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A Fruitful Business Venture Selling Swimwear Shorts
Co-Founder and CEO of a GranadillaSwim – Manufacturing the best pair of swimwear shorts that you have ever seen with limited edition prints. Planning to roll out the brand globally in the next 10 years.
The business consist of 3 main sections:
Grew up in Johannesburg – South Africa and met his business partner Adam Duxbury on a family holiday in Cape Town. About 4 years ago they were sitting on the beach with their expensive French pair of swim shorts that they got as Christmas gifts and saw a gap in the market for limited edition fashionable shorts that is affordable for the everyday guy.
It started out as a passion project where they just wanted to design shorts for themselves, family and friends. He went of to study at Edinburgh University in Scotland with the idea still in the back of his mind and just before finishing his degree they developed the product with their first range which was 300 units. They sold out half of it within 2 weeks when an online retailer contacted them with an order for 400 units, they only had 150 left and sold all of it. They were then short stocked for the rest of the season and could not catch up on demand with their factory which was their first big lesson in business.
Education – Josh and Adam both did commerce related degrees and had no fashion design experience but they do have a creative side and both have always been interested by fashion.
The demand for the product has led them down the path of creating this company and it was not something they planned on doing.
Importance of investing in yourself as an entrepreneur:
Tertiary education is a privilege as you are surrounded within a higher thinking environment. The tools and knowledge that he has acquired during his studies is not used in the day to day operations of the business but it is the way of thinking about problem solving that has been very valuable.
A book that has made a difference in his life:
The biography of Elon Musk written by Ashlee Vance which was not necessarily the book that inspired him a lot but it was the way of thinking about Social Entrepreneurship. It is all about making a product or having businesses that are socially benefiting the local communities.
The company did not start out with social entrepreneurship in mind but was molded into a company with a social perspective to contribute back into the environment it exist in.
In the beginning stages they spend too much time on development of the product to make sure it is perfect and as a result missed out on the first part of the summer season which impacted revenue.
“This is a common problem among startups and I myself fall into this trap of spending too much time on perfection and not getting product out in the market.”
The time spend on development was more a long term strategy to have a superior product that will stand out in the market and it seems to have paid of thus far.
Trying to make the best pair of short in the world you have to take the following into account:
- It starts out with the fabric
- Quality of feel
- The manufacturing plant
- Local if you want to invest in your surrounding community
- Communication on regular basis
- Selling them on your long term vision
- Digitally print the template versus buying bulk material prints
Design of the product:
Original designs using local designers with the ideas mainly coming from Josh and Adam but now have a creative director to do fashion forecasting in terms of trends.
Exclusive high quality swimwear with the cool factor.
Their customer demographic is not determined by age but for those who got an eye for the cool factor. It is interesting that 60% of the customers are woman who buy the shorts for the men in their lives.
Social media has been the biggest marketing tool with various content:
- Professional photo shoots
- User generated content from satisfied customers
- Social responsibility initiatives
Strategy to reach out to people of celebrity status to be a brand ambassador.
The main product is the swimwear shorts that generate the bulk of the revenue but they started to include other lifestyle products going forward.
Strategically expanding the company by implementing the following roll out strategy:
Step 1: Determine demand by targeting new markets online
Brand ambassadors and focus on their language
Step 2: Strategic partners to sell wholesale
Step 3: Open own retail
- Start with pop up stores
- Go into full retail stores
Tool that impacts the company:
WhatsApp is used as a collaboration tool because the team is not centrally located and it allows instant communication among team members.
The key to growing a startup is to handover responsibility which is sometimes difficult to do since you have to let go and trust people to take accountability for a particular function.
Reset Scenario: Starting all over with the current knowledge, what business would you start?
They would not want to go into retail as it led to a couple of sleepless nights. They probably would go into the tech space and app development that is socially beneficial. Creating products that would save people time in some form.
Josh would like existing successful entrepreneurs to be mindful of giving back and helping entrepreneurs beneath them.
For the entrepreneur starting out Josh is happy to answer any question you might have.