July 12, 2024

Interview with Josh Hargett from Abuv Noise

Interview with Josh Hargett from Abuv Noise

On March 10th, we had the pleasure of interviewing Josh Hargett, the founder of Abuv Noise, a luxury sportswear brand specializing in hats, t-shirts, and sweatshirts. We believe his entrepreneurial journey will resonate with many other brand owners in the industry.

Background and Brand Introduction

With a foundation in entrepreneurship from his college days and experience working with various fashion and textile manufacturing brands, Josh has developed a profound understanding of the industry. His brand, Abuv Noise, seeks to distinguish itself in a saturated market by embodying the spirit of transcending the everyday noise and making a distinctive fashion statement.

Josh strategically sources blanks from manufacturers in Los Angeles and produces more intricate items like hoodies in China. This approach ensures a fusion of quality and innovative design. Each piece is crafted with the aim of providing stylish yet functional sportswear that appeals to an energetic and youthful demographic.

The brand name ‘Abuv Noise’ reflects Josh’s mission to create apparel that not only stands out from the ordinary but also enhances the wearer’s individual style, setting them apart from mainstream fashion trends.

Josh Hargett’s Observations Leading to the Creation of Abuv Noise

Luxury Hoodie from Abuv Sportswear

Before launching his current brand, Abuv Noise, Josh Hargett acquired crucial insights into the e-commerce landscape during the COVID-19 lockdowns. He briefly experimented with a dropshipping model, observing first-hand the challenges that many online stores faced. While this experience was informative, Josh quickly recognized that dropshipping alone would not suffice to achieve the deeper customer connection and brand identity he envisioned.

Josh’s real passion for e-commerce and community building was ignited during his tenure at Omnisend, where he supported startup brands in navigating the complexities of online marketing and sales. This experience highlighted the importance of a strong brand presence and the potential of direct customer engagement.

Armed with these insights, Josh decided to pivot from the transient nature of dropshipping to establish his own brand. He opted to start with blanks, which allowed him to quickly test the market and refine his product offerings based on direct consumer feedback. This hands-on approach enabled him to control the quality and aesthetic of his products, ensuring each piece reflected his vision.

Moreover, Josh is shifting towards manufacturing his own products from pattern making to final garments. This will allow him to implement custom designs that truly resonate with his audience. This move not only enhanced the quality of his offerings but also solidified his brand’s unique identity in the competitive fashion landscape.

For Josh, the true measure of success is the sense of achievement he feels when he sees someone wearing Abuv Noise clothing, knowing that each item represents not just a product but a personal and brand story.

The Rise of Abuv Noise

Abuv Sportswear in Production

Josh Hargett made significant achievements with his sportswear brand. Launching with a well-received initial collection, Josh introduced two unique shirt designs, two stylish sweatshirt options, and four distinct hat designs. His strategic production approach, creating batches of 30–50 units per design, proved successful as he quickly sold out of all hats in the first drop.

Recognizing the power of influencer marketing, Josh leveraged his connections within the professional sports world to enhance brand visibility. By having athletes wear and promote his clothing, he not only elevated his brand’s profile but also affirmed its quality and appeal in competitive environments.

Over time, Josh has continuously refined his branding and product offerings, making informed decisions based on sales data and customer feedback. This responsive approach has allowed him to fine-tune his designs, focusing on items that resonate most with his audience, thereby optimizing his inventory and reducing waste.

Expanding beyond hats, Josh has successfully introduced t-shirts and sweatshirts, each imbued with the distinct Abuv Noise identity. This expansion reflects his commitment to growing a comprehensive lifestyle brand rather than just a single-product line.

Looking forward, Josh is setting ambitious goals for Abuv Noise. He plans to increase production volumes significantly and is in the process of launching new lines of performance clothing, including shorts and polos. These new additions are designed to meet the rigorous demands of active lifestyles while maintaining the brand’s signature aesthetic. As Josh continues to scale Abuv Noise, he remains dedicated to delivering high-quality, stylish apparel that stands out in the bustling sportswear market.

Strict Supplier Selection Process at Abuv Noise

Photo by Timothy Muza on Unsplash

Josh Hargett’s approach to establishing a robust supplier network for Abuv Noise involves a meticulous and multi-stage selection process.

Initial Outreach: Josh begins by casting a wide net, reaching out to approximately 100–200 potential suppliers that he identifies through extensive online research. This initial contact is crucial as it sets the stage for further communication.

Responses: Out of the initial outreach, around 30–40 suppliers typically respond to Josh’s inquiries.

Sampling Stage: Josh further narrows down the list of responsive suppliers to about 7–8 whom he considers promising based on their initial communication and capability statements. He then enters into the sampling stage with these suppliers, ordering initial samples to evaluate their quality of work and reliability. This stage is critical as it involves a tangible exchange of products and feedback, allowing Josh to assess the practical aspects of working with each supplier.

Production Stage: Finally, only a select few suppliers, typically 1–3, pass the sampling stage with satisfactory results. These suppliers meet Abuv Noise’s stringent criteria for fit, fabric quality, and efficiency in communication and production timelines. Moving forward to the full production stage with these suppliers signifies a commitment to building long-term partnerships based on mutual understanding and consistent product quality.

This rigorous selection process ensures that Abuv Noise maintains its reputation for high-quality sportswear and can reliably meet customer expectations. Each step, from initial outreach to final selection for production, is designed to refine and perfect the brand’s supplier network, supporting its growth and sustainability in the competitive fashion industry.

Challenges in the Journey

Quality Control and Supplier Selection: Josh’s commitment to the highest quality for his sportswear brand meant that finding reliable manufacturers and suppliers who could meet his exacting standards was critical. Initially, it was particularly challenging to find partners willing to accommodate the small minimum order quantities he required. To ensure high-quality production, Josh worked with an exclusive garment technician, Victoria Hunter, who is extremely experienced and knowledgeable. Responsible for creating highly detailed tech packs, Victoria brings a wealth of expertise to ensure precision and quality in production. These tech packs ensured precision in production and minimized the risk of errors in the final products. Josh’s meticulous nature extended to his design process, where he gathered inspiration from iconic figures like Muhammad Ali, using images of Ali in white boxing shorts to inspire his own designs.

Initial Sketch Designs of Abuv Noise’s First Collection from Tech Packs

Production Timelines: At beginning, the production process was slow and fraught with delays, often taking months from initial sampling to final bulk production. This was due to the need for multiple rounds of revisions and the inherent delays in shipping, particularly from overseas suppliers. These extended timelines made it difficult to plan and execute timely product drops, which occasionally caused Josh to miss critical sales seasons.

High Initial Investment Costs: Starting Abuv Noise required a substantial initial financial investment, with Josh estimating that he spent over $20,000 on just his first few product drops.

Ongoing Operational Challenges: Several pain points persisted throughout Josh’s journey, particularly in managing the production process. The lengthy sampling phase, requiring weeks to create a single tech pack, limited the number of collections Abuv Noise could launch annually. This, coupled with slow communication and long lead times from suppliers, presented ongoing challenges in scaling operations efficiently.

The Synergy with Lookr

Josh Hargett has shown significant enthusiasm for integrating Lookr’s innovative solutions into his operations at Abuv Noise. His prompt engagement with Lookr, securing an interview slot immediately after learning that the demo was available, underscores his proactive approach to leveraging technology for business efficiency.

Tech Pack Automation: One of Josh’s primary interests in Lookr is the potential to automate the creation of tech packs. Traditionally, preparing one tech pack takes weeks, involving extensive manual effort and significant cost — often hundreds of dollars per pack. By automating this process, Josh hopes to drastically reduce the time and financial investment required, allowing for more frequent and diverse collection samplings. His vision extends to training a personalized AI model with Lookr, where he could input multiple tech packs monthly. This would not only streamline his design and production process but also free up valuable resources to enhance other areas of the business, like marketing and brand development.

Enhanced Production Capability: The ability to generate tech packs from mere reference images and prompts using AI is a game-changer for Josh. This feature would significantly expedite his design process, making it more dynamic and responsive to market trends. Josh’s positive reaction to the demo tech pack — praising its accuracy and the automation’s effectiveness — reinforces his belief in Lookr’s potential to transform his production workflow.

Supplier Integration: Another critical aspect for Josh is the possibility of Lookr generating a list of verified suppliers. This would address one of his ongoing challenges: the time-consuming process of vetting and selecting suppliers. With Lookr’s ability to recommend reliable partners, Josh could more efficiently and confidently narrow down his options and establish fruitful collaborations, further enhancing his supply chain efficiency.

Before You Go

We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Josh Hargett for dedicating 1.5 hours to our interview and providing invaluable insights into his experiences and needs as the founder of Abuv Noise. His enthusiasm and thoughtful feedback play a crucial role in shaping the future of Lookr.fyi.

At Lookr, our mission is to streamline the journey from concept to concrete product, embodying the philosophy that an “Idea is all you need.” With our technology, we aim to lead a new era where creative visions can transition smoothly into market-ready products without the traditional barriers.

If you’re intrigued by the possibility of transforming your creative ideas into reality with greater speed and efficiency, we invite you to join our waitlist. Be part of the movement redefining the landscape of production and innovation.

Thank you for considering Lookr.fyi as your partner in this exciting journey. Together, let’s turn ideas into impactful realities!