Ledbury acquires Richmond shirtmaker

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Print this page By Veronica Garabelli
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Paul Trible and Paul Watson, the founders of Ledbury. | Ledbury Photo

A Richmond-based menswear company has its first acquisition under its belt.

Ledbury has acquired Creery Custom Shirts, a 100-year-old custom shirtmaker that’s also based in Richmond. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The deal will add three employees to its current workforce of around 30. More employees will be hired, as needed.

The move is just the latest made by the company to help fuel growth. Ledbury, which is known mostly for its shirts, was begun in 2009 by two former Oxford University classmates, Paul Trible, now the company’s CEO, and Paul Watson, its COO.  The company is seeing double-digit growth each year and expects sales to reach $10 million in the next 12 months.

In addition to the Creery acquisition, Ledbury, which primarily has been an e-commerce business, has started selling its goods wholesale to a handful of wholesale clients, including Nordstrom, a specialty department store chain. By August, the company hopes to work with 30 wholesale customers.

“I think [for] most people, the buzzword is omnichannel,” which allow customers to access a company’s products in a number of ways, says Trible.

Ledbury also expects to roll open two stores this year, likely in Washington, D.C., and somewhere in the Southeast, Trible says. In addition, the company has begun pants and polo shirt product lines. 

With the Creery acquisition, Ledbury will be making its shirts in-house for the first time (the company’s shirts also are made in Europe). Ledbury plans to open a custom-shirt store and production facility in September at Creery’s current location in Richmond’s West End where tailors will create a custom shirt pattern for customers. The shirts will then be fitted and made at the new store.

This isn’t Ledbury’s first foray into custom shirts. Earlier this year, the company launched a made-to-measure service at its downtown Richmond store, which allows clients to choose from an existing pattern that’s tailored to a customer’s size.

Watson and Trible aren’t just hoping to fuel growth for themselves. They also are helping other entrepreneurs through their Ledbury Launch Fund.

Last year, during the program’s pilot run, $25,000 was awarded to Kuli Kuli, a California-based company that makes energy bars and powder and tea from Moringa, a plant that is native to parts of Africa and Asia. Ledbury plans to repeat the program soon, hopefully with another business partner, which would allow more money to be awarded.

Trible notes that after Kuli Kuli was announced as the winner of the launch fund on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Kuli Kuli sold more of its products that day than it had in the previous six months.  

“That was nice because that was the idea,” Trible says. “It's not just a check. It was a little bit about us talking about our experience with them but also trying to profile their business, drive their traffic, so people could take part in the cool products they're making.”

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