I know a lot of you wonder what it’s really like to start your own fashion brand from scratch. The experience can be a bit different for everyone and I’m happy to be able to share an interview with Andrew from Alphapparel, which is an activewear brand that launched about 6 months ago. Andrew has kindly offered to be interviewed for the blog and share his experience with you. If you want to learn more about the brand, or shop the collection, you can visit the website by clicking here.
Can you introduce yourself, your position and your brand?
My name is Andrew Clark, and I’m the founder of Alphapparel a startup activewear brand. It’s been a long, very long time in the making, but finally the brand is live and doing well! Was it an easy process? No, not at all, but it was probably made harder through the endless number of mistakes I made along the way…Has it been worth it? Read on to find out.
What do you sell and who are your customers? Feel free to include your brand values here too.
We focus on kitting out and connecting fitness enthusiasts, giving them the opportunity and means to grow their own brand in the fitness industry.
We sell comfortable performance activewear that’s suited for both the gym and daily use. We’ve tried to keep our designs as unique as possible, whilst still keeping to the styles that people are known to love. Vicki was great at taking rough concepts and ideas to an actual design.
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.
How do you differentiate yourself from other activewear brands?
With the surge of social media marketing and the new generation of fitness enthusiasts flooding the scene, the concept that these individuals can be brought together to help not only grow the brand, but also learn more about themselves and aid them in expanding their brand is not only exciting, but very realistic.
Alphapparel, or "Alphaprl" for short, hopes to connect these passionate individuals by giving them the means to expand their own fitness brand, as well as earning a side income, with the aspiration of it becoming their main income.
Our base range released in December is a stepping stone for what is to come. Be Ready.
What was your background prior to launching in the fashion industry?
I’ve always loved the fitness industry. Started the gym about 7 years ago. Became an ambassador for another brand about 3 years ago, and thought there were a few things that could be improved, so thought that I could be the one to do it.
I actually graduated with a Masters in engineering, but the innovate, fast pace of the fitness industry drew me to thinking of changing career path.
I have nothing against the normal 9-5 routine, but over the last year and a half (whilst starting this clothing brand) I’ve worked anywhere from 10-14 hour days to 3 hours a day, regardless of weekdays or weekends. There’s no way about it, it’s totally different from a normal job, but unique in the sense that you feel more of a commitment to your own project, or it is possibly the fact that it’s just refreshing feel positive about a project, and want to wake up in the morning and speak to positive people about their fitness.
What drove you to set up your brand?
Basically I just wanted a piece of the fitness industry lifestyle. The whole 9-5 lifestyle sitting at a desk all day is doable, but I’m nowhere close to being passionate about it to the extent where I want to rush into work every morning.
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. Is it worth it? Still to be decided, but now I’m finally selling the clothing, it’s definitely going in the right direction.
If I’m honest, it could have taken a lot less time, but you learn from your mistakes, and if I was to do it a second time there would be an endless list of things I would do differently.
The big challenge is that you think surely after getting the products a lot of your work is done? WRONG, Double, Triple the amount of work done up to this point to making your brand sellable.
It’s not a case of Facebook and Instagram marketing and reaching £1000 of sales every weekend, it’s a case of getting your product into the eye line and minds of people who may be interested in it, but it is doable.
What have been your main challenges with regard to being new to the fashion industry?
Overcomplicating designs and wanting to rush head first in and set up a whole range for my first launch. Both are my downfalls. I mean to a certain extent you need to be different from the rest, but there’s a reason certain companies do certain designs... because they sell and are probably cheaper to manufacture than the rest.
Hindsight is a fabulous thing, and it’s something I am very familiar with. The whole “learn from your mistakes” obviously fits well with this, but I still somehow seem to love making them.
Andrew, you and I have worked together for a while. Was there a part of the process you found most beneficial, if so, why?
Designing tech packs and explaining the fitness industry to me. Unique, well-fitting designs. The pieces Vicki designed are fan favourites of our brand.
What’s the biggest piece of advice you’d give other startups wanting to launch a brand?
Take a month to plan everything out, research research research. Pay a designer like Vicki to help find a suitable manufacturer and source suitable fabric and fits you like. The more preparation you do, you’ll honestly saves months and months when it comes to the later stages.
What are your plans for the going forward?
Restock our collection.
Look at doing variations of the same pieces.
Bring out a much wider range of products.
Design more products than just clothing, that cater to all of the fitness industry’s 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 on the clothing line.
Thanks so much to Andrew for arranging this interview, I really appreciate it and I hope it’s been useful for anyone starting a fashion range. Don’t forget, you can shop the collection on the website by clicking here, or follow along on Instagram here.
Has this post inspired you to start your own activewear line? If so, I’ve written a free article here with tips for starting a sports brand, which you can read by clicking here.
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