Most people observe an anniversary by celebrating past accomplishments. Bert Kessler, on the contrary, is commemorating the third anniversary of his clothing company NEWD by starting with a clean slate. Through its rebirth, NEWD will emulate classic styles for the discriminating shopper who stands behind the company’s mantra “Nothing Else Will Do.”
“It’s for the person that is a go-getter, that is driven and accepts nothing else," says Kessler.
With a degree in marketing, Kessler has always had a mind for business and dabbled in art in college. He comes from a family of entrepreneurs and began printing silkscreen tee shirts in his home several years ago. Last year, unmotivated at an office job, he knew that he needed to dedicate 100 percent of his time if NEWD was really going to take off. So, he did - and he’s keeping his sights set high.
Originally, the idea for NEWD was to act as the middleman between the clothing and the art. Kessler collaborated with about ten different artists and put their designs on finished goods and promoted them. One problem with the original concept was that the lines didn’t flow with so many different artists ideas. While speaking with stores, he quickly learned that they want to buy a collection, not just a few shirts.
Now more targeted, NEWD has two lines: NEWD brand and Urban by Johnny Castro. Where Urban is mostly graphic tees, NEWD has tees, polos, hats, dresses and hoodies.
"NEWD is a more contemporary and upbeat Ralph Lauren,” describes Kessler.
It has two embroidered logos: one on the right shoulder and one on the left hip of every shirt. Kessler envisions NEWD as a sustainable brand, not trendy.
“The lines start out very basic, but they will grow quickly. We use high-end fabrics. Technically speaking, most tees are a 12-18 single and we use 40 singles for all the sets,” explains Kessler.
Kessler is thinking about doing a maternity and a golf line. One day, he'd even like to get into jeans, shoes, socks, accessories and more.
He has his eyes set on the big picture although he promises not to forget his roots in Milwaukee. As soon as he can, Kessler would like to add staff. A family man, Kessler says the first person he will hire is his mom to handle his finances and then potentially, a team of designers. Currently, he is having a hard time keeping up with opportunities. Kessler’s main goal for 2010 is to open as many doors as possible and get into more stores locally.
Get NEWD at Detour boutique on Brady St. or online at getnewd.com. Follow NEWD on Facebook to find out about all the latest happenings. The new Web site will launch in the next few months at newdclothing.com.
Kessler declares, “I'm not high fashion by any means. I like clean, classic styles that you can wear anywhere, anytime, from going out to the office. The fashion lines are blurred; it’s not just suits and ties any more.”
NEWD is as simple as that - clean, classic and sustainable and of course, looking forward to celebrating many anniversaries for years to come.