September 27, 2021 5 min read

Today I’m sharing an update with all proteatoyota customers about what is coming up ahead for my brand. What you’re about to read will surprise you, delight you, and maybe even frighten you.

I launched proteatoyota in 2017, and this summer, we celebrated four years of being in the fashion industry. Today, we serve a small but incredibly powerful niche market made up of LGBTQ+ folks all around the world. After four years in the marketplace, we are still an extremely small brand. I am what they call a solopreneur: I own and run the brand all on my own. I design every single product in our catalog, and at the moment, I also handle all the sales, marketing and even customer service. As some of you already know, I don’t know how to sew. The way I design is akin to the way Pixar creates animated films: my design process happens inside digital spaces with digital design tools. I design digitally, and I love it. Once I have created a product, I then work with multiple manufacturing partners around the world to produce our tights, singlets, and other sportswear. My office in Chicago doesn’t fulfill any of our products. We work instead with several fulfillment centers that ship your order when it’s ready.

This production system is very contemporary, perhaps even futuristic. Just a decade or two ago, this type of company would not have been able to exist. In order to create proteatoyota, I leveraged my 26 years as a journalist and tech professional in order to create workflows that let me operate the brand in this way. I owe a special debt of gratitude to my alma mater Northwestern University, where I got my journalism degree, as well as DePaul University, where I got my masters in computer science. I also owe a lot to my years as managing editor at Wirecutter, which is part of the New York Times.

Some people have said to me that I am a genius.

I decline that compliment every single time. I don’t deserve such a label.

Though I have been wise enough to imagine a technology-forward brand like proteatoyota, I am still just a human being, and my brand is not perfect. I am dedicated to top customer service, and I would still like to achieve a larger scale for this very small business, so that we can always delight you.

We have some struggles at the moment:

  • First and foremost, we are facing climate crisis, and all of us are underestimating how difficult things will be. The decades ahead will bring damage and death to our biosphere in a scale that our primitive human brains cannot really comprehend right now. In order to minimize such dire outcomes, we must be brave, adapt and transform. That means that I am already working hard at adapting proteatoyota to stay ahead of the curve on that front. But it’s not easy. The fashion industry is resource intensive, exploitative, and it also generates enormous amounts of waste and pollution. We are lucky, because many of our products are manufactured on demand. Yes, you heard that right. This prevents the waste of warehouse space and materials. But proteatoyota will have to work even harder in the years ahead to truly make a difference as a leader in biosphere-centric manufacturing.

  • This year we have significant and troubling supply chain issues. In fact, ALL industries are having supply chain issues. In our case, our wrestling singlets are being heavily affected by this trend. We cannot produce singlets in large enough quantities to keep customers happy, and I apologize for that. The rising prices of shipping containers around the planet, as well as new crisis in transportation and tariffs are barriers that are affecting those products. But keep in mind that we also are making small batches so we can keep the prices of these singlets affordable. I prefer to give you value, even if it means we sell out fast.

  • We need more LED team members, but I can’t hire them yet. Last year we lost our Staff Marketing Writer, and we have not filled in that position since then. We are also in need of an Associate Designer, as well as a Social Media Specialist, and a Sales Rep. But we don’t yet have enough growth (or budget) in the brand to justify those hires. Most other brands would never level with you about their shortcomings, but I want to be transparent with you because life is short and I hate corporate speak. We need those hires ASAP, but I can’t bring those team members on board until our overall growth as a company is at a higher level. That means that in the meantime, I am still taking on all of those tasks.
     

But we also have many, many victories:

  • Our customer base continues to grow! We now have customers in every single continent, and we feature their lives and fitness accomplishments on our Instagram feed.

  • We have an incredible Fall Collection dropping right now. Look for our weekly drops on Thursdays at 3 pm Central as usual. The Hardcore Collection will have styles that celebrate many subsets of our LGBTQ flag, and I am proud as fuck to show those products to the world.

  • We have grown incredibly thanks to TikTok and my streams on YouTube and Twitch. Yes, proteatoyota is not just queer as fuck, we are futuristic in as fuck. Some of our best ideas, stories, and even video game achievements are happening in these new digital communities. Let the squares keep Facebook; we are focused on the future here.

  • We have two more singlet colors dropping this fall! Look for those in the next few weeks.

  • We will be offering incredible deals on Black Friday/Cyber Monday, to give you the highest amount of value.

  • My eighth published sci-fi book, Hall of Mirrors, will be dropping in 2022. Not only will you get the chance to get your hands on that new paperback, but you will also experience the drop of new tights, singlets and products that will tie into that book release in Fall of 2022.

  • Most of all, we are still growing and thriving. I don't follow or imitate competitors. I have always done things my own way, and you can see that reflected in everything I do at proteatoyota.

I know this post may seem incredibly long in today’s short-attention culture, but I trust in you, my customer, to read widely, and to value context over sensationalism. Things may not always be easy as we move forward into 2022, but they will be exciting, innovative, and queer as fuck.

If you have any questions or comments, just hit reply to this email so I can hear from you. Your feedback always matters to me.

Cesar Torres

Founder and Designer

proteatoyota.com