Ministry of Supply, Boston
Founded in 2012 by former Massachusetts Institute of Technology students, Ministry of Supply sells "radically engineered dress clothes" online and in six stores (so far) in major US cities. The clothing features stretchable, breathable, no-iron fabrics adapted from athletic wear. Ecommerce on the Shopify platform (with free shipping to the US and Canada) accounts for 60% of sales.
The name comes from the government department that supplied the UK armed forces during World War II and the Cold War. The company takes particular inspiration from the fictional Q (based on a real person, Charles Fraser-Smith), inventor of gadgets for suave spy James Bond.
Mission: We started Ministry of Supply to solve the problems of stiff, high-maintenance dress clothes by engineering high-performing, comfortable apparel.
Who are you?
Dan Weisman, vice president of marketing for Ministry of Supply.
What's your company about?
We're all about designing and building performance clothes that people can wear throughout the work week—technical apparel, but with the style of business clothing. Our clothes will make them feel as comfortable and capable during work as they feel during their other pursuits, like athletics or just relaxing.
Your clothes seem to be more about style than fashion.
Yeah, we take a pretty hard stance against fast fashion. The goal is to create the fundamentals—the essential and classic clothing that people can wear for years regardless of seasons or trends. Of course, I think all of our stuff looks good and can be styled by whoever's wearing it to suit their personal style.
How have you built sustainability into Ministry of Supply?
We like to talk about what we call the responsible clothing cycle—basically the full life cycle of garments. It's not just the last-mile shipping. It's nice that we're able to use Cloverly for that, but starting with garment production, we're always looking for ways to reduce waste.
How does Cloverly fit into that sustainability model?
It does two things. One is giving customers the opportunity to own some of that responsibility. This is a project that involves cooperation by everyone, right? We're doing our part, and the customer can help with that. Because you're making the choice to buy something, you can also make the choice to buy things in a more sustainable way.
Second, we like that Cloverly is presented to the customer and makes you think about the actions that you're taking—both by buying something and by having it delivered. Hopefully, putting Cloverly in front of people during their shopping process is not only making them think about their impact but also helping them see what the solution is.
How does the future look for Ministry of Supply?
I think that the future for us is definitely going much, much deeper into what we call responsible practices, or good and sustainable practices. We just feel that we can't afford to ignore it. We can't afford not to care.