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Golden Denim revives the art of making jeans in Los Angeles

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“I think we’ve grown as fast as we have because everyone is right here, under one roof. How many brands can say they actually make jeans ‘from scratch’ in LA?” says Steve Morales, Head of Marketing Strategy for Golden Denim. The company has had tremendous success with urban styles built upon a 30-year family history of designing, weaving, stitching, and finishing jeans entirely in Los Angeles. Despite their growth in sales, founder Abraham Ruiz insists on maintaining an artisanal approach for each pair of jeans that will be sold across LA and around the world.

Golden Denim has a distinctively Los Angeles style that incorporates diverse looks for a growing and often indecisive audience. Each style is created and finished by hand and comes with a fittingly eclectic name like “The Tattered – Cocaine” for a pair of skinny powder white distressed jeans, or “The Union – Society” for an eerie ghost-like oatmeal-colored pair with three black roses embroidered on the hip. With complete control over their design and manufacturing processes, Golden Denim maintains a fiercely independent style with very high quality finishing that makes their clothes truly unique.

Founded on tradition

The company was born when Ruiz decided to follow his family’s tradition of making jeans right after high school, instead of applying for college like many of his friends. “He considers this an art form, that’s the only way he describes it,” says Morales. Despite the brand’s growth, Ruiz can be found working on the factory floor late into the night, toiling over new designs or perfecting existing looks. As the company’s website explains, Golden Denim is not a brand for Ruiz, it’s a tradition.

As founder, Ruiz takes personal responsibility for the dozens of employees at Golden Denim, treating them like extended members of his family, which isn’t too far from the truth since he grew up around many of them. “And what kind of person doesn’t take care of their family? That’s how we see it.” adds Morales.

Golden Denim’s open defiance to the global apparel industry’s need to manufacture in China or India is a refreshing reminder of what customers are willing to pay for a brand they believe in – and a brand that believes in itself.

Relentless fraud losses

With global demand for handmade jeans comes tremendous pressure from international fraud syndicates. “I guess we’re victims of our own success,” explains Morales. “Fraudsters have hit us so hard and with such persistence that our chargeback rate simply got too high for Shopify, so they stopped our payment processing. For a few weeks, we could only accept payments via PayPal. Do you have any idea how many orders you’ll lose if you only accept PayPal for online payments?”

Following discussions with Shopify, Ruiz and Morales managed to get their account reactivated but fraud quickly returned to almost 8 percent of online orders and Shopify reached out again. “That’s when I knew we needed to do something different,” says Morales.

Guaranteed Fraud Protection

Morales searched for numerous Guaranteed Fraud Protection providers and reached out to a shortlist of vendors he felt would meet Golden Denim’s needs. “Signifyd quickly rose to the top of our list and things changed immediately after we deployed their solution.” explains Morales. “We started seeing fraudulent orders being flagged and chargebacks dropped immediately. It’s been instrumental for our growth and financial health to have experts taking care of fraud for us.”

Signifyd provides 100 percent financial protection from fraud and chargeback fraud for every approved order across all its thousands of ecommerce merchants, eliminating their fraud losses and freeing up merchants’ employees from tedious order reviews. Leveraging real-time machine learning and the world’s leading 3rd party data sources, Signifyd provides instant verification for Golden Denim’s online orders, so they can ship orders anywhere in the world without fear or delay.

With loyal customers and rapidly growing brand, Golden Denim is seeing increasing demand overseas. “We’re seeing many more orders from Canada, Europe, Asia, all over really,” explains Morales. But unlike apparel companies who shy away from orders from certain countries, Golden Denim is able to accept and ship orders anywhere in the world because they know they’re protected against potential fraud losses. “There’s so much work to do, so many markets to explore, and so many new styles to consider,” adds Morales. “We’re grateful for everything that has led us to this point, but the truth is – on a global scale – we’re just getting started.”

Sourabh Kothari

Sourabh Kothari

Sourabh is the former Director of Merchant Advocacy at Signifyd, where he brought over 18 years of experience defining, designing and delivering content through stories, events and video.