Spotlight on Q-T’s Evan Kutzin

Operations Manager at Q-T Intimates

Above: Evan Kutzin, Q-T Intimates’ Operations Manager.

“It’s amazing to be a part of a company with 70 years of history and knowing that only 3% of all family businesses survive to the fourth-generation.” - Evan Kutzin, Q-T Intimates.

by Michelle Broomes

The Q-T Intimates brand name is synonymous with designing and manufacturing some of the most innovative and fashionable intimates in the industry, sourcing only the finest fabrics and accents to this end.

Firmly established as a beacon of family-run enterprise in the 1940′s, the Q-T brand now stands as a frontrunner in the intimates industry for the past 70 years, seeing in a 4th generation of the Kutzin name at the helm of the company’s operations.

Q-T Intimates' Kelly

Above: Q-T Intimates’ Kelly.

Not only has the brand made a name for itself with its own assortment of expertly designed and beautifully made garments but has also shared this expertise with private labels for whom they create exclusive collections on demand.

Undoubtedly, this is a company with extensive organic and dynamic operations which is overseen by 4th generation family member Evan Kutzin who has been in the role of Operations Manager since 2012.

TLJ caught up with Evan for a chat and he told us what it’s like to be part of this family enterprise that has withstood the test of time and is still forging ahead.

Q&A with Evan Kutzin, Operations Manager at Q-T Intimates


Evan, how does it feel to be part of a company with a rich family heritage?

Family-owned businesses have always been the backbone of the American economy. I’m really proud that my family is able to be part of this great American tradition. When I joined the company, I knew that it would make my grandfather proud that we were keeping the business alive and in the family. It’s amazing to be a part of a company with 70 years of history and knowing that only 3% of all family businesses survive to the fourth-generation.

For you, what is the best thing about working in a family run business and what’s the most challenging?

The best part about working at Q-T is that we get to keep my great-grandfather and my grandfather’s legacy alive. So few people get to work in a business that was started by their family from the ground up. The most challenging thing is working in a family business! It’s sometimes a little too easy to argue with the bosses (my parents – Meryl and Larry).

Did you have an interest or background in business before you joined the company?

Yes, I’ve always had an interest in running a business. In high school, my best friend and I started a consulting company based on an entirely new concept. Unfortunately the project fizzled out when his family moved to California. After college I worked for a small business that provided niche market financial products to community banks and then I moved on to a major publishing company as a Business Analyst. Since joining Q-T, I’ve been able to bring a lot of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained from working in corporate America to our growing family business.

Creme Bralee Colette Nude

“I like the concept and styling of our new full-busted line, Crème Bralée. That line started about the same time I came to the company so I feel as if I’ve seen that line grow with me.”

What was your greatest motivation for coming on board to join the Q-T team?

My greatest motivation was knowing that if my grandfather was still alive, he would have been happy to see the business continue in the family.

Tell us about your role as Operations Managers at Q-T Intimates. What does it entail?

When I first came to Q-T I really wasn’t sure where the position would take me. There had never been an Operations Manager before and things just tended to operate status quo. I knew that this would not be the typical manager position where I could get by with just asking the right questions. I knew I was going to end up being the go-to person and the problem solver – I would be the one answering all the questions.

One of the first things I did was create standards [regarding] Order forms, letterhead, account applications, price lists, line sheets, etc. – everyone had a different format they were using. So we designed a new logo and created new forms for every angle of business. I revamped the order entry process and made sure that everyone was operating from the same playbook. I contracted with a web designer to rebrand both of our websites and set them up on a system that was scalable and that had a large developer base. Over time, my role has again transitioned to working with our major Dot-com retailers and ensuring that we are set up for business in a timely manner. I also oversee all the purchase orders that are sent to our factories along with ensuring compliance with our packaging, labeling, and ticketing standards.

Above: Evan and Larry Kutzin.

“The best part about working at Q-T is that we get to keep my great-grandfather and my grandfather’s legacy alive. So few people get to work in a business that was started by their family from the ground up.”

How would you describe your management style? What kind of boss are you?

I pretty much let everyone seek their own level and try to help them find the answers for themselves. That way when the same question surfaces in the future, the employee will be able to seek out the answer independently. I do sometimes have a tendency of taking over a project instead of delegating it out, but overall I try to only get involved where there is confusion or a one-off circumstance.

What’s most challenging about this role for you?

The most challenging part of the position is that I often get bounced between the operations and the merchandising. I’ve been devoting much of my time and energy to the operations, yet I still try to keep an ear on what’s happening with the merchandising. It’s tough to be 100% committed to both.

What’s it like working in the lingerie industry for you?
I’d imagine that most young men at my age would find it to be a bit intimidating to work in the lingerie industry. At this point though, I’m used to it since I’ve been around it my whole life. I can still remember my mother dragging me as a kid through the lingerie department at the mall. Fast forward 25 years and I don’t find that there is much of a difference between selling thongs, or books, or investments. Each industry has its own quirks, but to me, business is business. Plus, since I’m typically working behind the scenes and not merchandising, I’m not very hands-on with the product development or selection.

Above: Meryl Kutzin gives our readers a history of the company.

Where would you like to see Q-T Intimates in 5 years?

In five years, I hope to see Q-T Intimates a bigger player in the intimate apparel market. We have come a long way in just the last couple of years and it’s exciting to see what the future holds. I know we have many more good years ahead of us.

Do you think working with Q-T Intimates has given you a keen eye overall for all things lingerie?

Not entirely. Since I mostly work behind the scenes and I’m sort of once-removed from the lingerie side of things. However, I do have an eye for detail and can spot a poorly sewn bra from 2 desks away. I’m also in a position to have a higher-level view of the business. I get to make sure that our image is properly branded across all channels – from photo selection to design to customer service.

Creme Bralee Colette in Nude

Above: Crème Bralée Colette in Nude.

What have been some of your favourite products/projects that you have overseen as OM at Q-T Intimates (any pics)?

I like the concept and styling of our new full-busted line, Crème Bralée. That line started about the same time I came to the company so I feel as if I’ve seen that line grow with me. I also think we have a real opportunity to become a major player in the nursing bra segment. We have some great new styles and have seen our customer base in the majors expand rapidly through the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2014.

What’s your best advice for men wanting to work in the intimate apparel industry who might see it as female territory?

My parents tell me that 30, 40, 50 years ago the intimate apparel industry was almost entirely male dominated. Men were the designers, merchandisers, and sales force. It’s only in recent years that women have taken the industry by storm. So I don’t see it as a female industry - anyone who has an interest in apparel should see the lingerie business as being ripe with opportunity.

When you’re not at the office, what do you like to do?
I have lots of interests outside of work. I’ve been a firefighter and an EMT for almost 14 years. I also volunteer with my local SPCA handling animal cruelty investigations and rescues. I also enjoy working around the house on DIY projects and taking time to relax with my wife and puppy.

Learn More about Q-T Intimates

Website: http://www.qtbras.com/

Wholesale Questions?

Contact: Chris Zogas, Sales Manager
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 212-532-8920 x317

About Q-T Intimates

For over 70 years, Q-T Intimates has been the quiet trendsetter in the intimate apparel industry — designing beautiful, comfortable, and affordable bras and panties for women of many generations. During the 1940′s and 1950′s the small but ambitious company was all about the basics: white bras and girdles, sometimes beige, usually cotton with a touch of polyester (if possible). Through many years of design innovation, Q-T Intimates has evolved to incorporate the latest fashion trends, eye-catching colors, and beautiful fabrics - from simple and sleek, to luxurious and feminine.

Comments
One Response to “Spotlight on Q-T’s Evan Kutzin”
  1. Lisa says:

    I love the history of how the company came about. Plus how the company is still going strong. I look forward to seeing more of the lingerie items.

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