We find a group of people who are excited to test clothing and tell us their opinions to improve it.
We sell it (heavily discounted) to them.
We get their feedback through phone calls, surveys, and social media ($10 cash back to anyone who posts a video review).
Then we fix the shirt based on the feedback from our users, and manufacture slightly more shirts in our second batch.
And repeat this process, probably forever.
For those of you who work in tech: we're taking a software development approach (MVP, rapid iteration, Agile) and applying it to clothing.
You know that one piece of clothing you wear all the time because it's made really well?
Maybe it's a shirt that's perfect for any occasion, pants that fit your ass like a glove, or shorts with a secret pocket.
Well, we only want to design stuff like that. High-quality, utilitarian, durable, and as a result, beautiful.
Why can't you just design it then? Why ask for user feedback?
If our goal was to quickly sell a bunch of clothes, we would look at fashion trends, and have a factory essentially copy the best-selling designs of competitors in our market.
But if our goal is to create a shirt that our users will love for years to come, then we would focus all of our attention on one product at a time, ask for a lot of user feedback, and make improvements.
Won't customers have outdated products?
Yes, but we're not planning on placing large production orders (100 units or more) until we've iterated to a version that we're satisfied with. Early versions of products will only comprise a small percentage of our final total.
We're compensating early users with 20% off our first batch and lifetime discounts. If Merit scales successfully, early customers will also receive 10 free shirts.