Founders Q&A with John + Barb
Consumers have SO many purchase options these days, to be frank, it can be incredibly overwhelming! In the age of the internet, online shoppers can compare and do their own detective work around things like price, sourcing and materials.
We've designed Antero Outdoors as a retail and apparel brand for the conscious consumer. Which is why we want to give you a sneak peek into the history of our company. From the conception to our journey to where we are today. We're dishing it all. Get the scoop below.
FOUNDERS Q&A WITH JOHN + BARB
Q: Describe your brand in 2 sentences.
Clothing for the outdoor lifestyle. Made in the USA of natural fabrics.
Q: What inspired you to start Antero Outdoors?
While vacationing we couldn’t find sun protection long sleeve tees without a lot of branding and graphics. We decided with both of our backgrounds we could start a small company that would make simple sun protection shirts with tasteful branding. Even better, we'd make them from recycled plastic bottles. Good for the environment, right? Well once we dug in we learned how harmful ANY synthetic fabrics were. Whether they are new or recycled shirts, they degrade in the wash releasing tens of thousands of microplastics into our water systems with every wash cycle. That caused us to completely change our model to provide clothing that returns to the proven utility of natural fabrics in the outdoors. The Made in the USA part is a no-brainer. It supports US companies and jobs while reducing transportation costs, both financial and environmental.
Q: How do you find inspiration for new products?
Being in the outdoors ourselves and with family and friends. Always asking ourselves how we can turn that polyester/nylon/acrylic thing into something that utilizes natural fabrics. Also researching new yarns and fabrics looking for that new process or technique that is just a little easier on the planet.
Q: Where are your products made?
All of our products are made right here in the U.S.
Q: What are the main materials / fabrics you use?
Currently we use merino wool, hemp and organic cotton.
Q: Where does your fabric come from?
Our fabric comes from the U.S. as well. The yarns for our sweaters are from Italy.
Q: What kind of packaging/shipping materials do you use?
We ship in both 100% recycled paperboard envelopes and 100% recycled boxes. Our clothing is further protected by either Glassine Bags, (an innovative plastic-free solution for internal packaging, and a curbside recyclable alternative to a clear poly bag) or comPoly bags that are certified home compostable and made with corn. Our hang tags are printed on recycled paper.
Q: What kind of initiatives do you have in place to protect the environment?
Using natural fabrics that completely degrade, we use organic cotton that uses less water, we use low-impact dyes and are moving into some natural dyes, we manufacture in the U.S. avoiding overseas transportation and as above our packaging is biodegradable.
Q: What have been some of your biggest learning experiences in running a business?
1) Manufacturing and finding materials in the U.S is HARD. Between the discovery of cheap overseas labor in the 1970’s and a succession of trade policies in the 1990’s wiping out restrictions and duties on imports on foreign-manufactured clothing, the industry took a gigantic hit. 750,000 jobs were lost. There are good companies out there but you have to kiss some frogs.
2) Patience! You make mistakes, you learn and you move on. Good things eventually come through keeping yourself focussed on doing the right thing both for people, the planet and your business.
Q: What do you look for when outsourcing / finding partners?
Quality, honesty and follow-through.
Q: What will you never compromise on with your business?
Always trying to do better.
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
Our clothing is not cheap for all the reasons stated above. But it’s better to have one well made thing than 10 cheaply made things that go quickly into the landfill. You know, Slow Fashion.
Oh, and please consider not buying plastic clothing (polyester, acrylic, nylon..).