If there is such a thing as craft, artisinal jeans, then the Detroit Denim Co. is making them, and it's about to start making a lot more.
The 5-year-old company is in the process of moving to a larger facility on the Detroit riverfront. The new commercial space is in a freshly renovated building at 2987 Franklin. It offers nearly triple the space as its current 1,200 square feet in the Ponyride
building in Corktown.
Detroit Denim Co. currently produces an average of six pairs of jeans per day in its current workshop in Corktown. It expects to triple that production when it moves to its new home in the coming weeks.
"Our goal with the new shop is to get up to 20 pairs of jeans a day," says Eric Yelsma, founder of Detroit Denim Co
The Detroit Denim Co. makes its jeans with vintage and new sewing machines. Its team of six people does everything from choosing, cutting, and sewing the fabric to fitting the completed jeans specifically to individual customers. Though making each pair of jeans is intensive and takes a long time, it's all part of a controlled-growth philosophy that enables Detroit Denim Co. to maintain high standards of quality. For context, Levis makes 1.2 million jeans per day.
"We tend to be pretty selective," Yelsma says. "We want to do what we do best."
That doesn't mean Detroit Denim Co. isn’t growing. It has clocked double-digit revenue gains every year and hired two people in 2015. Yelsma has plans to to add a handful of people this year.
Detroit Denim Co. has made those sales through e-commerce and local retail shops. It's looking to open its own retail shop in its new home later this year.
"We will have a full retail environment there," Yelsma says.
Source: Eric Yelsma, founder of Detroit Denim Co.
Writer: Jon Zemke
Read more about Metro Detroit's growing entrepreneurial ecosystem at SEMichiganStartup.com.