Susan Mocarski will be quick to point out that prior to creating Cleverhood, she had no formal training in either apparel design or retail, but that didn’t stop her from pursuing her dream of creating a line of high-end rainwear apparel. She just had to get smart fast!
Like many entrepreneurs, Mocarski’s quest began out of frustration. In her case, as an avid urban cyclist there just didn’t seem to be a stylish and practical garment that allowed people to get things done in all types of weather. At the same time, Susan also had followed urban and bicycling trends and culture for some time.
Her greatest advantage at this moment, as she points out, is that both manufacturing and marketing are changing so rapidly that even those with extensive backgrounds are seeing their worlds change daily. Being a startup afforded Mocarski the opportunity to learn, make mistakes and iterate rapidly.
A goal that was of paramount importance to her in establishing this venture was to manufacture her products in the U.S. in a day and age when most American-based apparel design companies have taken their manufacturing overseas, Mocarski thought there must be another path. That’s not to say she didn’t look at her options in manufacturing overseas, but as she puts it, “Our brand is a socially responsible brand and therefore could not be associated with unfair labor practices in any way, and it’s hard to monitor textile manufacturers overseas if you are not based there.”
She also found that the myth that American manufacturing was cost prohibitive to be flat out wrong (particularly for companies like Cleverhood that had smaller runs than larger brands). Mocarski adds, “As an American-based company if you want to iterate your product and have direct contact with the manufacturer, manufacturing in America was actually less expensive. For a small business to travel overseas and make last-minute changes or adjustments to a product’s design (prior to, or during, the manufacturing process) was far more cost prohibitive.” As a result of this approach, Cleverhood has worked with textile manufacturers throughout the United States in the development and manufacturing of its products.
Hometown: Providence, RI
Undergraduate: American University (B.A., Economics)
Cleverhood is a smart-looking, high-performance street cape. The ‘hood is designed, crafted and manufactured in the U.S. It’s inspired by the slow bike movement and the simple, elegant way that the bike is affecting broad change in our cities. Fewer cars mean less traffic and pollution. Bikes bring people closer to their local surroundings. It means more open space, more interest in local shops, new expectations — and certainly a new sense of style and function.
Cleverhood products are carefully crafted to ensure quality and reliability. They’re designed for active people who are looking for a special combination of style and performance.