Dress for success
Life is all about taking chances. That is certainly a lesson that has been learned by business partners Adam Petty, 28, and Sam Outerbridge, 26.
They left secure jobs to start a luxury men’s apparel company, Coral Coast Clothing, last May.
So far, the gamble is paying off.
“It was nerve-racking at first,” said Mr Petty. “We were both in reinsurance before and you get used to the monthly pay cheque coming in and working every day nine to five. Hopping out of that gets hard.
“But we came up with the idea for Coral Coast and felt we could make a difference and really promote Bermuda.”
The pair came up with the idea a couple of years ago. They wanted to create a quality product that would compete with big brand names from around the world.
“In an economic recession investing in the Island is the only way forward,” Mr Outerbridge said. “We had tons of ideas for different things and decided on a men’s clothing line.”
They weren’t immediately sure how other people would respond to their designs but the pieces sold out within the first few months.
“We thought the first order would last us much longer,” Mr Outerbridge said.
“Naturally, as a new label in a place where brands are so prevalent, and where you only really have a few options of clothes, it’s hard to change the mindset of people.
“So it was a huge risk, but the response was incredible, with a lot of people buying and wanting them.”
Their signature piece is a men’s button-up shirt in corals, bright blues and crisp whites — the colours all pay homage to the Island’s vibrant hues. “But we try to make sure the colours aren’t too ridiculous or in your face,” Mr Outerbridge said.
“For us it’s the little things that might not get picked up immediately by the eye. Even the buttons have our logo, Coral Coast Bermuda, on it.
“We offer them in the Bermuda blue ocean and classic ivory colours.”
Growing up, the young men were always interested in fashion.
Mr Petty remembers how important it was for him to go into town to pick out a stylish new outfit to wear at school on grub days or at community events.
“Bermuda is so small and you are always bumping into people,” he said. “People here seem to care more about how they dress and grow up naturally with this feeling they are always being watched, so dress well.
“I appreciate a modern, classic look with a burst of colour [but] generally speaking, I find Bermudians’ style to be pretty timeless, so we wanted to keep that effect so that nothing we design will go out of style.”
He believes it is now more common to see men taking pride in their dress no matter where they live.
“The world is becoming a more competitive place and people are trying to set themselves apart from the rest with their fashion,” he said.
“Ten years ago, when men cared about how they dressed they were labelled a ‘metrosexual’, but it’s more common now across the globe to see men prioritising how they dress.”
Coral Coast Clothing is available at Regali Boutique at Tucker’s Point.
Alternatively, log on to www.coralcoastclothing.com
• Try new colours: Colour is not a bad thing, according to the young entrepreneurs.
“It adds a little bit of character to what you are wearing and just because you are stepping into new territory doesn’t mean you have to do it all at once,” Mr Petty said. “It can be a slow progression with a couple of dress shirts if you haven’t had any before. You don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe.”
• Fit is important: Mr Outerbridge said that men could also be quite self-conscious about how clothes fit them.
It is important to try on a new piece before you buy it, just to make sure it flatters your shape, he explained.
• Don’t be afraid to experiment: “That’s what fashion is about,” said Mr Petty. “You shouldn’t just wear something because someone tells you to or because you saw it in an ad.
“Just try new things to see what works for you. If you take a big brand, which has a lot of advertising money and it’s always in your face, you might decide to go with that.
“But by wearing something else from unique or lesser known brands means that you can be a trend-setter and stand out from the pack.”
• Stock your closet with staples: The pair said men should invest in timeless pieces such as a nice fitting sports coat, a white dress shirt, and matching belt and loafers.