Bite-sized Stories: CEO of CUTS Clothing, Steven Borrelli

This week, we hear from the man behind CUTS clothing, an awesome men's shirt company based in Los Angeles, CA

1. Brief about yourself/what you do

I was working at The Lambesis Agency when I noticed that men needed plain minimalist shirts they could come back to time after time and were professional enough to wear to the office. In 2015, I moved back home to Washington with the goal of creating “the only shirt worth wearing” – a shirt that would bridge the gaps between lifestyle fashion, athletic culture, and business apparel. After raising $40K through Kickstarter in just one month, CUTS officially introduced its Shopify store in August of 2017 with no investments outside of friends and family.

2. What inspired you to take on your path?

Back in 2016, I was working at an advertising agency in San Diego when I realized that the dress code was changing –– it wasn’t necessary to wear a nice button-up, slacks, and dress shoes to work every day. Brands like Lululemon hadn’t reached the point where their shirts were appropriate to wear to work (too athletic) and most brands weren’t consistent with their more minimal shirts. The tees my coworkers were wearing were great for work but weren’t stylish enough to wear out after work. CUTS was born to provide young professionals with the flexibility and confidence to rock a premium but casual shirt that works for every occasion.

3. Challenges and struggles on your path?

Back when we were just starting out –– we spent 25K on a factory in the Philippines that ended up being completely fraudulent. The CUTS team, which was three people at the time, traveled to Hong Kong and met with the factory owners and spent time with them. We found out a few months later that they had never even made a shirt. It was a devastating loss at the time but we all laugh about it now.

Lots of business decisions will end up being wrong but that doesn’t mean you can avoid making them in the first place and you learn and grow from your mistakes. The faster you can make decisions, the faster you can have success. You just need to be able to pivot quickly.

4. What was your families involvement/opinion of your decision to take on your path?

I’m so grateful for my parents. I lived with them for the first two years before CUTS saw any revenue and they were extremely supportive. Even though my parents didn't know anything about e-commerce or the fashion world, they allowed me to put 100% into my job. The momentum I had before any sales happened was because my parents were incredibly supportive. My mom would make me lunch so I didn’t interrupt my workflow. Their positive reinforcement and support were invaluable.

5. Sum up what family means to you.

Family means everything to me. They've shaped me into the person I am today, I couldn't have started CUTS without them. 

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