Sweat stains on dress shirts from perspiration is a nightmare for every professional working today. A handful of young MIT students believe they have engineered a shirt that will make this embarrasing mishap a thing of the past. Their company, Ministry of Supply, is bringing the qualities of athletic gear and marrying them to business apparel—Under Armour meets Polo.
Founded in December of 2010 and a launched this past October, Ministry of Supply's six founders Kevin Rustagi, Gihan Amarasiriwardena, Eddie Obropta, Jr., Eric Khatchadourian, Kit Hickey and Aman Advani have already seen over $13,000 in revenue since its fall launch.
“There hasn’t really been much innovation in business wear these past 100 years—just the same cotton dress shirt,” says Rustagi. “The biggest advancement was wrinkle-free coatings in the 70s. But we are changing that and are finally bringing technology to business apparel.”
Ministry of Supply’s “agent shirt” and undershirts are made of moisture-wicking fabrics with antibacterial coatings and are wrinkle-free. They use infrared technologies to reveal “hot spots”—the places on the human body that warm up under pressure—and incorporate subtle vents into the fabric to help prevent sweating. The company also solicits it's pioneer customers—over 175 of them with about 17 percent repeat customers—for feedback on what additions might improve the products.
“We have developed ourselves as a product design firm,” says Amarasiriwardena. “It's really important for us to have relationships with our customers and learn what their needs and wants are.”
“Our customers seem to really appreciate that we want their feedback and that we will actually take it to make changes to our products,” adds Advani. “They really are able to see that their comments and suggestions do affect our products.”
The company does intend to move beyond just business shirts for men and undershirts within the year.
“As the sole female on the team, I am very much wanting to expand into women’s wear,” says Hickey. “But that will have to wait until we know that we have gotten our designs already in the market as close to perfection as possible.”