We Made A Huge Mistake: The Cladwell Story

Hey. I’m Blake, and I’m really glad you’re here checking us out.

Cladwell was born out of my friend Tim and I’s frustration with the perpetual treadmill of fashion. It felt like as soon as we started to feel ok about our clothes, there was something new we “had to own”. There was no finish line - and that was frustrating. So I reached out to my fashion-guru friend, Chris.

Chris showed us that if we bought the right clothes--timeless and high quality--we could actually cross the finish line. He was so helpful, and kind, that we pitched him on starting a business together.

So the three of us quit our jobs with nothing more than a Powerpoint presentation and started on the hardest journey that we’d ever traveled. Come to find out, there were a lot of people who were also frustrated with perpetual shopping, and we found our way to an audience of over a quarter million people. 

But then, we made a huge mistake.

We read a book: Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. Ms. Cline painted a horrifying picture of an industrial fashion system called “fast fashion.” Fast fashion is the trend of making low-quality clothing for cheap - then encouraging people to buy new trends every week. The problem? It is horrible for the environment (#2 most polluting industry on earth), the workers (1 in 6 people on earth work in garments - typically in unsafe working conditions, forced conditions, and sometimes as children), and it is even bad for us (shopping therapy is a new term - using clothing to medicate our pain).

We looked at our service, and realized that we were only halfway there. Although we promoted intentionality, we didn’t care about who made the clothes. As we talked with Ms. Cline and other thought-leaders, we found out that there was a new opportunity: Guiding people to a simpler--and better--wardrobe from manufacturing to Goodwill. So we embraced the challenge:

No more shadows.
Your clothes can be 100% sustainable and slave free.

No more slave to trends.
You can have your own style, whatever that style is.

No more consumerism.
You can buy a small number of quality pieces.

No more manipulation.
You can influence how brands create clothes.

Will we succeed and change the fashion industry forever? Freeing people to live intentional lives out from the thumb of the oppressive fashion regime? Or will we fold as yet another startup, with big ideals but not enough traction? Only time will tell, but one thing we know:

The cause is worthy of our highest effort.

Thanks for reading this far. I hope you join us.


Blake Smith, CEO