The Harper Coats Origin Story
It all began with a classic case of “couldn’t find it so I made it.” It’s no secret that shopping for stylish, high-performance women’s outerwear is tough. Cute and not warm. Warm, but not cute. Great for hitting the trail, but not for hailing a cab to the office or enjoying a night out. Or, in most cases, even if there’s some form of winter-coat-compromise, the price for quality, lasting comfort is simply too high. Lucky for us, founder Rachel Thaw (and yes, we love that her last name fits this brand perfectly) decided that people should be able to have winter coats and wear them too — and set out to make a durable, down winter coat that does both.
But this wasn’t Rachel’s first rodeo. You may recognize her name from another one of our favorite brands, Andie Swim. (We secretly hope she creates a brand for every season.)
According to Rachel, “When I went looking for a coat that could fill the void in my coat closet, I saw the same void in the market. With my experience helping to build a women’s swimwear brand, I thought there was a similar opportunity in the outerwear market. However, my approach to growth was much different. It started with focusing on a single item, The January Parka — and a test season where I spoke with every single customer about her coat preferences, what she loved about our parka, and, most importantly, what she would change.”
After reviewing customer feedback and refining the core product design, Rachel partnered with PETA to create a cruelty-free brand. By the winter, Harper Coats had launched, debuting a collection of coats and winter accessories that directly reflected the wants and needs expressed by customers. Harper’s three signature styles are timeless; comfortable, durable, classic silhouettes designed to defend against the elements and last for years.
For Rachel, the success of Harper Coats reinforces a critical point; “It matters what coats (and all apparel pieces) are made of, how they are made from hood to zipper, and who they are available to from both an efficient distribution standpoint as well as price.”