SUP2 was started by Winston Sua (aka Wax) a Sportsman, who was always in charge of the team kit as he loved to push the boundaries of ‘the traditional strip’ . When he made his first Tee, it was worn by a Rugby mate who was also the captain of ‘A particular Elite New Zealand Rugby team’ at the time. Branded on the Tee was a phrase which Winston and his mates used when texting amongst each other, ‘SUP2’.
When Wax met his partner Gina, she had been working in the Fashion Industry for many years and had seen the journey of most Kiwi and Aussie clothing brands. What made them… and sometimes what killed them. Her expertise includes Design and Business Management.
Gina saw something that she hadn’t seen in other brands throughout her years in the industry. An evolving cult brand amongst successful Athletes and which was not available (creating demand and curiosity). SUP 2 came from a new, fresh angle; a brand that would make a T-shirt much more than a T-shirt.
What does a typical day look like at the SUP 2 Headquarters, and what’s your favourite part about running your business?
The day usually starts at 5:00am with a strong coffee before hitting the Gym. For us maintaining physical and mental strength is important when dealing with business and family matters. Once we get the kids to school we start work at home, check-up on the shop and staff and take another trip to see our factories. There’s non-stop juggling between roles as our business is in it’s early growth phase. For now we don’t have a big team so it’s up to us to make most things happen.
More often than not, the computer switches off at around 11:00pm… then on again in the middle of the night to keep in contact with overseas factories and web enquiries.
How does SUP 2 stay stylish and what can customers expect that famous brands aren’t already doing?
We do our own thing rather than following seasonal trends. It’s all about what’s inspiring us at the time. We then put these ideas through a filter to decide what will make it to the shelves. There’s always a percentage of the range which we like to call ‘Core’- products people expect from us and love. There is also a portion of the range that might scare some or encourage our customer-base to try something beyond their comfort zone.
Behind most ideas is a story which refers to our life in NZ. SUP2 is an inclusive brand which strives to reach and relate to a wide demographic audience through these ideas.
We heard that SUP 2 has recently ventured out to Japan. What is the lesson that you have taken away from the trip?
It’s all about relationships, product and process. Getting the right partners is key. Nothing we have achieved has been through traditional avenues and business. The reality is… unless you have big funding, you can’t afford fancy ‘marketing’ and business plan agencies.
In saying that, there is a lot of un-tapped talent roaming out there so the challenge is also an opportunity. Starting a clothing brand in this climate is a risk and you’ve got to have thick skin and determination to follow through.
(Winston Su’a (right) during SUP2’s launch in Japan)
What is some advice that you would like to give our Pacific People who are looking to start their own businesses?
People Value what you have when they need to pay for it. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Work on your strengths and get reliable people to do what you are not so good at. A successful business has 4 dimensions which need to successfully cross align.
None of these can be neglected. This is the foundation.
In 1 sentence, how would you persuade our Pacific Community to trade their gear in for SUP 2 gears?
SUP2 reflects our Kiwi attitude. It’s quietly loud and globally recognisable when you see someone wearing the brand. It’s a cult brand of champions, worn because they choose to, and love our ethos – not because of paid endorsements. Born in New Zealand, Citizens of the World. Kiwis with big dreams and big heart. We are by no means experts, every day we learn.
Follow SUP2’s journey here:
SUP2’s Official website: https://sup2clothing.com/