Oliver Palnau On Menswear Fashion Industry
What made you get into the menswear fashion industry?
My uncle in Germany kept stressing the importance of dressing well every day. He told me that most high level business deals are done off first impressions and mutual confidence. He had been in the designer clothing business himself and taught me the basics.
Then I did a year at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York where I broadened my knowledge until I felt my skills were appropriate to proceed. Most of my guy friends also had no idea about good style or fit so I took on the task until they found girlfriends who took it from there.
How is your brand progressing so far?
Better than expected. We made some missteps with the website design and presentation at first, but thankfully my friends and clients quickly corrected that. After we got our shirts physically in front of clients and on their bodies the feedback has been pretty positive. Now, we have some good media traction and have sold about 30% of our inventory.
If you could’ve made one change regarding your brand/business what would it have been and why?
We should have started earlier. I was custom manufacturing shirts for various ship owners for over a year now but launched our online site www.oliverpalnau.com only 3 months ago. It’s still all very new to the mainstream fashion world. Ideally I would have loved to have everything perfect from the beginning but I focused heavily on the quality of the product and put little importance on the awareness aspect.
Where do you see the menswear fashion industry heading in 2015?
I think people will start to think of clothing as more of a personal investment and search for multi-use clothing. Pieces that they can wear to work and social events. As the world becomes more digital I think people are getting shy and need a means to communicate. Attractive clothing is a great ice breaker so I think the demand will continue to be strong.
What we are doing to increase the value of our offering is an alliance type program with complementary brands. We want our shirts to be similar to a black card. In the coming months, wearing Palnau pieces will grant you select automatic discounts and perks in restaurants, clubs, and high end auto dealerships. The gentlemen who wear my pieces enjoy a certain caliber of lifestyle and I wish to add as much value as possible to their selection.
If you could leave our readers with one last piece of business advice, what would it be?
If your main interaction with clients is a product make sure it is flawless. Regardless of what industry you decide to go into, if you add as much relevant value as possible you will prosper. If you set your mind on performing at a world class level in everything you do people will take notice.
No matter what possible problems come up, remember that it’s the hardest the first time. If the problem comes up again your mind solves it by natural instinct. Your capacity increases exponentially every day that passes. If you get knocked down you’ll come back three times stronger.