Todd Leebow has traveled an unconventional trail to change into a clothes producer and now a store.
Leebow is the chairman and leader govt officer of Majestic Metal USA, his circle of relatives’s flat-rolled metal corporate primarily based in Cleveland, Ohio. However he’s additionally an entrepreneur who has introduced his personal movie manufacturing corporate, opened a cafe, is construction an actual property building trade and in addition operates a hospitality corporate. Right through the pandemic, he grew to become his consideration to type, launching Sozo, a clothes emblem that employs native artists and creators.
Ultimate weekend, Sozo opened a flagship retailer in Cleveland, a 2,200-square-foot area showcasing what Leebow calls the trend business’s identical of the farm-to-table theory. The shop employs an open-concept structure through which greater than part of the sq. pictures is devoted to the manufacturing facility, permitting consumers to view the road’s cut-and-sew clothes introduction thru a display screen. of glass.
“It is the similar as an open kitchen,” Leebow mentioned.
Sozo used to be born so that you could offer protection to Majestic Steele’s crucial staff who wanted mask to proceed their paintings on the manufacturing facility all the way through the early days of the pandemic. “On the time it used to be onerous to get mask,” Leebow mentioned.
Undeterred, he knew his crew used to be gifted at production, so he determined to shop for cloth and feature his workforce make the mask themselves. “It really is not that other,” he mentioned. “We have been smartly versed in production, so we sourced the material to make mask for our personal functions. We had nice metal roles and now we’ve got nice cloth roles.”
It wasn’t lengthy sooner than a mild went on in Leebow’s head. If his crew may produce mask, why no longer garments?
So he grew to become round once more and assembled a crew of native designers and manufacturers (COO Christine Rizk and creatives Danielle Pusateri, David Vangieson and Dean Furguson) to release Sozo, a phrase this is brief for Soteria, the Greek goddess. of protection and preservation from harmful.
In combination they created a slim-fitting selection of increased Americana classics together with t-shirts, hoodies, joggers, fleece flannels and knit equipment. “We noticed that the sector used to be converting, other folks have been running remotely and dressing extra casually,” she mentioned. “So we constructed our imaginative and prescient of a contemporary, high quality, in the community made American emblem and solid a brand new trail.”
That lane now comprises the retail retailer. “We took our manufacturing crew and moved them into the retail area,” Leebow mentioned. “The following technology may be very curious and needs to grasp the how, what and why of what they’re purchasing.” The chance to peer the gathering come to existence additionally serves as schooling and leisure for purchasers.
In a nod to sustainability, portions can be produced as they’re bought, getting rid of the want to stay massive quantities of inventory. And by means of production the whole thing in the community, transportation prices and provide chain hassles are eradicated. “In eating places, there are kitchens from scratch, that is type from scratch,” he mentioned.
“It is thrilling so that you could display how Sozo is made and produce true transparency to the trend business,” he mentioned. “We aren’t anti-offshore, however we predict first in the community, then in the USA after which globally.”
Along with the Sozo assortment, the shop provides complementary merchandise with a identical undertaking and aesthetic, together with Duke & Dexter shoes, Hiroshi Kato denim, Grown Alchemist skin care, Taschen books and the logo’s first collaboration, jewelery with Maintain With Care.
The Sozo assortment is unisex, however runs males’s sizes and costs vary from $88 for a t-shirt to $168 for a flannel camp blouse. Joggers are $108-$128 and shorts are $88, whilst beanies are $38 and caps are $68.
Till now, Sozo have been bought most effective on-line at the emblem’s site, and Leebow regarded as it extra of a beta unlock as they prepped the retail area. “On-line is an excessively crowded area, our differential is what we do within the retailer,” he mentioned.
The purpose, he mentioned, is to ultimately carry Sozo to different markets. “As we develop, we plan to duplicate this retailer fashion in different markets, giving them a identical localized revel in,” she mentioned. The emblem would paintings with native designers and producers and tailor the collection to every town.
Sooner or later he hopes to wholesale the gathering. “However first we wish to open our personal retailer to introduce the logo to the marketplace,” he mentioned.
“It is thrilling so that you could display how Sozo is made and produce true transparency to the trend business as we open the primary of what we are hoping can be many places.”