Finding a good fit is very personal. Working in finance, I had to wear a dress shirt every day—but as a slimmer Taiwanese-American, it was always hard to find a dress shirt that fit my body well. I could never express myself in a proper and professional way.
The industry sizes clothing based on the "average" American man to appeal to the mass market. Through these sizing standards, pieces of clothing often become average themselves in fit, quality and design. I created Nimble Made to bring more representation and inclusion in sizing standards, starting with a slim fit that actually fits.
Our launch party in New York City. (Photos by Darlena Chiem)
Tanya's Dad wearing the New Year in Size N2!
After finally convincing my dad to go shopping for new clothes with me, he'd say right off the bat, "American dress shirts don't fit me."
My slimmer, Asian American friends often had the same issue. They couldn't find a good, quality dress shirt that fit without paying a premium, tailoring their shirts or shopping in the Junior section. There are brands solely dedicated to women's petite clothing... where were they for slimmer, Asian men. With Nimble Made, I want to drive awareness of Asian culture through the lens of thoughtfully crafted goods.
March 2018 • In the beginning, we had notebooks overflowing with ideas for a ground-breaking shirt, but never had the chance to execute them. After all, we had to wake up the next morning to our corporate jobs. But we couldn’t stand to let this idea become just another daydream. We needed a challenge – one that would speak to our Asian American upbringing.
Little did we know, this was the birth of Nimble Made.
October 2018 • We shed a lot of blood, sweat and tears while learning about the manufacturing process, finding a supplier and designing our own. sizes - all while working 40+ hours a week at our jobs. After 6 months, we finalized our fit, purchased a small batch of inventory and completed our website! Following our launch party in NYC, all that was left was one thing: leaving our full-time jobs.
Once we gave notice, we dove head-first into this endeavor.
All of 2019 • This was the year of many firsts - our first orders, returns, packages lost in the mail, photoshoots, podcast recordings, marketing campaigns, big media features - the list goes on and on. But our first mistakes became our first lessons. Like a two-person army, we worked day and night, getting our hands dirty while toiling on every tiny aspect of the brand, from popping up at corporate happy hours to cold emailing journalists. We were exhausted for sure, but there was no way we were stopping now that the fruits of our labor were showing.
We hustled like never before.
January 2020 • New year, new “warehouse.” Since the day of our launch, we had worked out of a tiny apartment in NYC. After expanding from just 3 initial dress shirt styles to 15 new styles in 6 different sizes, our inventory grew so large that we couldn’t see our TV past the huge stacks of shirt boxes. This was a sign. It was time to take the next step. We shipped our inventory from coast-to-coast to LA in a garage, where we finally had space to breathe.
Today • We continue to be a self-funded business and are learning the ins and outs of running an e-commerce startup. We were accepted into the Grid110 accelerator in April and continue to navigate the rocky waters created by COVID-19. Through the failures, lessons and everything in between, we stay true to our mission. Inspired by our Asian heritage, Nimble Made continues to create a better fit for the actually slim.
And we haven't looked back since.
Money Magazine interviews us about why we quit our corporate jobs to make dress shirts.
"Why I Quit My Job to create an 'Actually Slim Fit' Shirt for Asian American Men" by Tanya Zhang | Cold Tea Collective