From humble beginnings.
 
Did you know that ortc Clothing Co was born to provide boys and men with fashionable accessories and traded under the name 'ortc|man’? The duo discovered a need for affordable and trendy gifts for their friends and fathers and brought their ideas and designs to life in 2016. 
 
To celebrate the 5 year milestone, we asked the co-directors to answer some burning questions from their staff and customers.
 
What or who would be your greatest fashion inspiration?
 
Will - It would have to be my beautiful mother, Min. She was always so well presented (and still is) and made sure my sister and I were to. 
  
Charlie - I don’t think I have ever had an individual fashion influence but more so have taken inspiration from iconic brands and labels as a whole. I have always loved the classics, Rodd & Gunn, Country Road, Tommy Hilfiger and of course Ralph Lauren. However, I also have a soft spot for modern denim labels and have always admired Adidas and Nike for their ability to stay relevant in a very saturated market. 
 
 
Do you have a personal favourite product from any of your ranges over the past 5 years? If so, what is it?
 
Will - I love our Lounge Shorts. They’re honestly the comfiest short I own and I wear them every single day. In fact on the rare occasion that I do wear my jeans or chinos in to the office, the team tend to take a good stare at me like I am dressed in a suit and tie. 
 
Charlie - With every collection comes new favourites and some of these styles I would not even wear myself. However, if I was to pick one absolute favourite, it would be the Horrocks Swim Shorts. A timeless classic that I’ll be wearing for years.
 
You have shot some incredible lifestyle campaigns around Australia, where are you looking to shoot the next range?
 
Will - We have been so lucky to shoot in some awesome locations over the years. I am excited to potentially shoot on this pretty incredible private island off the coast of Port Lincoln for our Summer 21/22 Collection.
 
Charlie - We have so many beautiful locations to shoot in this country which is why we name our swim styles after the most iconic Australian swim spots. We are planning to shoot our new Summer Collection on the beautiful Boston Island off the coast of Port Lincoln if the Covid 19 pandemic allows us. 
 
  
Has the growth of ortc|man into ortc Clothing Co happened as you imagined or has it taken some unexpected turns?
 
Will - Beginning the business as predominantly a Men’s accessories label with small dreams to guide it into a lifestyle brand, I certainly did not expect it to grow as quickly as it has. There has certainly been some highs and lows but I’m incredibly proud of how the brand has transitioned into its new direction. I’m looking forward to the release of our first Women’s range in 2022 as well as adding some more depth to our Men’s offering. 
 
Charlie - I would love to say that it has all gone smooth sailing but that would be far from the truth and to be honest, goals and objectives change so often for us so it is hard to remember where I pictured the business being after 5 years. As Will said, there are definitely ups and downs, but there has been more ups and then there has been downs which is why we are still going. In saying that, if you had told me that in 5 years we would have employed between 5 and 10 wonderful staff, have a retail outlet in Norwood, be wholesaling our products to over 300 accounts in Australia, New Zealand and the United States, selling products on The Iconic, as well as a successful online store, I would have taken that. The brand has certainly evolved into something we always dreamt of, but we still have a long way to go. 
 
 
What has been your most memorable experience since starting your own fashion label?
 
Will - It’s hard to narrow it down to one most memorable experience for me. But, I’d have to say the opening of our first retail store and celebrating the opening and collection launch of our new range with family and friends has been a real highlight. I’d also have to add the trips to the United States with Charlie, traveling with your best mate and business partner is one thing and then to relish in the success of your new business with a feature in one of America’s biggest publications was something else.
 
Charlie - Over the past 5 years, there have been many memorable experiences but it would be hard to go past our feature in the Oprah Magazine after a trip to the USA in 2020. 
 
 
If you could speak to yourselves 5 years ago, what would you say?
 
Will - Revenue is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is reality. (Cash is King)
 
Charlie - I think we have done a lot right but if I could have told myself one thing all those years ago, it would have been to focus more on an online presence and the importance of a successful digital marketing strategy a little earlier on. 
 
 
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced since the pandemic started?
 
Charlie - I think I can answer this one on behalf of both Will and myself. Honestly, it has been a combination of many things as most business owners would say. Managing rapid business growth whilst having to the deal with what seams to be once in a lifetime hurdles has been extremely difficult. We essentially entered our biggest growth period at the same time as the pandemic broke. Our cash flow management has been dramatically affected, due to an increase in overheads, plus multiple freight set backs and manufacturing set backs. Collection planning, timed product launches and marketing campaign structures are no longer aspects of the business that we apply a lot of time too, as it can all change in a matter or hours. Lockdowns, border restrictions, travel bans and office closures are now common road blocks that we have to constantly be ready for. The biggest challenge has been accepting that this is just the new normal. 
August 23, 2021 — Isabel East

Comments

Flea said:

You are absolutely ripper lads who have enjoyed some very deserved success; and I believe will see massive growth (and cash) over the next five years and onward.
Congratulations Chas and Will

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