New college graduate Mac Bishop hated doing his laundry. So instead of finding a better way to wash his clothes, he created a better way to avoid the laundromat: He made a shirt that he only has to wash around three times a year.
Along with two friends, Bishop, 24, founded Wool&Prince, a fashion startup in New York City that sells just one product. Its fine-spun wool button-down shirt is supposed to last for 100 wearings without needing a wash.
Bishop is clearly is onto something. In recent weeks, Wool&Prince has become a sensation on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site. The craze over the company's 100-day shirt started on April 22, when Wool&Prince launched its campaign with a goal of raising $30,000. The startup ended up raising more than $290,000 in less than 10 days, and now the company has capped its production run in order to keep control of the project, Bishop said.
Bishop's inspiration for the 100-day shirt came from his pants. "Guys love their jeans, [which] are low-maintenance, but there was not an option like that for button-downs," he explained in a phone call with The Huffington Post, "like something guys don’t have to worry about."
The secret behind the shirt's durability is finely spun wool, like the kind that would be used in an Italian suit. Wool doesn't get smelly -- unlike, say, a poly blend -- because it doesn't absorb sweat, which can lead to stinky bacteria growth in a garment.
Bishop has a close connection to wool: His family runs a wool mill in Portland, Ore. (He said that company is not involved in the production of the 100-day shirt.)
The Kickstarter campaign featured a video of Bishop test-driving a wool shirt for 100 days -- among other things, diving into a lake and playing basketball -- and then asking strangers on the street to give him a sniff.
With its new funds, Wool&Prince will produce 3,000 shirts at a factory in Shanghai and sell them for $98 apiece. But there's bad news for consumers interested in buying one: The 100-day shirt is already sold out due to pre-orders.
Bishop said the company is now focused on production, but he'd like to make more than just shirts in the future.
"We want to see how people will respond to these shirts first," he said, "then we will develop other products."
UPDATE: The story has been updated to reflect that the shirt worn in the Wool&Prince Kickstarter video is not the shirt that will be produced the company. The shirt in the video is a Pendleton wool shirt; the Wool&Prince shirts will not be made with Pendleton wool.
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