Leverage Founders: Left: Lee Ramirez; Right: Chris Ngo
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Despite how abounding brands above the appearance spectrum acknowledge to the accepted changes and constraints, it is not a time to booty adjustment for granted. What is apparent, is that the attainable challenges leave amplitude to accept new purpose and acceptation in the absoluteness of our time. In a word, a time of alteration can additionally be a time of apparatus and opportunity. Making absolute changes to reflect on the able and acknowledge to them as we access into a beginning trajectory. Added profoundly, developing a cast in 2020 and beyond, will best absolutely prove to be the adaptation of the fittest.
In reviewing brands today, I try and watch every aspect of their business strategy. Now, added than ever, is time to cull the blind aback and dig abysmal with analysis into manufacturing, acumen and operations. For starters, I ahead that creating a retooled cast association is added than a business strategy. In fact, for abounding arising designers above the USA, it is all-important with account to artefact development —while actuality so alternate with the chump base.
To me, actuality allotment of a ancestor aggregation in a faculty is paradoxical. Each corresponding artist is absolutely unique, however, they are guided and adequate by the backbone of the ancestor brand.
Parker Denim Jacket by Embellish. Spring 2019.
I don’t accept to acquaint you that this year has been a momentous claiming for adolescent creatives in the business. All the anchored rules and galvanized contest accept been tossed to the curb. It is now a time for a call-to-arms. A time of rediscovery as we abode beginning administration and new bulk to adopted territory. In short, advice and administration accommodate an attainable way of abutting to with brands and feels across-the-board and personal. It permits adolescent creatives to the ambrosial attributes of analysis by enabling them to body a cogent fanbase while actual far from the accepted accessories of accumulation margins and aircraft dates.
Today, designers and brands are faced with a ambit of acute apropos that may or may not advice them actualize their approaching during these arduous and agitative times. I afresh met with the co-founders of a appearance amassed that has accurate to be a tour-de-force in about every aspect of the business. These guys accept their eyes set on acceptable the LVMH of the USA.
The Advantage was founded by Chris Ngo and Lee Ramirez in 2012. From what began as a bazaar mens’ streetwear bureau has acquired to a angular structured conglomerate, congenital about broad and direct-to-consumer sales, centralized design, production, and distribution, with eight portfolio brands (Embellish, Haus of JR, Crysp, Karter Collection, Lifted Anchors, Club Paradise, Diet Starts Monday and Richie Le Collection) – all self-funded and apart operated in Ngo and Ramirez’s hometown of Orange County, CA.
With their accumulated 15 years in sales and business acquaintance aural the men’s streetwear appearance space, Ngo and Ramirez created The Advantage with the eyes to bare and amplify arising streetwear brands by leveraging their absolute relationships with privately-owned boutiques in the burghal bazaar from bank to coast, bridging the gap and architecture a assisting business amid both their brands (portfolio and third party) and banker partners.
Bering Denim Jacket in white by Crysp Denim. Holiday 2019.
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“The aboriginal time I met them I saw that they had an honest, bright eyes and a charge to excellence. Upon seeing the astronomic bulk of candor and swag they possessed, I knew they were activity someplace. It was like affair LeBron James at 14 because there was no obstacle in their way. They buried seeds in un-chartered area and dreamt with their eyes wide-open.” says James Cruz —CEO Cruz Control (entertainment and marketing)
Understanding and anxiety appearance trends in the burghal market, Ngo and Ramirez approved to ample the shelves of their retail ally with commodity that they saw was defective – high-end designer-inspired styles with affection fabrications at a competitive, affordable amount point. After the barrage and success of their aboriginal portfolio cast in 2014, Embellish, The Advantage started its portfolio division, now apartment its own teams of architecture and artefact development, across factories, centralized artistic studios and marketing.
Videographer: Quinn Dunziellas
Ngo takes the beforehand in sales and achievement and amusing media marketing, active cast acquaintance through agenda agreeable and advertising, in-store chump experiences, cardinal influencer alms and artefact placement, architecture a fanbase and audience of A-list athletes, agreeable artists, and celebrities alike. Ramirez oversees architecture and assembly for all portfolio brands, ensuring their high-demand commodity access in the easily of their 700 retail food and online customers. Together, Ngo and Ramirez abide to aggrandize on their eyes as trailblazers in the burghal mens appearance market
I afresh had the advantage of speaking with founders Chris Ngo and Lee Ramirez about they started to boring own a allotment of every accumulation alternation afore eventually starting their brand, how they spent the aftermost decade developing and convalescent denim —from fabrics, constructions, details, and to every trim and why they accept that there are so abounding options out there that they appetite to accomplish abiding that they are carrying their consumers the best artefact at the best price!
Joseph DeAcetis: Talk to Forbes about the history and aesthetics of your brand; and how your claimed acquaintance aided you in the development?
Chris Ngo: I didn’t jump the gun and absolutely waited my about-face afore I went into business. Anytime aback I was a child, I’ve consistently had a sales accomplishments — reselling shoes, clothes, car genitalia — I focused on consistently affairs low and affairs high. As a sales adumbrative for assorted brands, I was able to booty a lot of my relationships with me from cast to brand. During that time, I watched and blood-soaked in as abundant advice as I could by advantageous absorption to the mistakes that were actuality fabricated by the brands I was alive for. This accustomed me to booty agenda and not accomplish the aforementioned errors. Upon extensive my 8th year of alive primarily in broad sales, that’s aback my accomplice and I started our own sales agency. Beginning with apery added brands, we started to boring own a allotment of every accumulation alternation afore eventually starting our 1st brand. Now, my accomplice and I accept several brands beneath our umbrella. Design, sales, marketing, and acumen are all done beneath one roof. We don’t outsource anything.
Montana Denim in white by Crysp Denim. Summer 2019.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what gives you the coercion to acquire streetwear brands and transform their adroitness into profits?
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Chris Ngo: We accept the access and channels to barrage brands with ample success because we accept the administration to do so. Broad is a actual altered animal, abnormally with the ability that we have. The streetwear brands we actualize are able to be added than aloof direct-to-consumer brands. Actuality in brick and mortar, it helps drag your cast to barter from all over the world. Along with our distribution, we can set a playbook for a cast to be able to do 3 things: bear goods, accomplish things that they wouldn’t be able to, and absolutely address the appurtenances (and address it on time). We are absolutely acquainted of the agenda and how important it is to be able to address to your retailers. What we do is acquiesce the brands to be as artistic as they want, and we handle the back-end which is about the hardest allotment of active a company.
Joseph DeAcetis: In your words, what is your aggressive advantage in development and specialized artefact in the bazaar analysis today?
Chris Ngo: Our advantage is that we accept possibly one of the best broad sales teams in the industry. We are able to move fast abundant to get to market, aftermath items, and get it on your attic in a faster agenda than anyone abroad is able to. In this day and age, the appellation “fast fashion” is real. It’s about who can crank items and about-face in assertive looks afore anyone abroad can. It’s not like it was afore area you were pre-booking items 9-12 months in advance. With retailers now, it’s consistently about who can accumulation first.
Parker Denim Jacket by Embellish. Spring 2019.
Joseph DeAcetis: The advantage is alike with artefact of aerial affection denim; what is the first time you spotted the ability a affluence denim cast could accept in the USA?
Chris Ngo: I’ve consistently been a denim aficionado from way back. Alike afore we started our own denim brands, we represented a few denim curve that were absolutely accessible for me to sell. Denim is one account that anybody has in their closest, and best bodies accept assorted pairs — aloof like a t-shirt. We focus on denim because it isn’t a melancholia item. Denim could be awash year-round, and alive this, we’ve spent the aftermost 8 years consistently developing and convalescent our denim. From fabrics, constructions, details, and to every trim, we absolutely do feel as if we accomplish one of the best denims in our space.
Joseph DeAcetis: Your action is to body the aboriginal denim affluence accumulation in the USA; what drives you to be cardinal one?
Chris Ngo: Failure. I’ve already developed up poor, and I’m not activity aback to that. I appetite to body generational wealth. I don’t appetite my kids to anytime accept to go through what I had to endure. Actuality poor and growing up on abundance accept consistently been huge factors in what sets my drive to never be that poor again, ever. For me growing up, I watched my mom assignment as a branch artisan accepting paid per apparel she sewed. It’s about like a 180 because I’m actuality now, accomplishing about the aforementioned thing, but I own the brand. My business accomplice and I accept agnate backgrounds: we didn’t accept help. We weren’t accustomed opportunities, we had to accomplish our own lane. Everything that we’ve able has been self-made.
Dream Big accumulating with Jordyn and Ryder by Haus of JR. Spring 2018
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Joseph DeAcetis: Obviously, you are both actual ambitious, but what is it that has galvanized your team, eyes and anatomy to booty on brands, accord banking abetment and articulation synergies to a accumulation advantage?
Chris Ngo: Because we advance in people, not ideas. We absolutely do our appointment and abstraction the bodies we assignment with as cast owners. We never adjudicator anyone until we apperceive their story. I absolutely feel as admitting what I’m accomplishing is architecture a belvedere to advice added bodies like myself who didn’t accept a coach or teacher. Aback it’s all said and done, I aloof appetite to apperceive that we were able to accomplish a aberration and canyon bottomward ability to the abutting designer, sales rep, and/or business owner.
Joseph DeAcetis: Do you consider The advantage to be an empiric affluence archetypal – similar to LVMH?
Chris Ngo: I absolutely do. In the amplitude we are alive in, we are about architecture a cast portfolio for street/lifestyle, agnate to what LVMH is accomplishing for luxury. Our eyes has consistently been clear. We never cared about alive with big brands and accepting them. We capital to body them from the arena up. We booty pride in seeing things afore anyone abroad does. That has consistently been the concept.
Joseph DeAcetis: What is your artistic input to ensure that your brands are adorable in the accepted rapidly transitioning customer climate?
Chris Ngo: I try to break abreast with the affluence arena as that’s how it usually goes. So abounding aspects are taken from the big appearance houses that behest the artery market. For the aftermost 8 years, my accomplice and I accept catholic all over the world, attractive at assorted countries’ appearance trends. From the architecture capacity in Japan, the amazing fabrics in Europe, and the all-embracing administration in the U.S., we’ve taken afflatus from about everywhere we’ve traveled. We focus on the artefact we put out. Alive that there are so abounding options out there in our lane and space, we accomplish abiding that we are carrying our consumers the best artefact at the best price.
Joseph DeAcetis: With arising economies and ascent active standards, how do you ahead in bringing opportunities for aerial affection appurtenances to new markets?
Chris Ngo: Because of the new economy, we feel alike bigger about our product. The ambiguity of the abridgement is causing consumers to be smarter with their purchases, and absolutely bulk every dollar and cent. We are activity to abide to focus on what we do best: bearing and distributing exceptional denim at a actual acceptable price.
Endlessly Hoodie by Lifted Anchors. Spring 2019.
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