In 2009, Swish Embassy was started as a bet after a few trips to Provincetown, Fort Lauderdale and Puerto Vallarta. These great gay destinations had fun nightlife and great activities but were somewhat lacking in the shopping department. Annoyed at some of the corny, ill-fitting shirts sold by some boutiques, Dean, the company founder declared that he could do better. Never to leave a boast unpunished, his friends challenged him to prove it, and so he did.
With humble beginnings in a spare bedroom in Toronto, Swish Embassy started off making artisanal hand-pressed shirts. The concept took off and this bet quickly snowballed into quite a bit more... At a loss for space, Swish Embassy spilled into more rooms and then eventually a rented bachelor apartment next door. At some point in 2010, a decision was made to halt online sales because the “bet” had gotten out of hand and burnt out the intimate team of friends who worked on fulfilling every single order one at a time with the cuts, ink and burn marks to prove it.
In 2014, Dean decided to revive Swish Embassy with a greater focus on scalability and the ability quickly respond to trends and pop culture. He sought out a number of industrial manufacturers who might be able to work on bringing Swish Embassy back to life. Moving forward, production would take place in the United States to take advantage of cheaper shipping costs and proximity to the bulk of customers.
In September 2015, SwishEmbassy.com went live with just 25 products of which half were reused from its initial iteration. Within a year, Swish Embassy carried almost 18,000 possible products that could be produced and shipped within a few days anywhere in the world.