This new feature will shine the spotlight on some of the amazing entrepreneurs I'm lucky enough to count as my clients. Working with apparel start-ups is my favourite part of the job and I hope these posts will shed some light on what it's really like to launch your own clothing brand, especially if you're new to the industry.
The first interview is with Andrew Clark, the founder of Alphapparel, a startup activewear brand.
Andrew approached me having tried to navigate the fashion industry himself with a couple of unsuccessful sample attempts. This is a scenario I see often and admire the entrepreneurial spirit to give things a go. Unfortunately though, this approach can lead to expensive mistakes, take up a lot of valuable time and frustrate startups.
We stripped things back to the start and reworked ideas in a methodical way, through designs, tech packs and accurate specs, as well as consultancy regarding manufacturing and next steps. This really armed Andrew with the correct information he needed to approach manufacturers and create his collection.
In Andrew's words "It’s been a very long time in the making, but finally the brand is live and doing well!"
Has it been worth it? Read on to find out.
What do you sell and who are your customers?
We sell comfortable, performance activewear that’s suited for both the gym and daily use. We focus on kitting out and connecting fitness enthusiasts, giving them the opportunity and means to grow their own brand in the fitness industry.
Whether this is through our up and coming ambassador program, or just with a simple connection over facebook or instagram, we strive to help our customers grow.
What was your background prior to launching in the fashion industry?
I graduated with a Masters in engineering, but the innovative, fast pace of the fitness industry drew me to changing career path.
What drove you to set up your brand?
I’ve always loved the fitness industry and started going to the gym about 7 years ago. I become an ambassador for another brand about 3 years ago, and thought there were a few things that I could do better. I just wanted a piece of the fitness industry lifestyle. The 9-5 life sitting at a desk all day is doable, but I’m not as passionate about it where I want to rush into work every morning. Launching a brand is totally different from a normal job, but unique in the sense that you feel more of a commitment to your own project.
How long did the launch take from concept to product?
A long time. A very long time. Did I initially underestimate how long it would take at the beginning? You bet I did. But now I’m finally selling the clothing, it’s definitely going in the right direction.
Which of my services have helped the most and why?
Designing techpacks and explaining the fitness industry to me. Unique, well fitting designs were important and the pieces Michelle designed are fan favourites of our brand.
Is there a top piece of advice you’d give other startups considering launching a brand?
Take a month to plan everything out, research research research. Pay a designer like Michelle to help find a suitable manufacturer and source suitable fabric and fits you like. The more preparation you do will save you month and months when it comes to the later stages.
What are your plans for the brand in 2019?
Restock our collection and create variations of the same pieces.
Bring out a much wider range of products that cater to all of the fitness industries needs.
Become a millionaire, retire at the age of 23 and live in a mansion by the beach…Too much? Well it is a plan of mine... whether I make it a reality or not is dependent.
You can buy the full range of Alphapparel here
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