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Meet Mike Koranda of Pacific Issue in Marina del Rey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Koranda.

Mike, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
We launched as a team of two guys who had a problem – neither of us fit into mass-produced button-up shirts. When we did find shirts that fit in the neck, they’d inevitably balloon out in the stomach, or if they fit in the arms, they’d be too tight in the chest. After expensive tailoring, nice shirts cost us way too much.

In short, the experience of shopping for men’s dress shirts sucked for both of us, and we knew we couldn’t be alone. So we went on a quest to learn how dress shirts were manufactured. Our quest took us across the globe to mass production factories in Asia and small tailoring shops in Europe. After months of research and door knocking, we came up with a beta product and launched while we were both still in business school at USC in LA in 2015.

It’s been a slow, bootstrapped, and the hard-fought road to growth. But we’ve slowly grown a community of like-minded guys who value quality over quantity, fit and finish over “one-size-fits many,” convenience overcrowded malls and cramped dressing rooms, and one-of-a-kind fabrics over “hey did you get that from J-Crew too?”

We’re taking on a hyper-competitive industry armed with high-quality craftsmanship, fast and personalized service, and unique curated designs. Our mission is to rid the world of boring shirts one guy at a time.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Not in the least! We’ve taken out big loans, and credit card debt switched underperforming suppliers, done business with the wrong agencies or independent contractors, wasted lots of dollars on fruitless endeavors, and generally sucked at a lot of the things we tried for the first time.

But that said, we’ve also learned a ton and gotten good at a few things, met some amazing people along the way, acquired some really cool and interesting customers – a few outdoor adventurers, NFL and NBA athletes, 7ft tall volleyball players, musicians, designers, writers etc – who have become a part of what we call the PI family.

It’s like-minded dudes like this who inspire us to challenge the status quo, to keep putting out quality products and growing into a brand that stands for something more than just turning a profit.

In short, it’s been an even bigger roller coaster ride of emotions than either of us could have ever imagined. And we’ve loved every minute!

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Pacific Issue story. Tell us more about the business.
What sets us apart from competitors?
1. Perfect Fit
2. Unique and high-quality fabrics
3. Better service & FAST turnaround

Pacific Issue makes men’s custom fitted button-up shirts with all the fit and finish of high street tailoring, but with a laid-back California attitude. We source one-of-a-kind, 100% Egyptian and Turkish Cotton fabrics, that are then handmade to order. Turnaround time is ~14 days from order to receiving shirts.

We derive your unique measurements using a fit algorithm that was developed by 3rd generation tailors and machine learning experts. Simply answer a series of questions, and we can get started on your shirt. We GUARANTEE fit which means we will pay for alterations or remake your shirt on OUR dime until you are satisfied. Once you lock in your fit (>95% on the first construction), you can order as many designs in your exact size without worrying how the fit will turn out.

We see each relationship we start with a customer as a long-term investment, and we take time to understand any issues you generally have with button-ups. We pride ourselves on service and aim to solve any problems our customers have within a few hours at most. Last we checked this equated to ~96% of our customers recommending us to friends. A figure we’re extremely proud of!

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Luck is a huge factor in life. To start, if we weren’t born in this modern era, to the families that we were born into, we could be in completely different economic or social circumstances. We’re incredibly fortunate for where we sit right now.

And yes, luck cuts both ways. We’ve had suppliers swindle us when we put trust in them, we’ve had lots of customer shirts get lost in the ether (thanks USPS!), we’ve had personal tragedies and ups and downs throughout running the business (life doesn’t get put on hold just because you’re busy building a company).

But mostly our luck has been good. You have to believe this if you want to start a company… We’ve stumbled upon some amazing opportunities just by putting our product and ourselves out there. Everyone should be so lucky!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mitch Sargent

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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