Reaping what you sew
Fashion and convenience don’t always go hand in hand, but Andrew Hench ’04 hopes to change that.
Four years ago, he and his brother, Will Hench, launched ThreadLab, a men’s online clothing delivery service, out of a bedroom in his Boston condo. Thanks to funding from VegasTechFund, a seed-stage investment firm, the startup moved operations last September to Las Vegas to grow the business.
ThreadLab utilizes smart technology to deliver affordable clothing right into customers’ mailboxes, Hench said. “Our customers’ profiles and preferences drive whatever they receive in each box. For example, one customer may not like V-necks, so he’ll never get a V-neck. Another customer may not like stripes, so he’ll never see a striped shirt, sweater or sweatshirt.”
Hench, who majored in studio art at Wheaton, designed the original logo on the clothing boxes when the company first got off the ground. In addition to managing day-to-day business operations, he participates in some of the buying of the clothing.
“I have a decent sense of what looks good and what will fit our demographic,” he said.
ThreadLab employs two part-time employees and five full-time employees—in addition to several interns. The company has 6,000 paying customers and more than 20,000 members in its database, Hench said.
“Business is great; we had our biggest month this past December,” he said.
Hench said his liberal arts education at Wheaton taught him the value of teamwork, a principle that he applies daily as co-owner of ThreadLab.
“The most important lesson I learned at Wheaton was how to work as a team, and understanding roles and deadlines,” he said. “Our core team is five guys and, at times, it seems like everyone is involved in everything. So, we have to reassess and get back to roles and have the right people working on the right projects.”
Coordination is essential as company staffers keep their eyes on client preferences and analyze trends in product sales. “We need to be very elaborate in our testing, watching our products and paying attention to our customers’ needs,” he said.
As business grows, Hench said the focus now is on enhancing its technology’s capabilities and improving inventory practices.
“We are building our technology to be even better and smarter with regard to recommending products,” Hench said.
Hench credits his Wheaton art professors—in particular, Andrew Howard, Tim Cunard and Patricia Stone—for encouraging him to work hard and think more deeply when executing projects.
“They always inspired me to do more and explore my ideas, which definitely helped in my decision to launch a business,” he said.
To learn more about ThreadLab, visit mythreadlab.com