The Menswear Style Podcast

Ryan Mallinson, Founder of Mallin & Son

July 07, 2022 Menswear Style Episode 181
The Menswear Style Podcast
Ryan Mallinson, Founder of Mallin & Son
Show Notes Transcript

The Mallinson family name dates back to the early 1900s with many of that time making a living in Yorkshire Mills as 'Cloth Dressers'. A career in textiles was reignited in 2019 by Ryan who created the brand shortly after the birth of his son Edward. Hailing from a working class estate in the suburbs of Leeds, a gap was soon found in the craft of re-waxing and repairing wax jackets.  Beginning with friends and then independent customers, Mallin & Son started servicing high end jackets from Barbour, Belstaff, Burberry and all in-between whilst flying the flag for sustainable fashion, all from a kitchen table. The business soon became an authority on wax jackets for customers and enthusiasts across the globe. Leading manufacturers soon came onboard, working direct with them on behalf of their customer. 

The brand's first clothing release was a small run of Great British heritage garments which took inspiration from 1960s boxing gyms, with the Union Jack taking prominence upon a hand printed patch that linked back to the brands history of repairs. In October 2021, the brand released the Coxley Made in England range, named after a local woodland and manufactured 30 miles over the Pennines in Manchester. Limited and numbered to 50 pieces of each design, the range was taken on by a number of exclusive retailers and sold out before the end of the year. 2022 saw the first seasonal release with Spring/Summer 2022 taking inspiration from the East Yorkshire coast and again was available in an exclusive number of retailers across the UK. 

In this episode of the MenswearStyle Podcast we interview Ryan Mallinson, Founder of Mallin & Son about the founding story of his brand which he stumbled upon by chance. He enjoyed the process of re-waxing his own jacket and also realised lots of people would unnecessarily buy a new jacket once the wax had worn off. Our host Peter Brooker and Ryan talk about working directly with Belstaff, the importance of customer experience, sustainability, and repairing leather jackets.

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PB:

Hello, welcome to another episode of the menswear style podcast. I'm your host Pete Brooker. Today I am talking to Ryan Mallinson. He is the creator and founder of Malin and sun and Mallinson. They started servicing high end jackets from Barbra Belstaff Burberry and everything in between whilst flying the flag for sustainable fashion, all from their kitchen table in the heart of West Yorkshire and I had a great time talking to Ryan. We did about 20 minutes off bear talking about Leeds and Wakefield, where he's from and film jackets and what it's like to work within the industry and, and how to source really, really lucrative motorcycle jackets. None of that's in this interview. But a lot of great stories about how Ryan got the brand off the ground. And I think some of this will be very pertinent to you. So without any further ado, here is Ryan Mallinson to talk about the brand Malin and son.

Unknown:

So Marlon unsanitary as you can probably hear and tell my surname is Mallinson. It's a play on my surname. And it is a business that started by accident, maybe three years ago. Now. I am a tight Yorkshiremen, as you can probably tell by my accent, and I needed a barber jacket wax in. So I bought one and working in digital services, which is my background, user centred design, all this kind of technology based thing. You don't do much for your hands, and you certainly don't see an end product. So I decided to give waxing ago, I've never done anything before, I never knew it was a thing. Did it made an absolute mess of the jacket that works. So I thought, right, this has got to be easier. So I tried it again. And realised for probably an hour a bit longer, I wasn't doing anything other than thinking and just relaxing most wax in a jacket. Which sounds bizarre. But normally, when a technologist steals your time and steals everything from you, sometimes it's really liberating to just remove all of that stuff. So yeah, from there, did a bit of research tapping back into my skill set and realised there was a real gap in the market for that kind of thing. Started doing friends. And it soon became apparent to me that people weren't aware that wuxing was a legitimate thing. So as an example, you'll have people going into Belstaff and paying 450 pounds for a Trailmaster. The wax will wear off after a year. If you wear that a lot. It then stops being waterproof, and then what people were doing. And again, based on my research that we're going to pay in 450 for another Trailmaster which we'll come on to the sustainability element later on. But again, bringing it back to the tiger auction be absolutely honest, massive waste of money, really, because these jackets are perfectly fine. So I'd wax the jacket for 50 pounds, a go back to the customer and they're like, Wow, this is as good as new. You've saved me 500 pounds there. And that's just using Belstaff as an example. So and I'll be honest with you, it's one of these things where you look back and you think, why on earth do they do this? Why did I do that? But it was a case of I just fancied doing something different. So at the time, I had an old Mini Clubman not an old old one, but a 2013 Mini Clubman in red it look looks amazing. And he used to walk around Leeds, where I used to work full time is what random lunchtime handing out flyers for this service to people who looked like they might own a watch jacket or people wearing watch jackets, talking to retailers that sold them stock my fliers in there. And then the phone started ringing, no website, no Facebook page or anything. The phone started ringing and then I would go drive spend my evenings driving around Yorkshire picking up these watch jackets. And again, as I'm saying this to be thinking what and I was thinking, however, there's so many jackets. So I'd watch them turn around in a week. And it really just built from there. Then it came to a point of me thinking I can't I can't sustain this because it's costing me a million pounds in petrol per week, right. But I'm on to something I really am on to something, set up a website and started doing well. The one main decision, the kind of big decision that changed everything for the business was to do a mailbag service. So the thing I found was getting the jackets in people were now realising this was a service. Then I realised that wanted the service because it saved them money and it also gave them a jacket back that that was fit for purpose. So the problem wanted to solve was getting that jacket to me. So kind of informally, I had a few people just post them this is all in my home address as well working in the attic. But they were arriving in bin liners and Sainsbury's bags and all this kind of thing. So I did a bit more research and state a mailbox service offer My Website whereby a customer goes to our to our website, types in their name and address. And then they receive an address mailbag and an order form to pop it in, and it comes back to us. So that took all of that hassle out of that process. And that was two years ago. So roll on now these mail bugs are going out to America. I mean, we do so many to the US and being a bit of a romantic when the states come out with the names of the states come back and like oh, wow, look at this. This is New York, and this is Alabama. How on earth is this happening? So just going back a step we will I used to push it a lot on Facebook used to go on the Belstaff owners groups and all this kind of thing. And then I received a email from Belstaff themselves saying they'd been watching us and taking note of our work. This is completely off the record, but definitely on the record. So here we go. And they took us on as a partner. And this was two years ago, I was sat in my attic during a massive heatwave. So the year before the pandemic sat in the attic in my boxer shorts during a massive Heatwave, waxing 50 jackets from from Belstaff region streetstyle. And that was just like, right. Okay, this is if Bell staff are taking notice we're doing something right.

PB:

So what would they say to interject? All right, what would they doing the brands before they got ahold of you? Would they have their own in house team that would do this? Okay,

Unknown:

so I think what we've done and we've done this with Barbara as well, because I've met with with Barbara in the last year, we've they've been offering this service and our Belstaff used to do for free. Barbara did it but took six to eight weeks. Now we were doing it in seven days. So you can't compete with that if a customer puts the jacket on today, and it's raining, they want that to be

PB:

season one over and six to eight. Exactly,

Unknown:

exactly that. And there are lots of horror stories about them going missing and all this kind of thing. So I wanted to bring that real customer service element back into it. You know that the person you're speaking to as a person watching your jacket, I'm going to at the time of gun run in the car was shaking hands and pre COVID Obviously, in my flat cut my watch jacket and red mini it was a bit of nostalgia, you're selling that whole experience and that feeling to somebody going wow, this guy's coming to my big house in Boston spa and collecting my five barbers and he's gonna take them away and bring them back. All I have to do is pay the guy some money when it comes. It's it's customer experience. So barber and Belstaff. I use them too as the kind of exemplars of wax jackets. They're the two mainstays and there's lots of people doing better, private white. And just to mention one John partridge and have a brand I work with who are fantastic Peregrine. But Barbara Bell stuff, we're offering this as a service, Belstaff. We're offering it for free. And Barbara, we're doing it took a long time. So I went in and charge more than Barbra not by much, seven pounds mile per jacket. I was happy with that. And I still am and it's and it never stopped with them. So that's great. But we've Belstaff I think what we did as a business was make them realise that this industry was a thing. And it was a little bit profitable because we we've built a business on the back of that. One of the things again, being cynical about it is a lot of those traditional barber and Belstaff customers who love the old Limited Edition pieces and the soul wears it because of Barber and all these kinds of things. They've grown a little bit disillusioned with those brands who've now gone mainstream and high street. So the customer who connects with I'm going to use a solways zipper, a barber solways zipper which is a revered jacket. People love them. And if you can get hold of them, they're not going to go into a High Street store and buy a barber, two piece shots and matching nylon shirt if that makes sense. So what was also doing is mopping up some of that heritage that those brands had forgotten. So me the Yorkshireman doing our thing shaking hands bringing back that whole craftsman that whole customer experience people were really connecting to us on that aspect. Well,

PB:

it's it's quite fascinating, because I mean, we touched on sustainability. I'm guessing what year were you driving around in the Cooper trying to shake hands and get get in front of people?

Unknown:

2018 2019

PB:

sustainability was was the thing. I mean, for years on, it's really a thing now and it's almost like front and centre of everybody's webpage. Now our E commerce site is their sustainability pledge, even before the newsletter sometimes. But back then what was the vibe and what were the conversations around sustainability for you but

Unknown:

it wasn't so the whole greenwashing thing is a thing now, if you see it in shop windows, I've every high street where there's a green slogan in the window and it's like this is this is this is nonsense, virtue signalling. Absolutely. Now I'm not going to say that I am the saviour of sustainability through my linens and all this kind of things. I'm from a council estate in Leeds. Now, you know, I should not be wearing a Belstaff, let alone. You know me people like where I'm from, we don't do that. We don't talk about sustainability and all this kind of thing. Sustainability is naturally a byproduct of what we do. So fixing mendon reproofing. It's naturally sustainable. You know, am I very lucky or very clever? depends who's talking to me. And I'll give you a different answer. But it's what we're doing now with a lot of brands are using us as their, their tick for sustainability. So we work with a lot of watch jacket manufacturers, who some silently some, some talk about was quite quite openly, because they can't afford to bring into their business what we do. So they outsource to us, and that's they're going sustainable at UK really,

PB:

yeah. It's quite interesting also, that these are investment pieces when people buy a Belstaff, like you mentioned, or whatever jacket is, is typically any kind of wax or rigid fabric Canvas, you know, you're going to be paying a handsome sum, but these are investment pieces that people expect to last. So I don't quite know the mentality. And I think it might just be old fashioned dude mentality when something doesn't quite go the way you want it with a certain garment, you then start thinking, is it just going to be easier time and money wise for me to go out and spend another 700 credit check it? And the answer is no.

Unknown:

It's marketing. That is up to you, isn't it? Yeah,

PB:

it's something brand new and shiny. And

Unknown:

absolutely, I mean, I did it. I fall for it a lot. I'm I sit behind the other side of the marketing game. Now social media is a tool for a brand to build a business, you know, is one aspect of it. And I have a love hate relationship with that, but actually for it for my business has been fantastic. But we've marketing. I bought some aftershave last week, and then I went to I took my stepdaughter to the Trafford Centre yesterday, had a whiff of some aqua dipalma. And now I'm fit what I need aftershave. And I'm like, Well, you don't need the aftershave. The marketing has told you that you need the aftershave. So we've the the jacket thing. Everybody knows it's like an old pair of jeans, a pair of shoes, they are investment pieces, your shoes, your outerwear, that's the bits you want to put your money into. Nothing fits like a jacket that you've had a long time and stories we get from. And I generally mean this the jackets who've been passed down from grandparents. So we had a jacket that I had, it was a leather jacket, but it's been in the Battle of Britain. And the amount of stories that people tell you about their jackets and the emotional connection. They don't want to burn them off. And you know, this is a question about the quality of the newest stuff as well. Is it as good, I'm not, I don't think it is not in everything, but in quite a lot of things. But we talk about adding chapters to a jacket story. So when you've ripped it, we'd like to see that big patch, we want to see that fix. And that's, you know, this is when I was walking the dog and this happened. And that's the kind of thing so it's that emotional connection that that links into that experience that has really caught people's imagination.

PB:

And you do other lines as well as the repair. So that's, yeah, well, maybe you can tell me how much of that is part of the business versus the other lines that you have the T shirts and the partials and what else is going on?

Unknown:

Absolutely. So this this is where and this has been a long journey for me personally, because when we talk about sustainability, we can't get any more sustainable than fixing something old and and putting it you know, giving it back to the customer. So creating something new, am I adding to the problem? Now that was a big, big question for me. But I'm ambitious. And I also see when people buy T shirts, so we do t shirts we've done sweatshirts, I want to say kind of basic essentials stuff that you can it's representative me basically I want to create stuff that I want to wear because then you know it's why bother but by buying into our brand or our T shirts either as people supporting what we do as a almost as a movement for the jackets and so on. So we have Yeah, we have a range of T shirts. late this year. We're gonna be getting some woollen goods made in a factory up in the Yorkshire Dales are made from local wool as well so there's some some great stories there we handmake hats from local wool. So we've got some really nice touch points and stories. Last year we did a big run of sweatshirts and tees manufactured in this country

PB:

that for a local boxing gym I saw was it a limited?

Unknown:

No no it was it was completely inspired by that whole feel of the the vintage boxing gyms of the 60s. So that was the everything we do we try and do limited and there's two reasons to that. One, I want people to buy it, too. I want people to feel special when they buy it. And luckily Touchwood so far everything has sold. But when you start looking into deeper into the manufacturing game. That's when thing big things become really murky. And when you start wondering about where things are made, and what's the right choice, is there been absolutely cards on the table here? If I manufacture a t shirt in this country, it's going to cost me 17 pound per unit. If I manufacture that in Portugal, that's going to cost me seven pounds per unit, as a small business that's effectively trying to grow away it's Where's what's the right answer to that? You know, it's, it's a real difficult, difficult thing to do really? Well, you.

PB:

I mean, it's, it's not a new problem, because I've interviewed quite a few people on this podcast that have done both, like they've stuck to their roots, you know, and they've almost flown the flag for the brand that they might be representing saying, This is what we're about this is our identity is making stuff in England. And then they might get four or five years down the road with such brand want to upscale it, but no, it's it's a slog, because of how much it costs to produce garments in this country. Whereas you have people that might look like they're the ambassadors for British fashion, and I'll say his name as well. David Gandy, who will have David Gandy, well were made in Portugal. Yeah, that's nothing against David Gandy or his line or his clothes, but he's made a decision early on to have English designs made elsewhere and not have the philosophy of the brand centred around English manufacturing, even though he is a great ambassador for English Taylor, there is a conversation to have with your inner self, I suppose. How important is it for you, someone like you to have the garments made in the UK?

Unknown:

Absolutely. So funny. You mentioned David Gandy, we crossed paths the end of last year, just by chance, almost. I don't know if I should say this, but hope for hopefully he'll be wearing one of our hearts next winter, because he bought one last year, which was a massive thing for us. And he offered some really good feedback on the touch points as a brand, which was really interesting, obviously, with his experience and all that kind of thing. But yeah, the I know that the wellway stuffs made in Portugal. Now, you look at like Belstaff, a lot of that's made in Romania, Carhart, a lot of that's made in Bangladesh.

PB:

So here's some spells my son's belt was made in Portugal. I mean, that's like the don't watch any older than Sundsvall.

Unknown:

Exactly. So is it? Do we go for quality? Or do we go for? I'm not saying, I'm not saying that? The answer is that it's worse quality in this country? It isn't. But the quality of the goods made in Portugal who are known as for jerseys and so on. That is fantastic. It's fantastic. So what I'm not sure what the answer is, really. It's, it's a tough one. So what I try and do is balance that. So the link with UK brands such as John Partridge, and collaborate on making UK made jackets, so we've done one so far, which has gone really well and really happy with that. But to take that a little bit further, what we're about to launch is a custom works project. So we were getting customers messaging us and saying, Look, I've seen a barber jacket on eBay and a buyer but send it straight to you, you do your work to it and then send it to me. We used to get that a lot. So what we're now doing is buying everything on eBay buying everything on vintage Depop all of the old pieces that are dead, you know that need a lot of work doing to them, and reimagining them rethinking them, customising them, and then putting them back into circulation

PB:

for your, for your channels

Unknown:

through through our site. So we've got a whole host Well, a whole pile of BBs and Bell stuffs at the minute that I've We've some kind of run of the mill repairs that will, you know, they're all gonna look fantastic. But there's some where we've been a little bit more creative, adding some wax camo fabric and ginger, the linings and all this kind of thing. But again, it's going to be a one on one piece, we're going to do a hand printed patch on the inside to say it's a Malian some custom works. It's it's really bizarre because again, my background and what I didn't want I do to find myself sat here talking to you about this is it's mind boggling. Earlier today, I was doing a quick Google of our brand. And I found threads on Reddit about people in the US asking for services like how was in the US and what is this? This is absolutely insane, but

PB:

that's nice. Yeah. You know, you've arrived when you have people in forums talking about you, how can you get a version of this guy? Type and go guys, I'm here. You don't need a version of me.

Unknown:

I did that. I love them. I love them. Hi, Ryan. Yeah.

PB:

Ryan, I've only got a couple of minutes left certainly longer on the call. But I wanted to ask Do you have any like film jackets? Do you work with any production companies like film companies?

Unknown:

No, no, we've had a couple I think come through from Emmerdale. Anybody from Yorkshire? We've had a few girls through there. And we have done a few jackets for a gentleman who's a stuntman who I would not let him go So that was the time we were before we move to the office in the workshop. I was doing this from home and he came in, I'm like, You need to sit down and tell me about your life because this sounds amazing. And he was telling me about his job and all this kind of thing. But no, we're not that No, of we've done. Yeah. It's kind of head down with the thing we like some of the customers come through. And some of the guys in the office obviously knows this. It's like, wow, I've just read that person's book, or, you know, it's pretty cool to do that. And I also feel, it's really cool that we offer them that safe environment to do that. But yeah, in terms of actual film production, not knowingly done anything more than the local soaps, and so on.

PB:

They is young. You never know what's around the corner, the website Malin and son.com. And we'll leave all the links over on the show notes at menswear style dot code at UK. Do you like to hang out on Instagram? The place to

Unknown:

find Instagram yet? Mallinson Instagram, Melissa, nice and easy. Great on that.

PB:

Awesome. Go there and check that out. Guys. Ryan keep doing the Lord's work. Thank you you've been listening to the menswear style podcast be sure to head over to menswear style.co.uk For more menswear content and email info at menswear style.co.uk If you'd like to be a future guest on the show. Finally, please help support the show by leaving a review on iTunes or wherever you're listening to this podcast. Until next time