Tim DiDonato is Design Manager of 1791 Supply & Co. He has been with 1791 since its founding and is responsible for the research and design of the products. Tim is married to Glenn’s daughter, Hannah, and the two live with their rescue dog, Hans, and their cat in Dallas, Texas. Below is a glimpse into his typical day.
7:43 AM: I don’t set an alarm. I have always had a mental alarm clock. I literally wake up at the same minute every day. When I first relocated from New York to Dallas, I set an alarm clock for about three weeks, and now I wake up at 7:43 every morning without an alarm.
8:00 AM: Next I put the dog out. He is mix – American foxhound and Italian greyhound. We rescued him in Dallas, and his name is Hans. He came with the name. Someone at a dog park once asked me, “Did you name your dog after Inglorious Bastards?” I was like, “No, I did not name my dog after a Nazi.” After I put him out, I jump in the shower. By the time I get out of the shower, Hannah is up, so I get changed and get ready for the day. Since 1791 is a new brand, I really like to test out the clothes. I am always wearing my 1791 jeans with either a work shirt or a flannel shirt of some sort.
8:30 AM: I usually go out and play with the dog for a good 25-30 minutes. And then either Hannah or I, whoever gets to it first, make our lunches. We usually make PB&J’s and switch up the snack with either bananas or peaches.
9:00AM: We head to work around 9 o’clock. Our commute takes about half an hour. We listen to Sirius XM Patriot to hear Glenn’s show on our way. We used to leave at 8:30, but we realized we would just sit in dead stop traffic. Then we tried leaving at 8, but that was even worse. So when we leave at 9 there is no traffic. The people I need to talk to – shops, and factories, and stuff – aren’t open until 10:30 or 11 anyway, so it is fine for me to get in around 9:30.
9:30 AM: I normally get in and go grab coffee. I can never find the milk or sugar that I want, so I am usually running around trying to figure out why it is always missing. And then I head into my office. I normally write a list of the things I need to get done the night before, which helps me assess how I am going to go about the day. Since we are still such a small business, I really like to focus on the quality control end of things. Sometimes I have to write out purchase orders for trims we will need; or I will get in contact with our denim factories to see how things are going with production; or I am checking with our denim mill to make sure everything is being woven on time.
10:15 AM: I don’t really have a specific time I design. I am always just sketching stuff. Most of the time, when designers are working on a season, they lock themselves in a room until it’s done. But we are not on a fashion time schedule like that, so it is nice to have that freedom. I am always redrawing and re-sketching so that we can present it to Glenn. Glenn will tweak it a bit and ask about the ‘why.’ The ‘why’ is really important to us. We are coming out with a couple new products, so I have been ordering sample fabrics. As soon as they come in, we go to the pattern maker. We are working on some new shirting and women’s denim at the moment. We are really excited about that.
12:00 PM: LJ [Herman, Senior Director, E-Commerce] and I usually meet around noon every day to go over what’s going on. We kind of tackle the day that way. Normally right after I meet with LJ, Hannah and I will have lunch. Normally we eat lunch with her dad every Wednesday in his office. On the other days, Hannah and I just eat in my office.
1:30 PM: I buy a lot of Japanese books and magazines because they are actually really into vintage workwear. I like the whole modern work wear movement, to look and see how a pocket was done in the past; how a button was done; just researching to see if it is something we can translate to now. It is important to have a storyboard to keep you focused and in the right mindset. It also helps all the other people around me because they may have other ideas of what 1791 is. It is hard to explain, because you don’t see a lot of designers doing this yet, but our customer is kind of a historian. The pockets on our work shirt I’m working on are tilted to the side not because we thought it was unique, but because between the 1930s and 1950s track workers were wearing shirts like this. Authenticity is key.
3:00 PM: Around 3 is when Hannah will start asking me what we should have for dinner. And I never know what to say. So I usually reverse the question back and say, “Well what do you want for dinner?” And then it becomes, “Well, I asked first” or “I had to pick yesterday.” She is a really amazing cook, but I am not creative. I will just say mac-n-cheese every night.
5:00 PM: We normally head home around 5 or 5:30, once Glenn is off-air. On the way home we will stop at the grocery store to pick stuff up, or we will go over to Glenn’s for dinner. We eat with Hannah’s family two or three times a week. It is nice to have family time.
6:15 PM: If we go over to Glenn’s, we will eat and then either sit around and talk, or play a game, or read scripture. Hannah and I will put the kids to bed. If it is just Hannah and I, we come home and she starts dinner, while I take the dog out. We have a cat too, so I let the cat play outside for a little bit also. On the nights we are home, we watch TV after dinner. We are always watching HGTV or DIY Network.
10:00 PM: We usually head to bed and keep watching TV. I start negotiating with the dog about whether or not he can sleep on the bed. He always has that look like, “You could sleep on the couch, Tim.” And I am like, “No, there are other places for you, Hans. You have a dog bed.” It’s a problem. I try to lay down around 10:30 or 11. I always pass out first. I could fall asleep anywhere, anytime, no matter what. That is never a problem.
As told to Meg Storm