What I Wish I Knew – Dan Craven, founder of Anpassa Sports Apparel
Dan Craven founded Anpassa Sports Apparel, a men's premium activewear brand, having worked for other sportswear brands as a designer.
“I realised that although it's quite a crowded marketplace, there was a gap in the market for something a little bit more premium for men,” Dan said. “There were a lot of mid-range options, but nothing premium. At the same time, there were a lot of women's premium activewear brands popping up and they were making a lot of high-quality stuff, but the male apparel was lagging a bit.”
Having come up with the idea, Dan applied for a Start Up Loan from Virgin StartUp and launched Anpassa in July 2021. We caught up with him to find out more about his journey and the things that he wishes he’d known sooner that would have made the experience easier…
Sharing the personality behind the brand
I come from a product background so it's been a learning curve to get the brand out there. I'm working out how to have a voice behind the brand.
I've been very particular about the branding and the way that the product should look, but I think adding a little bit more personality in how I get the brand across is something I'm still working on. It's a fine line. You don't want it to look unprofessional, but you do want to create high-quality content that shows the personality behind it all.
There's a lot of support for small businesses at the moment and having that transparency and seeing behind the scenes a little bit really helps. I'm definitely still finding that balance between being a premium brand and also making it clear that it is a small start-up.
Initially, the idea came around on a product level, but as time's gone on it's become important to add purpose to the brand. I don't just want to be a company that makes nice clothing. It's early days at the moment but the idea is to make it into a wellness platform, particularly focusing on men's mental health. That’s why we now donate £2 for every item sold to Mind. We have many other plans to help the wider efforts to get men talking about their mental health but I felt this is a good place to start.
It's not just about making a nice product and making some profit, it's a two-way street. If we can build a platform and get people talking and opening up, t's something that I want to get involved in.
Asking for help
I need to remember to ask for help more – especially in areas where I've been working it out as I go. I've definitely got certain areas covered, but it's always good to get a second opinion. It's really important to open up and ask for help in the areas where you're not as strong.
I like to learn all the different aspects of the business, but there are times that I've realised I need a bit more help. No-one is amazing at everything. Even if you're an all-rounder, there are always going to be certain areas that you're stronger in, and others where you need a bit of help.
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