Kansas City has picked up some swagger since the Royals won the World Series two years ago and Made Urban Apparel is providing the look to go with it.
Launched by several friends with a shared passion for style as an online retail outlet four years ago, it’s chill caps with the simple KC lettering flanked by x’s has become one of the hipper clothing items, not only locally but around the country.
The caps are part of a line of several hundred items of clothing that includes T-shirts, jackets and hoodies and are now sold at 14 retailers as big as Halls Kansas City and Scheels, and boutiques like Made in Kansas City.
And last April, Made Urban Apparel opened its flagship retail outlet at 1110 Grand Blvd.
“I think it’s phenomenal to be here as the city booms,” said Jesse Phouangphet, marketing manager.
He was seated at a table in the backroom of their new retail space with Mark Launiu, co-owner of Made, and Schuyler Jackson, the store manager.
“We started our first line in February 2013,” Phouangphet said. “We were a group of guys making a hobby into a business. Everybody had a passion for it in one form or another.”
The first couple years was dedicated to building brand awareness.
The Made crew held guerrilla marketing events in Kansas City and other locations as well including Lawrence, Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and Las Vegas. Pop-up stores also were part of the strategy.
“We wanted to model ourselves after East and West Coast clothing lines, doing four seasons and building out our collection and lookbooks,” he said.
None of the founders were designers, so that aspect of the business is outsourced. The manufacturing of their clothing items also is done all over the world.
But Made Urban Apparel always made sure at least one design every season paid homage to Kansas City.
That helped big time when city pride caught fire after the Royals World Series win, and with the success of the Sporting Kansas City soccer club.
“Hometown pride was huge,” Phouangphet said. “Our Kansas City pieces sold out so we decided to do a Kansas City collection. They say a city that wins a world championship boosts its economy for 10 years.”
The hottest seller currently is what’s called their “Dad” hat, a ball cap with the simple KC logo and x’s.
At any one time, there are 50 different clothing items available in their downtown store. The hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday noon to five.
Weekends are their busiest time, and when there’s an event at the nearby Sprint Center.
The other co-owners of Made Urban Apparel are Jonathan Platz and Vu Radley.