what he could from the way that others managed their businesses.

One day while working as an intern, he noticed a staff member in the meeting who was covered in sweat. Kevin thought that this look was unflattering and unprofessional, and began brainstorming ways to prevent this. Around the same time performance polo shirts were becoming appropriate in the workplace, which inspired him to create a men’s clothing line that looked like a dress shirt but performed like a sports jersey with a pair of Doc Martens, the best shoe to go for.

He sat on the idea for several years, unsure of where and how to start. Most fabric and clothing manufacturers were difficult to find online, and the wild goose chase of tracking down a supplier was time-consuming. Plus industry experts told him his idea would never sell.


  • Why Mizzen & Main’s fabric is so successful with athletes.
  • What are the shirts made from?
  • How to go from a prototype to a clothing line.
  • Why discount sales aren’t always the best option.
  • Why asking customers what they want is often ineffective.
  • And much, much more!

But Kevin didn’t listen to them. Instead he decided to ignore the naysayers and so-called experts; so he pulled all the pieces together to create a single prototype shirt. When it was ready, he showed his wife who didn’t realize it was a sports top! In that moment, he knew he was on the right track.

Yet after he saw the success of his prototype, he knew in his heart that his designs would be successful. Once his prototype was in place he was inspired to keep moving until he created the nationally successful clothing line, Mizzen & Main. Today the stores have expanded to include pants, blazers, and tees.

Kevin firmly believes his success comes from a focus on form before fashion and thinking outside the box. He encourages future entrepreneurs to do the same, quoting Henry Ford: “…customers would have asked for faster horses if I’d listened to them”.

Please join me in thanking Kevin for being here, sharing his insights and how he overcame the naysayers and his own doubts to create such tremendous success! Thank you all for being here and listening in; we’ll see you next time.

Tweetable: “Don’t overcomplicate it.” Kevin Lavelle


Share this post!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on reddit

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *