Inspiration

Rails : A Fashion Outsider Created a Million Dollar Brand

Jeff Abrams, graduated from University of California Berkeley with a Political Science degree. Having no background in fashion, she started pursuing his passion. In the year 2008 with a single black hat selling door-to-door. He formed his global lifestyle brand Rails for women, men and children which today available in more than fifty countries by more than fifteen hundred retailers with $350 dollars in sales to date.

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Rails Founder, Jeff Abrams (Source: Rails)

“I started Rails in 2008 with no technical background in fashion. It was really in my twenties travelling across Europe where I began to conceptualize what would become the Rails collection. I envisioned a brand that blended the refined global aesthetic I found abroad with the innate effortlessness of the Southern California lifestyle. I had no previous experience or family tie to the fashion industry, so I had to blaze my own trail. I was looking for a way to jumpstart the brand, while I learned the ins and outs of designing a full collection. I sewed the word Rails onto a single black hat and walked into stores unannounced trying to get orders. I got into Fred Segal and the hat quickly sold out, but I knew I needed to evolve beyond a single item. The collection began with a limited unisex offering, but I quickly transitioned into shirting—something I knew could be an enduring category. I made a luxe cashmere-like fabric that was something unique to the market, and felt like nothing else available. This catapulted us into premium contemporary retail stores, even before we had any meaningful infrastructure”, says Abrams in an interview conducted by Forbes.

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( Source : Rails )
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( Source : Rails )
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( Source : Rails )

Abrams, continues, “I think it was my naïveté of the industry that allowed me to embark on the journey with no inhibitions. What I lacked in industry experience, I made up through vision and perseverance. I always focused on finding the balance between effortless and accessible, without getting mired in the “traditional” fashion process. And I never let any setback slow me down. When I first began, I really had no idea how to actually produce a full collection. It was a journey of trial and error that led me through the initial stages of building the brand. I drove all over the United States, walking into stores unannounced trying to build the foundations for the Rails collection. I came back to Los Angeles and employed the same concept learning the business of fashion, walking into factories and suppliers, staying late nights at sewing facilities to understand the details of garment construction and the process of assembly.”

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( Source : Rails )
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( Source : Rails )

Rails began with a modest personal investment from Abrams. “I started with $5000 I had saved through various jobs, and was working out of my apartment. I woke up at 6am, traded stocks (semi-unsuccessfully) until 1pm and then went downtown to figure out how to make clothes. I bought a handful of hats and made a few garments, sold them, reinvested the money, and kept reinvesting my earnings in the business. In ten years we’ve never borrowed any money. We’ve funded our growth through disciplined investment in product and distribution, keeping our operations efficient without sacrificing amazing quality” Abrams tells.

Jeff story is really inspiring for aspiring fashion designers and even non designers too. So, if you have a passion in any field start following without wasting any time.

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