Eric Yelsma, founder of Detroit Denim, talks at the Maker Movement Summit. As a small business creating customized jeans, Eric shares the immediate goals of the company, challenges it faced to grow in Detroit, and a teensy bit of info on how the company works.

Some of our key takeaways from the conversation:

  1. When a Door Shuts, Crack the Window!
    Eric lost his job in the oil industry; he recollects this unfortunate event as the best thing that happened to him as it pushed him to pursue something he had his heart into. This goes to show that refocusing on something else when things go awry, is not always a bad decision.
  2. It is a Challenge to Be Focused:
    Being the owner of a company means to be focused on many aspects of the organization and maintaining a cash reserve for various purposes, including selling products, giving salaries, etc. Therefore, it is crucial to have a disciplined approach for maintaining an equilibrium.

Below are some of the key points and moments from the conversation:

  • 1:04 – Eric spoke about Detroit Denim and why he started the company
  • 5:40 – Moving into a larger space, expanding its team 20-25, and increasing its product line are the goals of the company; it faces a challenge in finding a suitable space and scarcity of workforce
  • 11:43 – The company integrates typical technology with apparel-specific technology


Eric Yelsma (1)
Founder, Detroit Denim