Clifton Gear: No space, no problem for Brattleboro startup
BRATTLEBORO — New business owner David Cadran doesn't even have an office.
"With the way technology is advancing, you can pretty much run a business from anywhere as long as you have a computer and an Internet connection," said Cadran, who just started Clifton Gear out of his home in Brattleboro. "I spend time at cafes. Sometimes I go and spend time at my parents' house or I go to the library and work on it."
Cadran creates digital mock-ups of his products. A customer will order a piece of clothing from Clifton and that order goes to an on-demand manufacturer in California. The process is called direct-to-garment printing, and it allows Cadran more freedom, time and money for advertising and marketing.
Previously working for businesses mainly in New York City, Cadran then got into digital marketing for an on-line retailer in Vermont. Always wanting to open a business, he researched what it would take over the summer. Layoffs came and he "dove headfirst" into starting something up.
"Right now we're focusing basically on casual wear. We have some T-shirts and tote bags. We're going to have hats soon," said Cadran, whose products can be seen on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and CliftonGear.com. "Our ultimate goal further down the line is to expand to more outdoors stuff. We'd love to do more fitness stuff, outdoor sports and such."
Much of his time now is spent on the website and conducting data analysis. He hired a consultant to help with search engine optimization, which is essentially about improving how the site can be found using Google. Then there's getting bloggers to back him.
Clifton has embraced the "Vermont outdoor woodsy lifestyle," said Cadran, who grew up in Brattleboro and graduated from Brattleboro Union High School.
His friend, also referred to as his assistant creative director, Eva Gwinn, comes up with many of the designs. She went through BUHS before Cadran.
Desmond Peeples, a freelance writer and another friend, is developing an arts collaborative called the Rove. He edits Clifton's blog.
Cadran said Christina Bernales, who owns a successful local wedding photography business, wanted to branch out and do some fashion photography. She took pictures for Clifton and helped in a collaboration with an underground artist from New York City expected to be released soon.
With no money coming in yet, these friends are donating their time and talent when they can to Clifton's future.
"All of them said, 'Don't worry about it, we'll figure it out later. I just want to be part of something new and exciting.' And that's really kind of the young, creative economy that I think is really awesome and exciting," said Cadran. "I certainly hope I can repay the favor to them in the future because they've just been incredible."
Cadran eventually wants to donate 10 percent of Clifton's annual profits to good causes. He would like to "pay it forward" by giving that money to groups focused on environmental conservation. But he wants those funds to benefit youth education, job creation and improving communities' livability, too.
Contact Chris Mays at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.
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