Eph Apparel Inc.
Alex Ethans, Andrew Parkes & Maciek Hunek
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Headquartered in Winnipeg, MB, Eph Apparel Inc. has become one of Canada’s fastest growing custom menswear companies, offering customers the opportunity to customize their own quality suits, shirts, formalwear and accessories at a reasonable cost.
Founders Alex Ethans, Andrew Parkes, and Maciek Hunek forged their partnership as students at the University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business. Prior to launching Eph Apparel, the three held respective marketing, finance, and recruiting jobs at various corporate businesses in the province. Feeling unfulfilled by their occupations (and noticing a hole in the marketplace for high-quality, yet affordable custom-made men’s suits) they decided to go into business for themselves. Hearing about Futurpreneur through a friend, they applied to the program, and in 2011, Eph Apparel was born!
“Futurpreneur gave us the means to build our business by alleviating the financial stress that deters so many start-ups,” says Alex.
In just three years, Eph Apparel has amassed 13 employees at its head office, 16 commission sales representatives across Canada and has 25,000 clients. The company doubled its sales in 2014 and recently launched its innovative Personal Style Representative Program that gives young self-starters the opportunity to try their own hand at selling men’s custom products. Successful candidates are provided with the necessary training and tools (including their own Personal Style Rep Kit) to conduct an entire sale themselves with the potential of earning a commission as high as 22%.
“Our Personal Style Representative Program is a great opportunity for young people to try their hand at entrepreneurship without the standard risks associated with a new venture,” says Maciek. “The three of us are thrilled to be in a position where we can nurture the entrepreneurial spirits of young people and give back to the community – much like how Futurpreneur supported us and our business.”
In 2015, the three co-founders will be expanding the Personal Style Rep program aggressively throughout Canada, with a focus on creating partnerships in the retail and fashion industry. This not only includes other retail stores, but also fashion influencers such as bloggers, personal shoppers and others. They have also established relationships with local influencers and icons in large markets throughout Canada, including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Winnipeg Jets, Vancouver Canucks, and several NBA players. The feedback and response has been tremendous and they are hoping to continue this path to partner with not only professional sports teams but also junior hockey clubs and other sports organizations. They also launched a corporate uniform program to outfit public service organizations such as police and municipal agencies.. Lastly, they are partnering with corporations to provide their employees with corporate discounts for custom clothing.
“The number one thing I wish I would have known before launching our business was just how much support there is for entrepreneurs, especially in Manitoba. Business owners are always willing to offer guidance and advice when asked, and organizations such as Futurpreneur can connect you with the resources you need to succeed. - Andrew Parkes”