A Very Personal “Our story”
When the pandemic hit and the lights went down, I knew it was going to be a struggle. In March 2020, I went to the factory where I was employed for the last time, as Covid forced the closure of all non-essential businesses. In May 2020, I became unemployed, when High Bar Shirt Co. succumbed to Covid. Like so many Americans at that time, I was terrified about suddenly becoming unemployed in the early stages of a global pandemic, at fifty years old and with college age children.
I did what anyone would do after finding out I had lost my job. I poured myself a glass of bourbon and commiserated with friends on Facebook. And the next morning I woke up, the sun rose and life continued. It was then that I decided to place a bet on me. I decided to create the best damn clothing company, period! Together with my best friend and life partner we formed a company, and began living the life of entrepreneurs – long hours, little income.
Liberty Shirt Co. was born and launched July 4, 2020. When we launched Liberty Shirt Co., we had no idea if men were even spending money on button up shirts while they continue to work from home. But, you guys did and continue to buy shirts from us, and all of us are forever grateful for your patronage and support.
For the past year, we have been pouring everything we have into building a world class shirt, but more importantly, we have been building a world class customer service team, led by my partner and co-founder Stacey.
2 Family Trees – A Shared Pride Of Craft
Stacey and I have been partners for almost 30 years. We are both grandchildren of tailors and garment factory workers.
My Great Grandpa Harry settled in the Bronx after emigrating to the United States in 1898. Gifted with a trade and armed with sheers and a sewing machine brought from the old country, he soon set up his tailoring shop on 173rd St. just off the Grand Concourse.
His son, Mel, stricken with polio as a child, had a terrible time walking due to the disease. After graduating from school in 1932, and in need of a way to earn a living, Great Grandpa Harry helped Mel open up a shop of his own. This shop was also in the Bronx, but located a few blocks away. Like most businesses in the city at the turn of the century, the customer base was geographically defined within a few blocks of the stores. In nearly every photo of Grandpa Mel, showed a measuring tape around his neck. And everybody in the neighborhood told me as a kid, what great shirts he made. It was said with admiration. I took the compliment with pride.
On the other side of the family, Stacey’s Grandpa Hy started making hats and caps in 1933 and grew into a large-scale manufacturer. In the early 90’s this hat and cap making factory is where we, the present generation, began our own garment manufacturing careers. One of us went into operations and sales, while the other learned the office and how to manage a family business. Together, we learned how to make and sell garments as a private label manufacturer. We made for all the top brands in menswear… and then we didn’t any longer.
By the early 2000’s, about 80% of our customers were no longer sourcing domestically, and by 2006, we no longer had a family factory But, manufacturing was still in our blood. And we were lucky enough to find roles in another operation – at least temporarily.
But, the call to have our own company back, to make garments that make a difference in our community, kept calling to us.
Our Call To Liberty
To us, America has always been the land of dreams, freedom and opportunity. What better represents that then calling ourselves Liberty Shirt Co.? It’s a bootstrap effort in the fine American tradition: We’re taking out loans, taking on credit card debt, pulling in favors, accepting family donations and all.
And we’re putting back into motion, the mechanism that allowed our family to prosper - so that others can as well.
American Pride. Every. Damn. Stitch.
We hope you’ll appreciate the small batch craftsmanship of our made-to-order shirts. We hope our oxfords harken back to your days when getting dressed up meant putting on a Ralph Lauren or Brooks Brothers oxford button down or grudgingly wearing a white shirt, because you had to wear a tie.
We aim to deliver the largest fabric selection for you to design your one-of-a-kind shirt! If you are looking for a particular fabric and don’t find it in our swatch library, let us know. We have partnerships with mills worldwide, which allows us to find just about any woven cotton fabric.
It is our sincerest hope that we become your new favorite shirt. And we hope that in a few years, your Liberty shirt will have that same patina as your favorite oxford of the 80’s, with it’s fraying collar and smells that are redolent of your youth.
And when you button on your new Liberty shirt, remember: You’ve just made a pledge to help America rise up – by keeping pride, craft and, most important, jobs, right here.
Stacey & Marc
Co-Founders Liberty Shirt Co.