In life, four years marks a number of big occasions.
College Graduation (well hopefully)
And today, Ledbury’s Birthday.
Four years ago, we launched our business out of a second-story converted tobacco warehouse in Richmond. There were two of us, and like all small businesses owners, we played the roles of customer service, warehouse manager, photographer, model (in retrospect a poor choice), designer, marketing director and CEO. We had a small showroom on the second floor above a French restaurant that cooked truffle fries every day at noon. If you bought a shirt in 2010, chances are it smelled slightly of truffle fries.
When an early customer walked in and one of us wasn’t actually wearing a shirt, we decided it was time to hire a third. Ashley came on board and started setting us straight. Soon after, the customers who had bought one shirt came back and bought three and four more. A few of our favorite magazines and newspapers took notice, and our small brand was born.
Fast forward four years and we are far from an empire, but by some miracle our small start-up has transformed into a strong business. Our staff of three has grown to 23 people. Good, passionate people whose commitment to building something greater than themselves shocks us on a nearly daily basis. In a single day this November, we sold roughly as much as in our entire first year of business. We have gone from shirts to belts to sweaters and blazers, and the vision that we have for Ledbury in our heads is slowly unfolding on the pages of our lookbooks and in the closets of our customers. It is all a little surreal, and we feel truly blessed by it all.
For our fifth year, our business plan remains the same as it has for the last four. “Make incredible shirts. Truly spoil customers.” We are convinced that if we continue to make great clothes and that Ledbury customers continue to feel loved and appreciated, everything else will fall into place. The strategy is just that simple.
A week ago, we were with handful of staff and friends, and members of the group assembled were asked to stand up and say something great about themselves. The winning response was a simple one, “everything great about me is the direct result of other people.” Pretty powerful statement, and at the end of the day, it is how we truly feel about our business. All the great things about Ledbury are a direct result of others. Our staff, suppliers, investors, customers and friends. These are the people who have carried us the last four years and the ones that we will always thank for making this dream a reality.
Looking forward to the next four years and many more.
Paul and Paul