Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in apparel but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Tyler McCombs, Founder of Devon + Lang, located in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Devon + Lang is a base layer apparel company focusing on making the most comfortable, sustainable, and long-lasting garments on the market. We launched in 2019 with the goal to make premium garments made with the newest technologies out of sustainable materials that are designed to last.
We started with our men's Journey boxer brief, which is a 6" boxer made from a proprietary modal fabric. They use our patent-pending folded crossover pouch technology to provide extra support and separation and have a near frictionless inner thigh panel to reduce chafing and increase durability.
Since then, we have expanded into our women's line with The Bria Collection, creating women's thongs, briefs, boy shorts, and boxers that are made with the same quality and intention as our men's line. Comfort and style are our key priorities.
Tell us about yourself
Devon + Lang was founded by Tyler and Dayna McCombs in 2019. After Tyler tore a hole in a recently purchased pair of boxers, we started the company and were frustrated that his underwear was breaking down faster than he thought it should.
He and Dayna teamed up with a Canadian fashion designer, Martina Carello, to design and build the best possible men's boxer brief. This partnership has continued with every new product that Devon + Lang launches.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of the things that we are most proud of was being able to donate over $25,000 to local charities in Calgary during the 2020 global pandemic. This was in our first full year in business.
Early during the pandemic, we realized that face masks were very hard to come by, so we switched our manufacturing to begin making soft, comfortable, and long-lasting face masks that Canadians could use. We donated a portion of the profits to local charities around the city. We could not be more proud of the positive contribution we were able to make to our community.
This December, we have initiated a Buy a Pair, Give a Pair event, where for every boxer, mask, sock, or underwear that is being sold, we will donate a pair as well to a local charity. We can't wait to make another great impact on our community.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
The instability and seasonality of our business have been a challenge to deal with. Before I started this company, I worked at Apple for over ten years. Moving away from a job like Apple to run my own business was a big shift. It is something I have no regrets about doing, but managing that instability has been a challenge.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- I would recommend reading the book "The Millionaire Fastlane" by MJ DeMarco. It was an invaluable book in helping decide what kind of business is worth starting.
- Be ok with being uncomfortable. You will be wearing a lot of hats when you start this business, and you will find that you will be doing new tasks all the time. The flexibility and variety make the job fun, but it also really pushes you. Be ready for that.
- Ask for help. There are so many amazing resources around you. If you think you can get through this process by yourself, you are kidding yourself. I'm not even talking about financial help (which is still a great thing to ask for), but asking other business owners or mentors for advice is so important in growing your business. Talk to me too.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
If you are interested in amazing underwear, give Devon + Lang a try. I think we will really be impressed. And if you are interested in starting an apparel brand, don't be scared to reach out. I am always happy to share my experiences.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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