What does it take to start a brand new ecommerce fashion brand? We're about to find out in our latest Panda Q&A, as we sit down with Simon Walker, founder and CEO of Anti-Adult. As he looks forward to the launch of his clothing brand, Simon shares his story, his inspiration and the challenges of starting an ecommerce fashion brand!
Marketing pandas (MP) : Tell us all about Anti-Adult! What was the main inspiration for Anti-Adult and where did the idea come from?
Simon Walker (SW) : For a long time, I’ve wanted to start my own clothing brand, but it had to mean something and have a story behind it. I wanted something that really chimed with the times, and I’d been thinking about how the digital age is reshaping society – how young people are maturing much faster through available information on the internet and social media, and how the rest of us are living longer.
I noticed there seems to be a blurring between young, middle and old age, so I came up with this concept of the “ageless generation” which is very much a state of mind rather than how old you are. That concept drove me towards creating the name Anti-Adult. Anti-Adult is a state of mind rather than an anti-ageist slogan and we would hope to appeal to everyone, from a fifteen-year-old skater kid to a seventy-year-old rock and roll star.
MP: After 25 years in the fashion industry, how does it feel starting your own business?
SW: It’s exciting! I’ve worked for some amazing companies, have travelled the world and been inspired by creative individuals. Working with fantastic people makes you learn so much. This is my opportunity to take all this knowledge and put it into practise. It feels empowering and limitless in a way.
MP: What have been the highlights of the pre-launch so far? Are there any successes that stand out?
SW: The fashion community is very small and it rarely changes so I’ve been interacting with the same network of people for over twenty-five years. What’s exciting for me now is I’m cooperating with a whole new raft of individuals – most of them young – who are bringing their skillset to my world. I’m learning from them and they’re inspiring me. It feels really fresh and vibrant. This was what I was least expecting – the help that’s come from outside which is bringing this product to market.
MP: What have been the biggest challenges?
SW: Getting the product right! I’m obsessed with quality and fit, so taken a long time to source and design the right product. Also, the execution of the branding has taken a while, but now it’s all arrived, I’m super happy with what’s come through and I believe 100% that the product is going to take off in a very positive way.
MP: What would be your top tip for overcoming hurdles when launching a new ecommerce business?
SW: Find the answer. There’s nobody to turn to when you’re starting your own business. You have to find the answers yourself. The buck stops with you. You have to decide on everything. Every decision is yours and it’s not a cooperative when you’re starting out. You have to believe in yourself and believe in your decisions, and that’s something that’s been a challenge because everyone’s indecisive.
Everyone changes their minds, but once you’ve said it, that’s it for life! That’s the logo, that’s the name, that’s the marketing, that’s the target consumer, that’s the price. You set your stall out to what the brand is going to be and you have to believe in it, because that’s it forever.
MP: What are the 2018 plans and goals? Any exciting campaigns or things to watch out for?
SW: We are launching online next Saturday (February 3rd!). I’ve decided to take the ecommerce route rather than wholesale to begin with. I believe very much in the power of online shopping, and market research demonstrates that it’s only going to get stronger. Really, the focus is on the website, engaging with customers, delivering great products, giving good service, and hopefully inspiring people through the brand.
We plan to do several drops a year to break the mould of the Spring/Summer Autumn/Winter delivery model. It could be up to six drops a year – that’s what’s exciting about being online! You can keep bringing new products to market, even if it’s not a huge collection. Today’s consumers are very demanding – they have a very short attention span – so we have to keep coming up with new products. This is a challenge on me and the creative team but it’s also exciting.
Look out for a lot of product drops and potentially, an interesting skateboard deck/art collaboration story.
Get ready for Anti-Adult!
We're certainly excited for the Anti-Adult launch on February 3rd! You can subscribe to their emails right now, to hear updates and get all the news on launch day: www.anti-adult.co.uk
A big thank you to Simon Walker for taking part in our Panda Q&A...find out more about Simon below!
Simon Walker is an experienced fashion industry professional with a progressive career in multi-channel sales and distribution across wholesale, retail and e-commerce. Throughout his career, he’s worked for the who’s who of international speciality brands, including Valentino, Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Laurent, Timberland, JLindeberg and Peak Performance.