Poches et Fils’ meteoric rise in sales probably couldn’t have been predicated by many an expert.
Founded by three Université de Montréal alumni in their mid-twenties, Poches et Fils is a Montreal startup that sells ordinary t-shirts with a stylish, patterned pocket sewn on. The company offers dozens of different pocket designs, including watermelons, wolves, bacon and eggs, coconuts, cats and much more.
The business sold 10,000 shirts in all of 2015. In four months in 2016, it’s matched that number, with a projected sales figure of at least 30,000 shirts sold by the end of the year. The startup began selling around three shirts a day with Facebook, eventually moving on to Lightspeed‘s ecommerce offering. Today, Poches et Fils is selling around 150 shirts a day.
So why, exactly, are regular t-shirts with a cat design on its pocket so blazingly popular with people?
“I’m not sure,” said CEO Anthony Vendrame, 25. “I think they’re designs that people can easily relate to, like cats, pugs or different foods. I think we reach a lot of people with a lot of trendy stuff. If you go on Pinterest, food, cats and flowers, are typically really trendy, so that’s what we sell.”
Vendrame, a former wide receiver for the U de M Carabins football team, cofounded the business along with teammate and COO Nicolas Dubeau, 24, and Alexandre Vanier, 26. Vendrame and Dubeau were part of the Carabins 2014 Vanier Cup win, the first time U de M had ever won the CIS national title. Interestingly, the opposing quarterback that day was Marshall Ferguson, now a reporter for TSN.ca.
The story goes that Vendrame first noticed a friend wearing wearing the cool t-shirts, sewn together by his mom in their living room. Vendrame started wearing the shirts and then all his friends started buying them. So began four months of selling on Facebook, before demand got too big.
Vanier is a childhood friend of Vendrame, and joined after he designed Poches et Fils’ first website.
The company has been buying its shirts from an American distributor, but Vandrame told MTLinTech that they’re in talks with a Guatemalan company to source the shirts. From there, the team will add on the pockets in Montreal.
Poches et Fils wants to expand both its product line and its market. Vendrame hopes to soon sell sweatshirts and caps, expanding to both the United States and France. Pop up shops could be in order, but it’s not priority for now.
In terms of the near future, Poches et Fils has a few exciting prospects lined up. The company will supply Montreal indie band Half Moon Run with t-shirts for their new tour, and it’ll soon launch a new promotional video.
Ideally, said Vendrame, the brand will launch some new products by the end of the summer, or around back-to-school time.
Poches et Fil’s quick rise in ecommerce street cred hasn’t gone unnoticed. Now it’ll be interested to keep up with the guys as they enter more critical periods of growth.