For six weeks, the Byron Bay surfers slept in their van and visited shops along the way hoping to get their new clothing brand, Afends, into a few shops.
Now almost four years later, the ‘entrepreneurial’ guys are just about to open their second concept store in their home town.
The first store opened in Kuta, Bali in July last year.
Afends is now sold in almost 200 retail outlets in Australia and is also available in New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and South Africa.
Next year, Jono and Declan hope to establish their label in the United States and Europe.
A graphic designer, Jono 27 and Declan 25, a screen printer, were working for other people when they decided to start their own clothing label.
“So Jono designed a few clothes, I screen printed them, we got in the van and headed off,” Declan said.
Jono said Afends was targeted at men and women aged 15 to 30 and was a streetwear brand influenced by music and alternative sport.
“It’s a surf, skate, punk and rock label like those in the 80s, but edgier,” he said.
“We can’t believe how the business has grown, it’s been phenomenal.
“And when we opened our first concept store in Bali, well that was really exciting.”
Declan said they had decided to open the store in Kuta because the tourist island was ‘full of pretty hip people’.
“There’s a huge international market there, business is escalating and it’s a great place to relax a bit and surf.”
Afends clothing is made in Bali and China and the boys are regularly overseas checking on business.
They are both ‘flat out’ and without any former business experience are understandably very proud of their success.
“It’s all been a bit overwhelming,” Jono said, “but we have had lots of help from accountants and financial advisors.”
“We’re actually pretty professional now and we really know our market.”
The new Afends store will open in Lawson Street, Byron Bay at the end of June.
“In Bali we have a massive revolving fixture of an apple core with a worm coming out and here in the new Byron store we are going to have a big octopus, it’s going to look great,” Jono said.
The future’s looking pretty damn good for two surfer ‘dudes’ from Byron Bay.
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