The Profit: Detroit Denim Creates Unique Designs After Marcus Lemonis Pushes for Change

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The Profit: Detroit Denim Creates Unique Designs After Marcus Lemonis Pushes for Change

06/12/2017 Newsletter 0

Detroit Denim

This week, Marcus Lemonis travels to Motor City to help Detroit Denim, a clothing brand that creates high-end, handmade jeans and denim accessories. According to CNBC, the owners are “stiff” and “if Marcus can’t get them to embrace new ideas, this Detroit dream will come to an end.” The denim apparel business needs a serious makeover or else the company could fall apart.

Visiting their shop, Lemonis is immediately greeted by owner Eric Yelsma and production manager Brenna Lane, who reveal that they are “romantically involved.” Trying on a pair of jeans, he admits that they become more comfortable over time Lane thinks they need to expand to women’s jeans, which Yelsma disagrees with. Lemonis is also shocked by how long it takes to make the jeans and how much more expensive they are when compared to others.

Lemonis also worries that Yelsma is “constricting” the business after seeing one of the stitcher’s custom bags, which are not being sold. Another stitcher, who doesn’t view the company as a “fashion business,” thinks that they need to offer women’s apparel as well. Lemonis quickly notices a problem with their 67-step process too, which he views as inefficient. He likes, however, that Yelsma views the company as his calling, which involves helping to rebuild the city they call home.

Next, Lemonis meets Steve Wisinski, a CPA and another partner in the business. After reviewing their outdated financial statements, which reveal margins of 25 percent, Lemonis decides to offer $300,000 for 51 percent. He hopes to improve the efficiency, lower costs, provide working capital and research and develop new products. The partners counter 35 percent, which Lemonis declines. They ultimately agree to his original offer.

Back at the shop, Lemonis encourages the team to come up with more diverse ideas, including a line of women’s jeans, which Yelsma pushes back at again. The team then visits a thrift store next to get some inspiration and new materials for products that can be embellished and redone. Lane admits that she’s overwhelmed but stitcher Marguerite quickly finds a variety of options, which are immediately shot down by Yelsma.

Lemonis then asks the team to show their creative side by repurposing the clothing that they got at the thrift shop. He quickly notices, however, that Lane may be taking herself too seriously and slowing down the process. She starts crying and admits that it’s very hard for her when things aren’t structured enough. Lemonis still hopes to “break her from her mold.” Lemonis is very impressed with their new ideas and he encourages them to continue pushing their creative limits. Yelsma pushes back at the idea again.

Wisinski then reveals that he wants nothing to do with numbers, despite being a CPA, and shares that he’s considered leaving. Lemonis tells him to get the numbers together after Lane tells him she believes he still wants to be there. On the process side, Lane cuts it down to six steps and finds innovative solutions to some of the biggest problems.

Yelsma and Lane then review other people’s ideas to further expand their creativity and potentially bring in other team members. Yelsma worries about “crappy-looking pieces” being brought into the business but Lemonis urges him to be more open-minded. They end up hiring several new designers.

The duo then presents their products at the Arts, Beats & Eats festival in the hopes of receiving constructive feedback. Many people like the unique pieces and share that they would definitely wear them. Lemonis also sees that Yelsma is opening up.

Before visiting their next festival, they ultimately decide to buy out Wisinski, but run into an issue over his equity portion and the fact that he only put $25,000 into the business. Lane admits that allowing him to continue working would be like “dead weight” for the company and Lemonis gets additional equity.

Two weeks later, the team visits the Denim Days Festival in New York. Lemonis acknowledges that the display looks “unbelievable” and loves the new vintage, “refashioned” vision. They also produced new women’s jeans, which many admit have a great fit and unique design. Production and sales have already increased by 25 percent, according to Lemonis. “It’s fashion,” he concludes.

See how social media reacted to Detroit Denim appearing on “The Profit” below:

Social Media Reacts to Detroit Denim’s Appearance on “The Profit”

“The Profit” airs every Tuesday at 10 p.m. on CNBC.

What are your thoughts on Detroit Denim’s previous process? How did you feel about Eric Yelsma’s resistance to change? Do you think Marcus Lemonis made the right decision to invest in the business? Sound off in the comments section below!

Source: B2C


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