Ben Yelian was tired of being uncomfortable. As a business consultant, Yelian spent most of his time catching flights and on the road to meet with clients. For the bulk of that time, he was also trapped in the confines of suits or business-casual attire. After years of sweating through collared shirts while running through airports and dealing with the stench of dress socks after a humid summer day’s work, Yelian decided he’d had enough.
He moved to Irvine and founded Maison Impeccable alongside medical student Kevin Shih. Together, the two began cooking up an idea that could solve the problem each had with their respective fields’ uncomfortable clothing: take the science and comfort that goes into casual and/or athletic clothes and bring it to those who spend more time in slacks than sweats.
“The best performances most people give in their lives aren’t going to be in the gym or on the field,” Yelian says. “They’re going to be in a boardroom or in front of their boss. You need performance for that, too.”
There are already brands that specialize in making “comfortable” and “performance” business clothes, but few of them actually offer anything wearable. The lines focused on appealing to veteran suit-wearers tend to be clunky and about as fashionable as a fanny pack, while those who remain fashion-conscious simply offer softer or more stretchy material rather than re-engineering an entire outfit into something a superspy could wear.
“The inspiration was James Bond movies and spy films,” Yelian says. “If you think about it, you always see James Bond wearing tuxedos while beating the crap out of people and saving the day. Any guy who’s worn a suit knows that you can barely hug somebody in a suit, let alone throw a punch or a kick. Our whole idea was ‘What would you actually be able to kick ass in?’”
On the budget of a couple of young entrepreneurs, launching an entire suit’s worth of products wasn’t exactly feasible. For that reason, Maison Impeccable decided to start with the most basic necessity any businessman needs as a way to flex their technology, style, and abilities. Through the end of the month, they’ve got a Kickstarter up as a pre-order for their first run of socks.
“For lack of a better phrase, we over-engineered the hell out of these socks,” Yelian says. “They’re as advanced as socks can get. We got them tested, and they keep up with all of the top socks that are actually made for running and performance use.”
Thanks to Maison Impeccable’s use of silver and carbon fibers in each sock – as well as a boatload of other performance-based technology – their test results show the socks keeping your feet twice as dry as normal dress socks while preventing them from stinking by over four times.
“I think our record in the office is wearing the socks for about a week straight,” Yelian says. “Even after all of that, we held it up to people’s noses, and they didn’t smell at all.”
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Given that the Kickstarter has raised roughly $130,000 (compared to the $10,000 goal) so far, it's a good thing Yelian has a background in the supply chain aspect of businesses. He and Shih are confident that they’ll be able to provide socks and more for Maison Impeccable’s Kickstarter backers and future customers. Although the goal of a full suit of James Bond-worthy material is still likely years away, Yelian says his company is already looking to the next step of their expansion after socks.
“I think pants are the next thing on our radar,” Yelian says. “I guess we’re working from the ground up.”