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Bruce Gifford of 360 Cashmere

Bruce Gifford is a 4th generation apparel designer so he is no stranger to fabrics and textiles. Bruce started importing knitwear from the Far East in the early 1980’s and has made close to 200 trips to Asia since then.

Bruce shares his startup story and how he has created and recreated brands over the years selling cashmere.  Bruce’s company is purely internet based (direct to consumer) these days making it easier for them to test the consumer waters and give them exactly what they want in a short span of time.

With his whole family on board, Bruce is growing the business quickly.

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More about Bruce

Bruce Gifford began his career decades, maybe centuries before he was even born. A minimum of 4 generations of apparel DNA fill his bloodstream. His father founded a large career apparel company in the 1970’s. His Grandfather was one of a small group of men who moved the Garment Center from the Lower East Side to its present location just south of Times Square. He does not know much about his Great-Grandfather, but on him immigration papers, he listed his career as “textiles”

Bruce Gifford started importing knitwear from the Far East in the early 1980’s and has made close to 200 trips to Asia since then. For the last 15 years, Bruce has concentrated on Cashmere. He got his first taste of e-commerce in 1998 when he bought the domain www.sweater.com. His first attempt at e-commerce died in the infamous tech bust of 2000. Like any good entrepreneur, he shook off the dust and got back to business. In 2002 he re-launched Sweater.com as a more traditional sweater import model. The company grew very quickly and he sold the company to Hartmarx Corp of  Chicago. Unfortunately,  Hartmarx did not survive the economic reset of 2008/2009. Again, that only gave Bruce an opportunity to start a new company, 360SWEATER Company, LLC. That company now sells, primarily cashmere products to virtually every luxury retailer in the world. With 6 offices in the US, 3 in Canada, 5 in Europe and one in Korea, it is hard not to find one the great cashmere brands under the 360 Umbrella. The key to the success of any great man, is a great woman. In Bruce’s case, that is his wife, Leslie. A former Saks Fifth Ave. buyer turned sweater designer allows Bruce to bring her designs to life.

To stay young, current and “on trend” Bruce and Leslie rely on both of their children, Andrew, 30 and Alex 27 who work in the companies New York offices.

The extremely fast growth that Andrew Gifford pushed in their e-commerce channel inspired Bruce to create a DTC – Direct to Consumer model to sell luxury cashmere products. The spark of the idea hit on April 1 of 2016. Any other company would be looking to launch in 2017. However, with the already established infrastructure for producing cashmere, Gifford moved in hyper-speed to launch the NAKED CASHMERE brand  9.1.16. He put together a 1st class content team, lead by Andrew Gifford as CMO, David Lipman, the legendary creative genius behind David Yurman, Stuart Weitzman, Hudson Jeans and other great brand. David reached out to Peter Lindbergh, one of the most respected fashion photographers who, in turn, reached out to Kate Moss. The team came together instantly. The goal of NAKED CASHMERE is to build the words 1st luxury brand to launch direct to consumer.  This will allow Gifford to offer cashmere products at prices that are half the price of traditional retail. But this is no cheap and chic business, NAKED CASHMERE is a truly luxury brand for women, men and also a very exciting collection under the brand NAKED CURVES made in curvy sizes (1x-3x)

The rest of the story is yet to be written as both of the Gifford children can claim to be 5th generation in the business. Success is in their genes.

 

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Written by Sarah Shaw

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