Flint & Tinder: The New American Classic
Here at The Manual there’s nothing more we love than a good made in America story, and while we’ve covered a fair share of them already, we’re pretty sure none quite entertains and inspires like Flint and Tinder.
One of the fastest growing companies in the fashion industry, New York City-based Flint and Tinder (the name being a twist on the proverbial firestarter) was founded in 2012 by Jake Bronstein, whose colorful background includes being a former MTV “Road Rules” contestant, editor at FHM magazine and toy inventor. (Remember Buckyballs, the irritatingly perfect desk toy magnet? Yup, that was his.)
Seeing the business scale up in Asia, however, inspired Bronstein to do something more to support the American economy. He also wanted to be in the business of fashion for guys, so in April 2012 Bronstein decided to test an idea for 100% domestically sourced and produced premium underwear on Kickstarter. The drive resulted in close to $300,000 worth of pre-purchased underwear, even setting a new record for Kickstarter. A second Kickstarter drive to create the ultimate hoodie racked up $1 million in sales, and for its third Kickstarter drive, Flint and Tinder set out to make 1,000 virtually indestructible braided, triple high density waxed canvas laces tipped in aluminum, only to be inundated by an order for 40,000 instead.
Yet such has been the breakneck pace of growth for the company, which reportedly has tony investors such as Zappos’s chief Tony Hsieh on board. Since launching underwear less than two years ago, the company now offers 100% domestic made handsome denim, sweatshirts, pants, tees, socks, belts and bags, all at surprisingly affordable prices. Plus the company is hiring, not only beefing up its infrastructure with planners and buyers from some of the world’s best companies, but also with local talent: last December Flint and Tinder won a $100,000 grant from the state to channel into local job creation.
Things are heating up, to say the least. This Valentine’s Day Flint and Tinder will formally make its push into womenswear, tweaking its bestselling men’s underwear for women, because, as Bronstein puts it, “women shouldn’t have to suffer for fashion” or pilfer from the other sex. The company is also gearing up for an expansion into custom-made offerings, a move designed to take full advantage of local manufacturing resources and shorten the traditional supply chain in the apparel business by servicing the consumer directly, down to the tiniest detail.
That and a transition to offer what the industry calls a “never-out-of-stock” program with year-round offerings by the end of the year should be sweet music to fans (currently Flint and Tinder still produces limited runs of everything, so readers, you’re well-advised to buy now than later.) “It’s everything you want,” Bronstein says. “It’s gonna fit the same as the last item. You know what your sizing is. The clothes you’re gonna see are going to be different from 30 days ago, but designed with the same eye, same quality, all that kind of stuff.”