Martensville provides numerous business options for local residents and many of the businesses available provide amazing service and products. One of these businesses which is ran by a 23 year old from Martensville, has seen tremendous growth over the past two years.
At 21 years old, owner/operator of Alpyne Apparel, Cole Flath, was ready to purchase a new home, and knowing that he wanted to run his own business, began looking into options that had a relatively low start-up cost in order to write off a portion of the numerous expenses that come with home ownership. This kind of thinking is not something that many 21 year olds have, but in Flath’s case, it has paid off tremendously. In just two and a half years, an idea of running a t-shirt company has grown into something that Flath himself could never have imagined. “I knew that I always wanted to own a business, but didn’t really know what that was going to entail. When I bought my first house, I began looking into ideas, not really anticipating that it would grow into anything major,” Flath said.
Having a love for the mountains, and frequently visiting to take part in snowmobile adventures, Flath decided that his company would focus specifically on mountain apparel, and thus, Alpyne Apparel was born. Initially, the company mainly provided t-shirts, which Flath spent numerous hours researching, knowing that his focus was on comfort, quality, style and price.
Upon its inception, the company sold out of stock within the first week, then again in the second week. This instant success took Flath by surprise and it was in this moment that he saw what could become of his “small” business plan. After six months, Alpyne Apparel purchased a booth at the Saskatoon Snowmobile Tradeshow and it was this opportunity that sparked unprecedented growth. Through the tradeshow, Flath made connections with a well-known clothing distribution company. “At the tradeshow, we were approached by a place called Mountain Sports distribution, who distributes all of the top brands in the industry to stores. They asked if we would like to be distributed by them and told us that we would be one of the six companies that they distribute. All of the other companies are multi-million dollar companies so we thought we would try, even though we were nowhere close to where they are,” Flath explained. This agreement led to a five year contract and in the past two years, Alpyne Apparel has been distributed to 175 stores within the country.
It was also at this tradeshow that Flath met numerous professional snowmobile athletes which were impressed with the clothing line, so impressed in fact that they requested to be sponsored by Alpyne Apparel, which grew their online presence. “That was super exciting for us. We actually came out with a clothing line for Brett Turcotte this past year and couldn’t be happier,” Flath explained.
Although Flath is the owner of the company, he attributes much of his success to the aid of his cousin Dallas, who does all of the marketing and design work for Alpyne Apparel. “He takes care of everything that you actually see; all of our ads, designing on the clothing, those are his babies. I am the business side of things, which is where I should be since I can’t even draw a stick man,” Flath stated.
Dallas, who was first approached by Flath in 2015 with the idea for Alpyne Apparel, wanted to see what he could come up with for the line. Initially, design was done on the first two products, which were a hat and t-shirt. “I told him that I’m not bad with graphic design, so let me come up with a few ideas with the theme and see what happens. I came up with seven more pieces and now three years later, we have over forty products, each created from scratch,” Androsoff said. The designs that Androsoff creates come from base ideas, which he then creates numerous variations of. According to the designer, this method can lead to other ideas or future releases but can also make it difficult to make a final decision. In the end, throughout the various designs used for apparel, web ads, magazine ads, etc. each is unique and much time and care is put into each design. “We didn’t think we would be where we are with it and it has been a lot of hard work and dedication being only two of us, but the finished product always makes it worth it,” added Androsoff.
Attending numerous tradeshows throughout Canada and the USA, making connections and providing customers with a chance to see and feel the product in person has proven to be one of the most successful marketing tools. “A t-shirt is a t-shirt online, but at these shows, people can actually see that it is good stuff. It is not just 100% cotton with a logo slapped on the front. There is a lot of work that goes into the fabric,” explained Flath.
The company offers a wide variety of clothing options, providing something for everyone, growing from offering five products in 2015 to a whopping 70 products by the end of 2017. Whether you are planning a trip to the mountains, want to add some new options to the wardrobe or are looking to provide some corporate clothing options to your company, there is bound to be something for you.
When asked about advice for other young business owners, Flath replied, “Slow down and calculate things before jumping into it and surround yourself with people that know what they are doing. There is no shame in asking for help,” said Flath.
For more information on Alpyne Apparel, or to place an order, visit www.alpyneapparel.ca.