Innovation That Fits In Your Pocket: How This Brand Became a Global Success Story By educating, inspiring and empowering those around the globe with their story and products, Sebastian Cruz Couture continues to rewrite the playbook for entrepreneurs
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
The story of Sebastian Cruz Couture begins with a solution to a common problem: how to give a pocket square that eye-catching look that completes a suit.
With modern silk pocket squares, the lack of structure kept wearers constantly fussing with an unruly square. With a bit of inspiration and a lot of luck, Sebastian Cruz Couture was born from a line of linen, hand-crochet border pocket squares that stood strong above the pocket.
Like many business success stories, a global sensation began with a novel solution to a problem. The pocket squares, launched in 2013, quickly became the hallmark item of the Sebastian Cruz Couture brand.
Innovation Breeds Innovation
Noticing the popularity of the pocket squares, co-founders Cesar Cruz and Natasha Cruz at Sebastian Cruz Couture decided to start promoting their brand to see if the innovative idea had wide-range appeal. Not satisfied to depend on standard brand marketing, the team tried their hand at yet another common problem: reaching stores without depending on a company representative.
Taking advantage of the fast-rising popularity of social media branding, Sebastian Cruz Couture pocket squares began to appear across social media platforms. By engaging with companies online, the team was able to bring their pocket squares to men's fashion stores via trunk shows and in-person looks that combined popular suits with their pocket squares. Soon, stores found that they couldn't keep up with the requests for pocket squares, and were contacting the team for more products to meet demand.
Continuing the theme of business innovation, the team at Sebastian Cruz Couture harnessed the momentum of the moment to scale the business. By selling mirror sites of the Sebastian Cruz Couture brand online, the company reached out to other entrepreneurs who wanted to get involved with the brand's success. In return for one year of exclusivity, a franchisee would take the famous pocket squares out on the road and connect with as many companies through looks and trunk shows as possible.
The result? Sebastian Cruz Couture went from a social media pocket square brand to a global market leader in six months. With 25 US franchises and 10 international exclusivities, the pocket square business was experiencing a renaissance unlike anything men's fashion had seen.
With their social media-driven franchise model in full swing around the globe, the future looked bright for Sebastian Cruz Couture. Yet, it's often when one flies high that the risk rises fastest.
The increased use of the franchising method began to spread the SCC team too thin. What had worked in the earliest days of the pocket square journey was now becoming increasingly cumbersome. With franchise owners scattered across the globe, the team discovered that this method was creating more headaches than opportunities.
Rather than invest more time and money in maintaining franchise owners, SCC decided that it was time to get innovative once more. However, what would they do next? Could they afford to move away from a system that had worked so well in the past?
Rather than pack up when the future became unclear, Sebastian Cruz Couture did what they always do:pivot and innovate.
It's All In TheLook
As the team at Sebastian Cruz Couture tried to plot their next move and navigate through the mess left by their franchisee, one comment began consistently coming their way: Customers loved the SCC "look",and wanted more of it.
Moving from pocket squares to full, unique looks would be a monumental task. Yet, innovation waits for no one.
A silent partner in the menswear arena reached out to inquire about investment opportunities. The concept? A joint venture that saw the SCC pocket square style evolve into luxury men's jackets and sportcoats. All the team needed to do to earn the investment was to design, promote, and sell the jackets online at price.
So they did,and the results made the early days of Sebastian Cruz Couture pocket squares look like a lemonade stand. Not only did Sebastian Cruz Couture's phone and email blow up with pre-order requests, but the interest was so incredible that the investors refused to believe it was true.
Yet it was,and Sebastian Cruz Couture knew they were on to something. Rather than continue working with an investor team that doubted their potential, SCC moved forward with their idea on their own.
The only problem? How to come through on the now-viral SCC jacket preorders.
Going International With Innovation
When faced with adversity, those who truly make an impact are the ones who are willing to wait for the right opportunity. Facing uncertainty about how they would create and deliver the brand new line of Sebastian Cruz Couture luxury menswear, the team waited for the moment when innovation would stop by for another visit.
That day came via a phone call from China. A small factory reached out to let the team know that they had the operations to take one of the jackets (S by Sebastian White Paisley Dinner Jacket) and create it at a scale that would meet consumer demand.
Rather than wait on other possibilities, SCC sent the prototype over to China. In a week the copy came back, and the quality was exquisite. The team switched gears on a dime and used their ingenuity to turn the small factory in China to a powerhouse with 110 employees making 90% of the brand's products.
As the brand grew, the SCC team continued to look for new avenues and potential relationships. This led to new relationships in Italy, where the brand continued to flourish. With shipping costs rising, and impersonation of the brand reaching new levels, SCC decided to move manufacturing to Italy completely to meet a rising demand across Europe.
From Pocket Squares To Global Luxury: The SCC Story Continues
A story that began with someone looking to overcome a pocket square problem with creativity has now grown to one of the globe's most successful online menswear companies. By harnessing the timelessness of good style with the innovations of eCommerce, Sebastian Cruz Couture continues to educate, inspire, and empower people all over the world with their incredible story.While the success story of SCC is found in innovation and inspiration, the company's passion is found in helping entrepreneurs and individuals discover how they can overcome their own personal struggles - no matter how dark the moment may seem. By educating, inspiring, and empowering those around the globe with their story and products, Sebastian Cruz Couture continues to rewrite the playbook for entrepreneurs.