With online apparel retailer American Giant, Bayard Winthrop is trying to do what few have done in the past several decades: produce high-quality clothing entirely in the United States. The San Francisco-based company launched in 2011 with hoodies designed to last a lifetime; it has since expanded into jackets, pants, belts, and dresses. Much of the manufacturing is done at factories in North and South Carolina, and Winthrop, a stickler for quality control, is constantly checking on the various links of his supply chain. But his tightly packed schedule leaves plenty of time--or at least some time--for other stuff. --As told to Kevin J. Ryan

How Bayard Winthrop's Day Breaks Down


A Day in the Life: 2/22/18

12-5:15 a.m.: Sleep


5:15-5:45 a.m.: Personal

Wake up. I have three young kids who are my life. I had to make a choice: I was going to see them in the morning or in the evening, but I couldn't do both. So I try to get home for dinner every night, and that means I get up early. Then I check my phone and take a quick cold shower. There's this undeniable endorphin rush, a good natural energy boost--and I like the idea of starting the day by doing something challenging.

5:45-6 a.m.: Commute

Drive to Starbucks in the same car I've had for 18 years, a 1996 Toyota Tacoma. I listen to an audiobook using Audible or my iPhone. Even if it's just a car ride, I try to do something that's either personally or professionally productive. Today I'm listening to Let My People Go Surfing, by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard. Trying to bolster an industry that has not been in its strongest shape the past 40 years requires passion and love and care among everybody in the organization. Patagonia has done a good job of imbuing its people with a sense of purpose and mission. It's an interesting corollary to our company.


6-7:45 a.m.: Work

Coffee at Starbucks in Mission Bay. This is the backbone of my day: I have no distractions and I can really think. I go over my master lists, answer emails, get my day planned out. I bring my laptop, and I've got headphones on so I can zone in--typically I'll listen to classical music, but if something requires a little less focus, I'll put on some kind of rock 'n' roll, which probably indexes toward Bruce Springsteen.

7:45-8:45 a.m.: Exercise

Work out at World Gym nearby. Getting to the gym is really important to me from a psychological standpoint--I've got to kind of vent that energy. I do a split of cardio and lifting.


8:45-9:30 a.m.: Eat

Quick breakfast at Sally's, the café across from my gym. My current routine is scrambled egg whites, a side of turkey, and a side of avocado.

9:30-10:30 a.m.: Meetings

Arrive at American Giant headquarters. My day is mostly meetings. First is a catalog pagination meeting--we look at all the product that is coming for our summer book and think about how we're going to bring it out and the stories we'll be telling.


10:30-Noon: Meetings

Fall product discussion. We're finalizing the details in our products, such as making calls on trims. Then I have a few wide-ranging product meetings at which we review things like whether we're running into any problems on the factory side, and whether we're happy with the action of the zipper on our new hoodie--is it catching at all?

Noon-1 p.m.: Eat

Go get lunch and eat it at my desk: romaine salad with apples, feta, and a scoop of tuna fish. I'm terribly routine-based. I'll do that for three months without a break, and then I'll change and do something else for three months.

1-2 p.m.: Meetings

Meet with the design team. There's a lot of talk about really granular stuff, like the challenges of yarn dying and weaving. We look at details on a product if we think the key American Giant elements might not come through strongly enough, and do some tweaking.


2-4 p.m.: Meetings

Lots of intersections with my creative team. Website stuff, design stuff. We talk about the detail of the photography--getting more up-close and personal shots of the products so the customer can see the quality and the detail. Those key product meetings are surrounded by other meetings, like one with my CFO.

4-5:30 p.m.: Meetings

Meeting about our holiday line, about design and development, but even more on the supply chain side.


5:30-6 p.m.: Commute

Leave the office. Make a few phone calls on the way home.

6-7 p.m.: Family

Home. If I'm lucky, I get two hours with my kids, so my wife and I decided we would both put our phones down from when we walk in the door until the kids are asleep. We're both pretty adept cooks, and we quickly get dinner together for the five of us. We say a little something before dinner, and we all eat together. Then it's play time with the kids. We happen to have three balloons floating around, so we play that game where you try not to let them touch the ground.

7-8 p.m.: Family

Bath time for the kids. My youngest poops on the floor. We get them into their PJs and read to them.

8-9:45 p.m.: Entertainment

On the couch with my wife. We watch some Olympic figure skating and discuss what's going on with the kids and a house project. I keep an eye on my phone for work stuff, which I know is bad.

9:45-10:15 p.m.: Family

In bed, reading. No technology in the bedroom for me. I'm reading a book called Breaking Night, about a woman's journey from homelessness to Harvard. It's an inspirational story.

10:15 p.m.: Sleep

Lights out. In a perfect world I'm getting eight hours of sleep, but it ends up being more like seven. Anything less, and I really notice it. If I'm doing well, I'm in bed at 9:30, so tonight is a late night.