Brian Ciciora wants his customers in high-performing pants and jackets.
But instead of selling to skiers, mountaineers or mountain bikers, he’s targeting plumbers, electricians and roofers. Think customers who climb telephone poles, not rock walls at the local gym.
“The work industry has been way behind the outdoor industry and the military,” the founder of Denver-based Truewerk said. “We don’t want to just catch up to them. We want to pass them up.”
Ciciora’s 2-year-old work apparel startup has put $350,000 of fresh funding into its hard hat, according to a Form D recently filed with the SEC. Ciciora said he’s using the funding to keep inventory in stock and to continue work on apparel design.
“That involves researching and developing new fabrics and developing garment construction,” he said.
TrueWerk’s work pants range in price from $79 to $124. New to the company’s collection this season are work shorts, an upgraded pant, a jacket and a hoodie.
While Truewerk traditionally has sold directly to individual customers in blue-collar industries, Ciciora now is going after their employers, hoping they’ll use Truewerk apparel for uniforms.
“Looking at early next year, we’re interested in expanding our sales team in the B2B market,” Ciciora said. “We’ll be looking to bring on a director-level sales person.”
Telecommunication companies, for example, have provided a large portion of Truewerk’s customers. Workers climbing cellphone towers or power lines need pants that allow a range of movement, and keep them comfortable for long periods in all types of weather.
“The tower industry is a critical component to our business,” Ciciora said. “You have to be able to climb to the top of the tower, which is very physical.”
Truewerk employs four people full time and is based in Tradecraft Industries, a coworking space for construction companies in north Denver. Ciciora declined to disclose revenue.
“I think the biggest thing is the amount of opportunity for us,” he said. “A year ago the question was, ‘Is this something of interest to people?’ Now, it’s time to really scale.”