Try your best to understand how you are going to market your product to bring in sales Talk to others that have succeeded in doing so. There are a companies that will tell you they know how to turn a profit, but you get very little return for the money spent. Plan on it taking a lot longer than you think to develop everything from fabric to packaging.
As part of my series about “individuals and organizations making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Audie Cooper Lead designer for Nic Tailor Custom Underwear.
Audie Cooper has a plethora of experience in the garment industry and was part of the design team for the likes of Ralph Lauren, amongst several other notable brands. A native of Charlotte, NC, Audie was brought on board the team at Nic Tailor to spearhead the customization and design for the brand. Their mission is to change the game of the undergarment industry by setting a philanthropic standard, and they’ve done exactly that with campaigns for Prostate Cancer Foundation, as well as their Men’s Body Positivity Campaign.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I have always enjoyed the process of seeing an idea or thought becoming a real finished product, from working on projects around the house to
seeing finished garments become another piece to help build the brand.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?
Having worked in textiles for years I thought it was going to be easy to be “MADE IN THE USA,” but boy was I wrong. There is still textile
manufacturing here in the US but most will not even think of working with a start-up. We had to sell our idea for Nic Tailor Underwear to every part of the business from yarn to garment sewing to get us off the ground.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Working on our “Dry Fly” product, this garment is for men who are going through prostate treatment or have completed surgery. The garmentcatches moisture. It is not an incontinence product, but it does catch leaks. In the process of trying to find the correct fabric to capture the moisture, I went from a fabric that was so stiff that it felt like you were wearing sports equipment (cup, to put it plainly) to a pair of underwear that felt like you were in a wet diaper. Finally finding the correct fabric that was built to attract and wick moisture from the fiber to the actual construction to a soft hand finished material.
Can you describe how you or your organization is making a significant social impact?
At Nic Tailor, we’re helping to bring business back to the small manufacturing companies in the US, and making sure that the companies pay a living wage. Our yarn is from Georgia, knit in California, with elastic from Virginia. The product is cut and sewn here in North Carolina.
Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?
We have many customers that love our “Dry Fly” underwear — most are those who have dealt with the problem for years. The feedback we get from most is that they really like that it looks just like regular underwear. That component is important to us.
Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
Continue to help support local businesses, help them grow and most importantly, help them survive; especially in our current climate.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Lead by example, and be willing to help solve problems. Be patient and listen.
Setting the waistband on underwear is difficult to learn. The band is set in the round and the machine has to be set for each size — we have 21 sizes of underwear (28 to 48 in both even and odd sizes). Working together it took us about a week to get this in production.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Try your best to understand how you are going to market your product to bring in sales Talk to others that have succeeded in doing so.
There are a companies that will tell you they know how to turn a profit, but you get very little return for the money spent. Plan on it taking a lot longer than you think to develop everything from fabric to packaging.
Plan on learning new computer programs — from how inventory is tracked to how you ship. We are on our 3rd shipping program.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Give respect to each other.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Being a closeted gay man in my younger years I know what discrimination is.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
There are many great people from the past that I would be on that list, from Leonardo da Vinci to David Bowie, just people with great creative minds.
Currently it would include, Tom Patterson the founder from Tommy John, Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, and Dolly Parton, I would love a chanceto pick their brains.
How can our readers follow you on social media? You can find us on IG at @nictailorunderwear as well as Facebook
This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!