We are now almost 10 years away from the Great Recession of 2008, but that doesn’t mean that we forgot just how bad things in the business community were, how devastating this recession was to companies and industries all over the world, and how innovative and adaptive entrepreneurs prove themselves to be in order to dig out of this tremendous hole as quickly as they have.
Five Four Clothing, the “parent” of Five Four Club, was originally conceived of all the way back in 2001 by a couple of university students at USC in Los Angeles. These kids were taking a business class and were challenged by their professor to come up with an innovative and interesting business plan to work on throughout the year, and Dee Murthy and Andres Izquieta decided to push forward with a clothing company focused on men’s brands and men’s lifestyle products.
After doing a little bit of basic research and due diligence to get ready for this project both decided that there was a tremendous amount of potential in the men’s clothing industry and they got really excited about diving right in.
Expanding the business plan from something so much more than a university project and into something really viable, they began to visit trade shows, contact suppliers and hunt for partners that could take them to the next level.
2002 through 2007
The years between 2002 and 2007 were incredibly formative for Five Four Clothing and would go on to shape the future of the company in ways that even the founders couldn’t have ever expected or anticipated.
Five Four Club Free Bomber Jacket
These were very lucrative years (especially after 2005 when they began to partner with specific companies to produce men’s sportswear, a blossoming product category in the men’s clothing space) and business really started to pick up.
By 2005/2006, clothing items by Five Four Club were selling a tremendous amount of wholesale merchandise to all kinds of department stores and specialty retail stores throughout the United States and North America (including flagship companies like Macy’s and Nordstrom’s, for example).
Everything was really rocking and rolling along – until 2008 hit.
2008 – The Great Recession
In 2008 all bets were off and all of a sudden the fashion industry in general took a nosedive that no one was able to predict. Major department stores that had placed significant orders with Five Four Clothing canceled those orders overnight and even went so far as to send back merchandise and stock that the company had to eat. Chargebacks were hammering the company’s books left and right throughout the recession, and things got so bad that they decided to pull out completely and stop selling to third parties.
2009 through 2011
Because of the impact of 2008 and the Great Recession, Five Four Clothing decided to move in a new direction and opened up their own retail store in Southern California. Business went so well at the flagship store that the company opened up three other operation inside of 18 months – and then shortly found out just how competitive, challenging, and come from this space is.
By 2011, Five Four Clothing was really taking it on the chin. Deciding to reinvent their company allover again they turned to the “Great Equalizer of Business” – the Internet.
2012 and beyond
Five Four Clothing reinvented itself in 2012 as Five Four Club became an online only clothing subscription box service as opposed to a wholesaler and e-commerce platform. This is the version of the company that exists today, and for $60 a month men get between two in three different items specifically curated for them. Delivery is 100% free of charge, and today the company has more than 60,000 members receiving subscription boxes on a regular basis.