If alternative marketing agency Vice and white-label clothier Li & Fung birthed an offspring, it would be Greenpoint, Brooklyn-based brand-development firm the Supply System.
Launched in 2010, founders Alexander Keith and Adam Travis want to make it easier for mass brands to sell cool clothes. The shop has grown its client roster to more than 50 companies over the past few years to include big names such as Urban Outfitters, Amazon and Need Supply.
Those names are a long way from where the Supply System got its start, which was as a traveling showroom of sorts. Mr. Keith, whose background is at branding agencies and who at one point worked at Wolff Olins, and Mr. Travis, a production manager, initially stocked a van full of made-in-Brooklyn garments and accessories that they sold to boutiques across the country.
Soon enough the duo was designing and selling its own menswear line called General Assembly (no relation to the startup-incubator-cum-education-center of the same name). Out of General Assembly came two more brands (Super National and Mr. Nice), as the company evolved into an agency that develops white-label clothing and accessories collections for other companies.
It's a lean outfit. Currently the Supply System juggles all its work using three full-time employees and a rotation of freelancers.
Unlike the majority of branding agencies, who typically start their work after the product is already developed, the Supply System revels in being able to shape the message from the very beginning. "We do everything from product development to graphic design, labeling, naming-for some of the smaller guys, we do manufacturing as well," said Mr. Keith.
The key to its early success? Thinking digitally from the ground up. "Clothing is content," said Mr. Keith. "We hope a picture of something we design goes viral."
The next step for the firm, according to Mr. Keith, is having a hand in the marketing and advertising after the product hits the e-commerce site. "It's slightly out of our wheelhouse, but we're looking for the right people to ramp up."
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