Interview by Melanie Gropler

Cutting consumers’ costs and maximizing profit for carefully curated selection of limited edition apparel, available exclusively online - that’s the aim of Founded June 2015 by former Dell expert Dustin Hindman, the Cut-To-Order platform is a one-stop-shop service for brands and bloggers who want to launch apparel, handling all aspects of production. “Trunkist was born out of my corporate experience working at Dell and my entrepreneurial experience creating my own outdoor apparel brand.  I guess it was only natural for the two experiences to converge in my mind.  I had one of those light bulb moments where I realized that I could apply my Dell build-to-order experience to the fashion industry.  We call it cut-to-order and you only need to make a few adjustments to Dell’s model to effectively apply it to fashion”, Hindman stated. In 2014, he decided to leave Dell and dive into the fashion world launching Trunkist. Here, he talks about his concept, the business model, the importance of sustainability and why also established brands are attracted by the platform. 

Please, tell us more about the concept of Trunkist! What’s the idea of the platform?
A trusted design partner, Trunkist provides visionary brands with the tools and resources to produce one-of-a-kind garments; handles design, in collaboration with the brand partner; and manages all elements of production including sourcing, technical design, manufacturing and shipping. Within 6-8 weeks following each trunk show sale, consumers receive their limited edition garment.

Production is solely based on quantities sold during the pre-order trunk show, thus reducing excess inventory waste, cutting consumers’ costs and maximizing profit, underscoring our DNA of “Fashion without Waste.”

Trunkist produces the ultimate products in men’s and women’s contemporary fashion, and provides the platform for emerging and established brands to deliver innovative designs directly to consumers.  From inspired dresses and the perfect guy’s button down to technical activewear, Trunkist is a new way to shop for niche apparel in the now.

What’s the business model of Trunkist? How do you earn your money?
We earn money based on product sales. Everything sold on is sold in a pre-order format.  In other words, we take the orders first, batch them up and then produce the orders for customers.

We also earn money from product development services. Brands and bloggers pay us to develop unique, one-of-a-kind garments. We have an amazing product development team that works directly with brands and bloggers to turn their apparel ideas into reality.

TRUNKIST X Lindsey Creel
TRUNKIST X Lindsey Creel

What’s your target group? Who are your customers?
We primarily work with what we refer to as ‘new branders’.  By new branders, I’m referring to the new media stars that have developed a significant online following and awareness because they are an inspiration to those who follow them. New branders are excellent at connecting with their audience in often deep and meaningful ways.  The perfect example is Brock McGoff.  Brock runs The Modest Man, very successful blog that serves men that are 5 foot 9 inches and under.  Men looking to dress taller turn to Brock for style advice.  Now, they can turn to Brock to purchase Modest Man designed and branded apparel on Trunkist’s platform, who we worked with to design the perfect everyday shirt for men under 5’9” currently on sale through December at

Along with bloggers like Brock McGoff, we are excited to partner with ‘new branders’ from the reality show world this month – specifically Project Runway Season 14 designers, including runner up Kelly Dempsey, as well as Lindsey Creel, Amanda Perna and Duncan Chambers-Watson. We helped the inspiring designers execute signature capsule collections that speak to their audiences at a great price point that will be launching on sale on December 7th on as well.

Are the customers themselves also involved in the creative process? How would you describe the creative work? The choice of materials, cuts …? Is that all about digital?
Our customers, who we like to refer to as the Creative Directors, are involved in the creative process 100%. Their primary role is to set the vision and make decisions along the way.  Our job is to bring their ideas to life.  We’ve developed structured and repeatable processes to support our customers every step of the way.

What are the most popular products you create? Any tendencies or trends you can describe?
New branders come to Trunkist looking to create fashion products they can’t currently find in the market. They want our help to create products that are both trend forward and unique.  New branders appreciate the fact that Trunkist can help them respond to a trend much faster.  We are fast to market because we sell direct and take pre-orders on products.  In other words, we don’t have to wait on inventory to start selling.
In terms of popularity, we’ve had success in both the menswear and womenswear categories. Brock McGoff’s shirt for men under 5’9 is a perfect example.

Where are the pieces produced and manufactured?
We primarily work with USA based manufacturers in order for us to achieve the goal for consumers to receive their limited edition garments within 6-8 weeks following each trunk show sale. We have a number of different manufacturing partners that produce the pieces sold on

How important is sustainability to your customers?
Sustainability is very important to our customers. It’s one of the main reasons they decide to do business with Trunkist. Customers like that our business model matches demand to supply which means we virtually eliminate excess inventory waste.  We only work with manufacturers that adhere to high standards and we’ve made a 1% corporate pledge to

TRUNKIST X Duncan Chambers-Watson
TRUNKIST X Duncan Chambers-Watson

And how will you ensure this in your supply chains?
First and foremost, we select supply chain partners that have built solid reputations in the industry.  We visit our manufacturers to walk through their facilities and take a first-hand look at the working conditions.

What do customers have to pay to get their own collection ready?
It varies significantly by customer. We have some customers who know exactly what they want and have already done most of the product development work.  We have other customers who start with a Pinterest board of ideas and need our full suite of product development services.

Are returns an issue? How do you handle them?
We offer a satisfaction guarantee on our products.  We give customers 14 days from the receipt of goods to decide if they want to return it for a full refund.  We do our best to give clear sizing guidance to consumers before they make a purchase. 

How do you promote Trunkist?
We promote Trunkist online and through social media.  We spend the most time on Instagram, and also look to our clients to reach out to their friends and followers.

How many orders did you deliver since Trunkist was founded only a few months ago?
We are pleased with the performance of our platform.  We’ve made a number of technology refinements since the launch.  Our pre-order platform currently delivers above industry average conversion rates on web traffic.  Overall revenues are growing at more than 40% month over month.

Small labels use your platform to launch their own stuff. Why do you think that also real brands need Trunkist for their design work?
Established brands should consider working with Trunkist if one of the following apply:  (a) they are looking for fresh product ideas (b) they are interested in partnering with a new brander to create something special or (c) they are interested in outsourcing some of their design work. Kristan Glass is our Chief Creative Officer and has spent most of her career helping very established brands, most recently Vice President of Womenswear Design at Tommy Hilfiger.  Mallory Curlee-Green is our Director of Fashion Design and was recognized in 2014 as Austin’s top fashion designer. Stephanie Fulton is our Fashion Design & Development Manager and spent over 9 years as a designer at Abercrombie & Fitch.

From a pure technology stand-point, the Trunkist platform is open to established brands. We welcome menswear and womenswear brands to use our platform to conduct pre-order campaigns for new products.