We left off last time with me returning from Sendai back to Taiwan in early February, production on the sample of the Heracles shirt ready to begin. Now it was time for me to simply wait, and wait I did, until right at the mid-point of April. That was when the first sample arrived. It's been a while since I was an actual kid on Christmas morning, but this was pretty darn close to replicating the feeling.
The first sample was stellar; John Lofgren said it needed a slight collar adjustment, but was otherwise ready to go with the first sample, no everyday occurrence he assured me. Obviously the sewing team knew exactly what we wanted and hit it out of the park.
Shirt in hand, I began to take photos and post it on Instagram, but truth be told I could have handled this stage much better in terms of promoting. I learned later on that what many small brands do now is make up samples, and begin to shop them around to stores and show them to customers as a way of building interest in their new product. My mistake was thinking a sneak preview, if you will, was enough, and that salesmanship begins when I have the finished products parked at my place. "That's what you get for thinking," many a geezer has likely said.
Still, interest began to roll in, so I took what photos I could, knowing full well that I won't be inducted into Magnum Photos any time soon. Among the first people who really got excited about the Heracles shirt and The Rite Stuff too was Mike over at the Indigoshrimp blog. He wanted to know everything about the brand, and to this day we still keep in close contact about what I'm up to; you can't fake that kind of enthusiasm, folks.
Getting back to the shirt, one thing people began to ask about was the fit. I will say, it is a fairly athletic, V-shaped fit. Depending on your waist size and the shirt size you chose, and if you carry a honking big wallet or a thick, um, belt, then wearing it untucked but buttoned up might be a little tight. There are a ton of variables though, so it depends, but I generally wear the shirt tucked in. Its extra length means it stays tucked in all day, and the slim cut means there's little to no billowing fabric anywhere. This was my intention all along: to offer something that's not "Japan sized" but is still slightly more modern in its fit, and with plenty of period-correct details to boot. I hope I've succeeded!
Satisfied with my sample, next up was the big one: going into full production. It would be almost another two months before I got the finished shirts in my hands, and the next chapter would begin.