Flint + Tinder owes its success to Kickstarter. Jake Bronstein wanted to make quality, affordable undergarments in the USA, and sought the help of the web community to achieve his goal. Within 30 days, Flint + Tinder had become the highest-funded fashion Kickstarter of all time—raising $291,493. For his second project, Bronstein turns his white-framed eyes towards the hooded sweatshirt. The 10-Year Hoodie is made from an 18 oz. cotton with bells and whistles like a three-piece hood, webbing to reinforce it and a decade-long guarantee. If it needs to be mended at any time, Flint + Tinder will repair any rips or tears the garment sustains. The hope is to promote not just American manufacturing, but clothes that are meant to stick around and be worn, not thrown away. We caught up with Bronstein and discussed his plans for Flint + Tinder, American production and if a hoodie is worth keeping around for 10 years.
There are some other small brands doing stuff here in the US, but we want to be a high volume manufacturer. Having produced millions of dollars worth of goods overseas, I was eager to do something different. But not if it didn't make sense. I don't want someone to have to pay more for something, or get less for their money, just because the item was made in America. In fact, I don't want them to buy it just because it was made here at all. What Flint and Tinder wants to be is your favorite pair of underwear. Why underwear though? It seemed like a good opportunity.
The first time we went on Kickstarter, we broke the record for the top funded fashion project. Honestly, at the time I was nervous. With the exception of American Apparel, the only manufacturers who'd produced men's underwear in those volumes had left the country years ago and they took nearly all of the equipment and expertise with them. So, while we'd sold a mountain of underwear, getting it made—and getting it made right—at that point, was going to be quite a challenge.
I'd actually been talking about the hoodie for years. I think it makes sense next to the underwear because of what it says about our brand and our values. What the 10-Year Hoodie (a sweatshirt built to last a lifetime, guaranteed for a decade, and backed with free mending) is supposed to say is that while most other manufactures have been outsourcing, offshoring and generally working to make things faster and cheaper for years, Flint and Tinder is different. We want you to buy less but get more. So we'll make a premium product, and we'll stand behind it in a way that most others won't. That you can send it back to us to have it stitched up in interesting ways in the very same factories where it was made in the first place, is interesting and fun. It means it's going to become more yours over time, the way your favorite sweatshirt should.
It's going to grow into you while you grow into it. And, should it ever need repairs, the work we'll put into it after the fact will be like tattoos for your sweatshirt. I think that's neat. Separate of all of that though, here's the deal: When my dad was young, if he bought something and it wasn't what it was meant to be, he would have gone back to the maker and they would make things right. These days, companies have systematically lowered your expectations to the point where, if something doesn't live up to its promise, you throw it in the back of a drawer and you never think of it again. It doesn't have to be that way though. We want to take you back to a place where you had the right to expect more.