BTN Apparel Co. We love a start-up story at 365 HQ and we know you do too, so without further ado let us introduce you to these talented two.
The Brighton Apparel Apparel Co. is a fashion brand founded by two friends with the goal of capturing the spirit of the seaside, and bringing those memories to life. Be it fish and chips on the beach, sitting on a deck chair on the pebbles, riding the helter skelter on the pier, or one of Brighton’s iconic beach huts, we were determined to bring Brighton’s unique style, to our apparel, and importantly to us, through sustainable methods.
The business consists of just the two of us! Friends since school, James & Luke. We have turned a hobby of design, screen printing, photography and video editing into a brand that encompasses life by the seaside- and Brighton’s green ethos.
We actually met during registration at school as our surnames are next to each other alphabetically, and he (Luke) would always shake his head in what I (James) was wearing to school. I like to think we’ve managed to evolve our style a little since then!
Luke’s older brother, Adam (who can be seen modeling some of our items on our website), has a keen interest in art, and his old screen printing kit was how we first tried out screen printing and making our own clothes for our friends & family. Since then, we’ve been refining, honing and experimenting with our technique to constantly improve the process, and create new concepts.
What makes Brighton so special to you?
Having both grown up here, and spent many a summer on the beach, paddling round the pier, or wandering through the lanes, we’ve always been very fond of our seaside home. There’s a reason why the seafront is so packed during the summer months, and the town has that certain charm and character that makes it so unique. We try and capture that charm in our designs, so people can take a little bit of the seaside home with them. We’re always searching for inspiration for our next designs and iconic landmarks for photoshoots, so feel free to drop us a DM if you have any suggestions!
Was running a business sustainable always the plan and were there any unexpected challenges so far?
Quality over quantity, and responsibility have been the cornerstones of our brand. We’d rather spend that little more on products to achieve a higher quality end product that comes from a source that is sustainable than go for a mass-produced, lower quality and potentially environment damaging route. We’re extremely pleased with the partner companies we work with and love the quality of the items we have produced. Our T-shirts are 100% organic combed cotton, which provides a great fit, through sustainable means. This quality hasn’t come at a compromise of cost to the shopper, and we aim to give everyone a fair deal by working with companies that support fair treatment of those involved in the apparel industry and setting our price point at what we believe is fair for the product.
Why is it so important that we all live and shop more sustainably?
In the apparel industry, products are usually manufactured in large volumes. which is great for keeping costs down, but bad for the environment, as hundreds of thousands of tonnes of unsold clothes end up in landfill every year. We aim to change that by operating a just in time approach, which means printing items after they’ve been ordered. All orders will be one of a kind, hand-printed for you by us, making it completely unique.
With that in mind, we have carefully selected our partner companies to ensure our brand is both ethical and sustainable. Our items are GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) and audited by the Fair Wear Foundation, a Dutch independent association whose members are committed to improving the working conditions in the textile industry. All of our T-shirts use 100% organic cotton, which is a natural, GMO-free fiber that uses less water than standard cotton. In addition, its production does not involve the use of chemicals (no fertilizers or pesticides) and encourages the rotation of crops to keep soil healthier, more fertile and maintain humidity. Waste from the cotton ginning process is also recycled for the animal feed industry. You can find out more about these organisations below….
What can we expect to see from you over the next year?
We’ve been open for business for about a month now, but the whole year leading up to this was a lot of work behind the scenes to get ourselves up and running. The next year is when we aim to spread our wings and bring our brand to life through photography & video on our Instagram page (check it out and give us a follow!). We’re working with some great local bloggers & influencers, to help grow our brand, so thank you to everyone so far who has supported the BTN Apparel Co. we really appreciate your support! We have a lot more ideas planned for the next 12 months, including an Autumn/Winter range coming soon, which will keep shoppers warm through the chilly months, so keep an eye on our insta for what we’re up to next!
Best entrepreneurial advice you have received?
We’ve learned a lot so far! We’re both perfectionists, so sometimes things take us a long time until we’re truly happy with it, which ultimately is great for the brand, but can sometimes slow us down! A great piece of advice we received is to do something when you’re ready. Not when you’re happy. We spent a long time moving from hand-painting screens and printing that way, to learning how to use more digital methods of design and screen printing, so we were thrilled with the first couple of designs we came up with, but we definitely weren’t ready yet. It took many more months of preparation and patience to get the brand to a point where we were ready to unveil it to the world, which has meant we are now on a better path, and more focused trajectory to bringing sustainable, high-quality apparel to shoppers- with that little bit of seaside charm thrown in.
You can shop now for your BTN Apparel Co tee by clicking here.
Follow James and Lukes journey on the gram @btnapparelco .