Crafting the perfect mail order t-shirt

Sometimes the simplest business ideas are the best. Of course, you have to come up with them first.

It happened at the beginning of this year in Sweden. The Scandinavians, after all, are not only an extremely enterprising people—think IKEA and H&M—but one also views their good taste as a perfect marriage of function and aesthetic.

If one has the vision and necessary skills, as well the handworkers and people who understand that visionary’s vibe, there is only one hurdle left: the capital needed for production. My Scandinavian friends, August Bard Bringéus and Jakob Dworsky, faced this exact challenge as they were trying to realize their concept for ASKET.

What’s ASKET all about? The perfect white t-shirt. Not a status symbol, not a fashion find but a “basic” as basic as a pair of jeans, a white button-down, or a pair of Chucks. Normally, t-shirts are made in five sizes, from XS to XL. But everyone who fits in between knows the reality of too long, too short, or too wide, and they make the compromise of choosing an imperfect size. Why is one of the world’s most produced items of clothing not offered in a range of perfection?

That’s how creating the perfect t-shirt became August and Jakob’s mission:

“Full disclosure—we’re not fashion designers. We’re just a couple of guys who happen to love classic t-shirts and have a hard time understanding why we’re constantly offered thousands of fast fashion designs, but have to struggle to find a classic white crew neck. Or why we end up paying eighty euros for a shirt that either doesn’t fit or quickly falls apart. ASKET is our opportunity to make the t-shirt we’ve always searched for, but never could find.”

“We believe that less is more. Every part of our venture, from design to our processes and partnerships, is made with simplicity in mind. If it doesn’t add value to the product, then it has to go. By cutting away the fat, we have more time, energy, and resources to focus on what truly matters in a garment: quality, fit, and a fair price.”

They hoped to get the money they needed via a Kickstarter campaign, and within only a few hours, more than three times the amount they’d proposed came together to finance the first round of production. In their search for the perfect t-shirt, they weren’t alone. People from Hong Kong, Australia, Germany, and America had eagerly embraced the two lads’ knee-deep start-up.

The key is in their clever sizing system. ASKET produces fifteen different fits: X,S,M,L, XL and in short, regular, and long.

August and Jakob invested a lot of energy in development—the cut and the choice of materials—and put a great deal of trust in their production partners in Portugal. Partnership is important to them: All of the people involved in production are fairly paid. Material costs correspond to the quality, and the profit is mostly reinvested, making possible the creation of an online shop that was launched in July of this year.

The results have been amazing. Realizing that one can only change something if one takes the reins oneself, August and Jakob have become entrepreneurs. With a love of detail and enterprise—no laissez-faire is allowed.

And it certainly won’t be their last idea.

ASKET t-shirts are available online: