Long-time friends turned business partners, Josh Perez & Levi Tijerina, took the risk of launching their business venture, Pedro & Tailor, in the midst of COVID-19. With one mission in mind, to “Celebrate A Life of Wonder,” the dynamic duo navigated a new business launch alongside being stay at home dads, as both of their wives worked on the frontlines of COVID-19 as nurses.
Josh and Levi’s stories first begin in photography. In their separate, successful careers, they began to notice that there weren’t many brands focused on celebrating diverse cultures. Both being of Hispanic heritage, the friends wanted to create a brand that would be a nod to minority cultures, such as their own.
“We are a business built on the idea of celebration. Celebrating your own unique cultures, histories, and stories,” says Josh, CMO of Pedro & Tailor.
Launching Business During COVID-19
As the business prepared to launch in the spring of 2020, COVID-19 placed a pause on their product manufacturing process. In light of the delay, Josh and Levi didn’t allow circumstances to slow them down. Without any products in place, Pedro & Tailor proceeded to launch by the means of a photography grant, giving away $2,000 in prizes to photographers for submitting their photos. The only guideline was to submit a photo that represented their mission of “A Life of Wonder.”
“We had friends losing jobs. It’s not like it was life-changing money, but it was just the gesture that gave. We’re here with you. We see you, and hope this is a way to keep your head up,” says Levi, CEO of Pedro & Tailor.
The giveaway proved to be a huge success. By leading with generosity, interest around the brand quickly began to grow. Potential customers started inquiring about products and where to purchase. In response, Pedro & Tailor quickly released their first product in April of 2020, a hat imprinted with their slogan, “Celebrating a Life of Wonder, Inspired by the Places We Come From.”
“We started our business giving money away before we could make any. We wanted to build our brand showing we care more about what we have to give. This kick-started an amazing tribe and early adopters of people who wanted to support us. Then the sales naturally started to take off,” says Josh.
Despite their unconventional business beginnings, the mission behind the brand is what kept the founders inspired to keep moving forward, regardless of the obstacles that initially stood in their way.
Levi: “The mission behind our brand is to help people celebrate their unique journey along the way. People who identify as a minority are searching for brands they can identify with and say, They get me. They get my story. They get my culture. It’s a really big thing.”
Josh: “We really wanted to build a brand where the DNA of the company was truly built on diversity from day one and recognized global cultures.”
Levi: “While most of our stuff is tied into our Hispanic roots, we wanted to create space for people to have a chance to express their own stories and heritage. We built our business around celebrating people.”
To support the passion and heart behind the brand, Pedro & Tailor knew it needed a strong slogan to embody their mission. Josh shared a personal testament to where the business’s inspiring message, “A Life of Wonder” originated from.
Josh: “My mom passed away a couple of years ago. She wrote a letter when I was a kid that I found after she passed away. The last line read, “I hope you advance to a life of wonder.” Inspired by my mom when we launched our brand, we took “A Life of Wonder” as our slogan.”
The ShipStation Solution
Discovering ShipStation on a podcast, the duo knew that they would need a shipping solution to power their business forward. ShipStation’s seamless integration with Squarespace allowed the business to efficiently onboard the software into their business. As they juggled navigating COVID-19, starting their own business, and caring for their families, they leaned on ShipStation to support their endeavors.
“Between us owning a creative agency and having two kiddos involved? Do we have the time to handle shipping ourselves?” That was a big question mark. ShipStation was like, “Yes, you can!” So we did it. Here we are using ShipStation,” says Josh.
Within weeks of launching, Pedro & Tailor received its first international order. Navigating international orders became easy with the assistance of ShipStation’s forums, help center, and resource pages.
“We use the ShipStation calculator to figure out how much it costs to ship to Norway? We’d look and within 30 seconds, we can get an accurate quote for how much it costs to ship to Norway, which then led to an international sale. The process is repeatable for any unique location,” says Levi.
Saving time on shipping to focus on building their business is of uppermost importance to Josh and Levi. ShipStation allows Josh and Levi to continue to focus on what matters most.
Josh: “ShipStation has saved us 5x the time, and we’re just starting off. I think once we get busier, I look forward to the day where we can just hit batch print on hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of orders, and it just keeps flowing. When we look at the future, you guys are just saving a ridiculous amount of time. It’s insane.”
Levi: “We are excited about the fact that we know we can get our product to people anywhere in the world quickly, easily, simply. All the hurdles of growth are kind of removed from us in terms of shipping and scalability and logistics. It makes it possible for us to just start thinking about how to make the best products possible.”
Josh: “The fact that it takes us about 30 seconds to log into ShipStation and have a label printed out is incredible.”
Dreaming Big – What’s Next
When it comes to what’s next for the growing brand, Pedro & Tailor are hoping to launch more products this coming summer. Pairing their passion for heritage with their heart for people, the brand hopes to team up with artisans from across the globe to manufacture their products.
Josh: “We both have a strong desire to try and source products from not just the places we come from, but having intentional relationships with our manufacturers and our makers. Right now the chore coat, we’re making it in Guatemala. We talk to the people who are making it down in Guatemala. I think no matter even if it’s in Asia, the Middle East, wherever it might be that our products are made from, we do want to try and get as close to the source as possible and develop a true relationship with them.”
Levi: “I think you get a better experience this way too. The fewer things you have between the product and the customer, makes the quality improve.”
As they move forward in their pursuits, the business will continue to use ShipStation along the way.
“When we think about scaling our company, we think about ShipStation. It simplifies not just our job, but our future as we begin to hire out some of this work,” says Josh.
Advice To Business Owners
Inspired by their leap of faith to begin a business in the midst of COVID-19, we asked Josh and Levi to share concluding words of encouragement to aspiring entrepreneurs.
Josh: “It’s kind of cliché, but know your audience. That’s how we built a tribe right away. We kind of started the opposite, we didn’t even have anything to sell, but we know exactly who our audience is.”
Levi: “Don’t let things stop you from moving forward. I think sometimes it’s easy to have analysis paralysis, where you don’t know what you should do so you just kind of sit there thinking it through for weeks or months or years. I think people sit there. They want to launch a business, but they always get stuck in the analysis. Go with your gut and trust yourself. Don’t get too caught up in what the right way is or what the best way is. We just went with what feels right. I think that has really helped us out a lot.”