The Beginning

Updated: Jan 4, 2021

It really started during my first job in London. I had just completed the final stage of my education; a master’s degree in management, and had secured my first job. I was officially a headhunter working for a small firm with big clients. I was pumped. I was living in my own, personal, little version of Oakmont Stratton. We did long hours from 9am to 9pm, talking to investment bankers from massive organisations, trying to persuade them that the grass was greener somewhere else. It was sales in its purest form. Fast forward a year or so and I was getting fairly good at it and was starting to close some deals of my own. Unfortunately this was also the time I started to realise that perhaps my creative streak was stronger than my drive to make a lot of money, because trust me, the money was just about to get really good. After some deliberation I decided that it was time to jump ship and do something that had been silently brewing in the back of my mind for many years, namely menswear.

When you work in London, especially in The City, you see suits. Everywhere. If you have somewhat of an eye for detail and an interest in menswear you’ll quite quickly notice that there is a big difference in the suits you see around you. It’s things like fit and fabric that determine what your suit purveys. What most of the suits in The City tell you, is that the majority of men really don’t care about their clothes. And this is absolutely fine, their focus is elsewhere. But on occasion you’ll see men who really care about tailoring, patterns, colour combinations, fit and craftsmanship, and it was these people that awoke my interest in tailoring. I used suits quite a bit in my profession and I bought the best I could afford at the time. I thought about patterns, I thought about textures, I thought about colour combinations, tie knots, about shoes, about belts. Anything and everything that related to suiting. It reached a point where my managers would on occasion ask me to focus less on the sartorial aspect before a meeting, and more on the actual content of the presentation I was about to give to the man in the high glass tower.

When I decided to quit my job I knew I wanted to pursue a career in menswear on some level, I just had no idea of how. I also had a feeling that the market for it in London was quite well covered, so I decided to move home to Helsinki where only a few shops were doing what I wanted to do. Given I had no actual expertise in the industry, I knew I needed a partner that could also be my mentor, and I got lucky. I contacted a family friend, a tailor, who has been in the industry for over 40 years. My initial plan was just to pick his brain over a coffee and absorb any relevant information he would part with. It didn’t quite go as planned. We hit it off and at the end of our two-hour meeting we had decided to partner up. Him as the expert tailor and teacher, and me as the young guy with a vision, a passion and a dream.

We kicked off about a month after the meeting and then I was, again, pumped. I was now envisioning living my own personal version of The Tailor of Panama. Unfortunately it wasn’t as seamless as I had hoped. Starting your own business is tricky. We spent just under a year working together on designs, on fit, on all aspects of tailoring. Now I say we worked, in truth it was him teaching me everything I would need to know if I wanted to really give it a go in the world of sartorial menswear.

I was of course helped immensely by the fact that my business partner had several decades worth of knowledge, but that, strangely enough, can also hamper your efforts. It can get almost too comfortable, with no real need to change things around at all, no real need for innovation. So I suppose that’s where my drive and hunger for new experiences and ways to do things helped him. I found us a new factory (albeit through one of his old contacts), set up a tour of said factory and organised the trip to the north-western part of Romania, close to the border with Moldavia. It’s a factory used by many well-known brands for shirts, suits, trousers etc. It has now become the number one factory we use to manufacture our garments.

Having been on our first official business trip as partners, we returned to Helsinki full of enthusiasm and anticipation for things to come. We did a couple trial runs with the factory and the results came back great. It was time to start selling. We got a flying start (this is where my salesman experience came in quite handy) selling MTM suits to bankers, lawyers, suit aficionados and other people who just thought it’d be interesting to come and try out a new brand. Unfortunately this was in the early spring of 2020. Little did we know that a pandemic was just around the corner that would completely shatter everything we had in the pipeline.

We entered the dark ages rather quickly after our first few successes and spent the better part of spring and summer kicking gravel and cursing the gods. In all honesty it took us a good six months to recover the drive we had at the beginning of 2020. But the drive returned and with it came a whole new set of ideas. We decided to supplement our new brand with hand-picked vintage pieces and a small, a limited edition collection of RTW suiting. We also started work, with renewed vigour, on our online presence and marketing. We hired pros to take the pictures and create the web design, we consulted experts on how to actually make digital marketing work for a small brand like us, and we constantly worried about how to make this actually work. It was costly, both financially and mentally but in the end it was well worth it.

What you have in front of you is the result of an unexpected partnership, a couple years of work, endless experiments and failures and a persistent drive to create something unique.

We hope you like it.

Otto Linder