Ian Stikeleather’s grandmother, Patricia Staton, developed arthritis in her hands. It was so bad that she could not fasten clothing with buttons or zippers.
With a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurship from Ball State University, and in Fashion/Apparel Design from the Art Institute of Indianapolis as well as a penchant for looking at things differently, Ian created a patented magnetic closure technology, a proprietary neo-dynamic magnetic closure, Magnex™, to create seamless designs.
Rather surprisingly, Stikeleather credits the concept for his patent for this technology to the time he spent working in the construction industry in Amish country where the workers did not use tools powered by electricity. Working with these construction workers inspired Ian to take a different perspective on materials and construction whether it be building houses or designing garments. He simply looks at things differently.
Patricia’s problem was solved.
But Ian did not stop there. A menswear line, Stikeleather Apparel, soon followed.
The Stikeleather line has a crisp aesthetic. It explores the border between street wear and sportswear with minimalistic style lines. By replacing buttons and zippers with its proprietary magnetic closure, it tears down tradition and replaces it with something sleek, functional and durable. With futurist influence it embodies a neo-contemporary way of dressing. Through rigorous reverse engineering and testing, the Magnex™ has been calibrated for over four pounds of pull force, ensuring security and efficiency while remaining concealed.
“I started this line with ease of wear in mind, but it grew rather organically into a line with unprecedented versatility. I have yet to see another shirt that has a reversible collar and cuffs. I really think the magnetic closures have the ability to replace buttons and be the closure of the future,” said Ian.
However, the entrepreneurial Stikeleather kept going. That’s why his company is called Stikeleather Apparel Holdings Inc. He recently acquired White Plum, a $9.5 million annual revenue online women’s retailer that has three main marketing channels for both its custom designs and competitively-priced items purchased in bulk and sold though its own website (whiteplum.com) and on Zulily and jane.com. White Plums’ consumer is generally women aged 25-45. Founded by Hilary Zwahlen in 2012, White Plum has grown rapidly by offering fashionable and high quality women’s clothing that doesn’t break the bank. These garments also span multiple seasons and generations. Stikeleather plans to grow the company in multiple ways: by expanding the current marketing program, taking the product into retail outlets, adding a children’s line, an upscale line, the White Plum Collection, a plus-size line, a maternity line, and adding new products such as a maternity box subscription, in line with the customer’s interests and passions of the young mom on the go.