Looking to start your own clothing brand or an apparel company? You’ve come to the right place!
“A lot of effort and time has to go into your business before you’re able to see results, most of these don’t happen overnight.”
You might not be all that comfortable releasing your first collection to the world, but you can never just know; it might be the start of your sought-after clothing brand. Read on to know more about the story of Peter, the founder of Ardor Apparel!
How or what should we call you (the founder’s name), and what is the name of your brand? What is the meaning behind the name of the brand? And how did you know that you were sure about the name?
My Name is Peter, I’m the founder of Ardor Apparel Co.
Ardor, means enthusiasm and passion. Which is exactly what had landed myself within the clothing and apparel industry. After having worked as a freelance graphics designer within the fitness marketplace, I soon realised that I’d wanted to branch out and design my own gear (essentially anything that I’d want to wear). Stemming off of this, filled with enthusiasm, I set off and started up Ardor Apparel.
When did you launch? When was the moment that you knew that you’re going to start your own brand? What was that “thing” that triggered you to start it? Did you see something online or did you see a gap in the market and thought to yourself that you are the one to fill that gap?
We’d launched November 2014, however I’d initially planned on starting everything whilst being overseas in 2013. After having noticed what the North American market was doing with sublimated prints and other cut and sew components, I was really driven towards bringing back a few elements and giving them my own unique twist.
How would you describe your brand? What category would it be in?
Ardor Apparel is definitely lifestyle wear, however, we’re targeted towards individuals who enjoy a good amount of surf, ski and/or skate culture.
What was your very first design? What was the inspiration behind it? In fact, what is your inspiration for the whole brand?
I’m pretty hesitant on sending through photos of our first release. Simply because I believe that if you don’t look back on your past work and cringe, you’re not growing.
As far as inspiration goes, I’d really wanted to play around with sublimated and digital prints as they were something that was really lacking within the Australian market at the time. As I’d begun manufacturing, I’d noticed that I was about 4-5 months late as ‘Mr Simple’ had done similar designs that had just been released.
Do you remember your first sale? When was the first time that you sold one of your products? Was it your very first design? How many days, weeks or months after officially opening your online store to the public? Was it sold to a friend or a person you didn’t know? How did you feel about this first sale?
Our first sale was made on the day of our initial website launch. It was a great feeling, the surge of excitement for things to come. We’d been quite lucky in the sense that the few months leading up to the launch, Ardor’s instagram had grown quite significantly. Regardless, come the day of the launch, one of the orders came from an individual whom we didn’t know. They’d ended up purchasing two of the same tee, I’d felt a mixture of both confusion but satisfaction at the same time, people obviously dug the style!
Was there a collection that you didn’t think would pop as much as it did? Why did you think that it wouldn’t create that much impact? And after the response from your customers, did you get to a conclusion as to why it did sell more than what you thought?
The first collection, everything since then has been smooth sailing. At the start there wasn’t a clear demographic nor theme within the designs. It was essentially, if I like something I’m going to have it made up. Which was a real eye opener as I’d realised there are A LOT of steps you need to take within the industry rather than diving in headfirst.
When looking at lifestyle wear, everyone wants something that they can relate to and isn’t too over the top. I feel like you either really like the first release or completely dislike the designs. This could very well have worked in our favour, however feedback was quite vast.
How did you get the brand out there? There are a lot of brands that come out almost every single day. What did you do to get recognized and show that your brand is different? Did you use social medias to get in touch with your customers? Was there a specific medium (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.) that you believe that got you to connect with them more? And, why is that?
Word of mouth and social media were the two biggest factors. Nowadays everyone seems to be creating their own brand or designing a label of some sort. I really think that Ardor’s timing was perfect, the market wasn’t as saturated as it is now.
With that said, Instagram was our primary platform for advertisement. With the algorithms constantly changing, we are finding that it is becoming less and less effective. However due to having established the brand to quite some degree over the past 2 years a lot of our sales are now through either retailers or organic traffic which is fantastic.
Are you full-time on your brand? When did you know that you got something going on? What I mean is that from that point on, you’re going to start focusing more of your time to the brand? Or was it right from the very beginning?
It depends on how you read into this question I guess. I do spend over 38 hours a week on the company, so yes it is fulltime. However I also work within the print industry and do not spend as much time as I’d like on Ardor Apparel. Realistically, everything that has gone into the brand from the beginning has never slowed down, and it can’t be something that does.
Before releasing your very first collection or before launching your brand, what were you doing? What was your occupation? Were you in a similar industry?
As said before, I was in the freelance design industry. Working for a number of companies within fitness apparel I’d begun to realise just how much fun it was to be able to create something that you could then physically see, wear and sell. The insight I’d been given through working with these companies was priceless.
For any business, they say that the first year is the hardest. Did you go through anything that got you demotivated? Was there ever a time that you thought that it wouldn’t work? Did anything happen that got you to this state? Then, how did you overcome this?
I wouldn’t say the first year is the hardest. It’s definitely full on but not difficult if you’re patient. If you’re not patient, you’re going to have a really bad time. A lot of effort and time has to go into your business before you’re able to see results, most of these don’t happen overnight. Even to this day, I’m constantly frustrated with overdue deadlines when looking at production. However most of these issues aren’t able to be overcome, it’s something you have to take a step back from and not get stressed out about. Otherwise you’ll affect your health.
What is the biggest achievement that you or the brand had so far? Was there a specific event that was so significant that it felt very fulfilling for you and the brand?
From getting into our first retail outlet to being aired on national television on our day of launch. There have been so many events that have really been highlights. I can’t say that there is any one particular event, however the reason we do these designs are to feed off the daily positives and steps forward that Ardor Apparel takes.
So, what’s next for the brand? Do you have some ideas already for the next collection? When will it be out?
There are so many ideas that we have, I don’t even know where to start, nor what to give away at this stage. We’re currently in the process of looking to not only expand into female designs but also bring out seasonal releases such as shorts, pants and more. Each of these are definitely going to take us that next step up, rather then just focusing primarily on tees.
Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring brand owners? Do you have anything to say that could help them whenever they’re about to get to the point of giving up?
Don’t do it just because everyone else is. Use it as a device to channel your creative ideas and create something that truly represents your beliefs. If you’re considering giving up it may be a wake up call to realising that it’s not cut for you. Neither myself or any of the team have ever doubted where Ardor Apparel head.
Finally, do you have one motivational quote that you always remember and say to yourself whenever you’re not feeling 100%? What would that be?
I’m not really the quoting kind of person, however I’d probably keep with the entire concept of sometimes within business and life in general you have to take one step back before 2 steps forward sometimes. Don’t take this as a negative, learn from your mistakes and move on.
How much was the investment in the beginning to start your brand?
Our initial outlay would have been around the $15,000 mark. We’d also been approached by various others whom wanted to invest over $40,000 within the initial designs in order to maximise production and costs. During this time, as much as the entire offer was great towards our egos. We declined due to handing over shares.
Looking back it was a smart move as some of the stock may not have moved, we’d also not completely own the company… Everything was a fantastic learning experience.
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Website: Ardor Apparel Co.
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