We are sure there is a survey out there that says most successful entrepreneurs are OCD. Bill Mitchell of Billiam Jeans is the prefect example.
A year after graduating with a marketing degree from Clemson, Bill moved into his parent’s basement and started reconstructing old clothes. He would ask friends to bring their clothes over and he would tear them apart and remake them to be better than the original. Then the light bulb switched on, “Instead of improving on someone else’s design, why don’t I make something from scratch?” And so he constructed his first pair of pants and “they were terrible!” he told us. But it was a start.
Fast-forward five years and now his quality denim is selling out online and he has opened a store in Greenville, South Carolina. Bill told us proudly, “I have never been in debt and always used cash and it’s working!” Take note you up and comers.
Another angle of his brand we are keen on is his local production.
Every single item you see on his site is made right there in Greenville. “Anyone can come to our store and see our employees toiling away in the back. It is a great feeling to have everything under one roof,” he told us. They also source all of their denim from Cone Mill in Greensboro, North Carolina (who have been doing their thing since 1891) where other big denim brands source their denim as well. But Billiam takes it a step further using recycled denim. “The recycled fibers come from North Carolina and are then milled at Cone,” Bill explains.
And as for the Feel Good angle, Billiam gives 20% of their year-end profit to fight sex trafficking in Atlanta through Well Spring Living. “They have a bunch of safe homes where girls can stay from one day to one year,” Williams informed us. “I love making detailed garments and giving a great experience for our buyers. But I know garments eventually wear out so we want to give to something that is lasting and that is why we started working with Well Spring Living.” How did they find the non-profit? Bill had an intern look up all the charities within driving distance from Greenville and theirs was the most organized so it was a real green light from his end.
If you find yourself in Greenville, pop into the store and get measured for a pair of jeans. While sometimes they can actually be made while you wait, the cat is out of the bag and his business is booming. As Williams told us, “Now we may have to send them to you in three weeks, things are happening!”
We don’t mind.