The founder of the Old Captain Co brand, premium Swiss Made dress shirts for active and creative people.
Yari Copt is a Lugano based entrepreneur, musician, radio DJ and skateboarder. Being a big nature lover, he rides his bike every day to the manufacture, supports the emerging artists and takes photos while travelling to create the Swiss posters. With no doubt, Yari is a perfect image of a very active person, who has a busy lifestyle and whose personality, as he says, is reflected on his brand. I talked to him to discover how to build a strong client community around the brand, to keep in touch with the clients and to integrate personal hobbies and lifestyle into the brand development strategy.
1. How the idea of creating a brand came up?
I’m a creative hyperactive and productive person, the brand allows me to give a vent to the need I have inside – to express my creativity in all the possible ways.
2. Basically, Old Captain Co is a one product brand. Why did the choice fall on the shirts?
I think the focus is important. It is better to be known for doing one good product, rather than a hundred bad quality ones. It’s also easier to enter b2b (business to business – ed. note) boutiques and shops (wholesale – ed. note) with the shirts only rather than a whole set of products.
3. Natural patterns are the signature of the brand. Why did the choice fall on them? (Even the formal shirts have it).
In our collections, we have a few every style shirts: business, elegant, sporty and lots of patterns. Our patterns are loved because they are unique and exclusive, designed by us; you’ll never find the same fabric used by another brand. We also promote Art, and you can find really bold Art designs printed on our fabrics. And…. the world for sure needs more colour, right? – laughing
4. The brand looks very transparent about the production and facilities. Do you consider yourself sustainable?
Absolutely, we are really sustainable. Not because it is trendy or cool to be a sustainable brand. I would say, we are because we are organically sustainable. The Old Captain Co reflects me and I’m in love with nature and I have strong ethical rules. I produce only locally made shirts: it means I ride my bike (5 minutes from my house) to the factory to check the production. All our fabrics are produced within one hour distance in collaboration with factories that also do a lot for sustainable production. All our fabrics are GOTS certified and 60% of the fabrics are Bio and Organic. Also, in the collection, we have amazing fabrics such as Tencel, Bamboo and recycled cotton. I’m really proud of the brand and of my products and of the fact that they reflect me as a person.
5. It’s said that the brand produces exactly how much it sells, no more. What do you do with the leftovers? Or do you really always sell all the items?
It’s true, we practically have zero waste or leftovers. We produce 90% of the shirts on demand. You order – we produce, the delivery takes from 3 to 5 weeks. It is 100% of so-called “slow fashion”. Also, we have the smallest percentage of returns (like 5 shirts a year over 3000 sold!). Moreover, I have a little stock of shirts for my events and website but it’s always moving.
6. There is a “custom made” option. How long does it take to make it online?
We have different options for custom made shirts. You can pick the sizes and then create your shirt online on our website, then you can send your shirt and we copy the sizes, or you can meet with us personally. In the beginning, it can be a little complicated, but once you have your sizes then you can always reorder all your perfect-fitting shirts. We also have the ONE OF A KIND shirt where we develop with you an exclusive one-piece design pattern and fabric. Only one piece. For you. Amazing? – smiling
7. There is a poster collection available for sale. Who is the author of the photos? Why did the posters become a part of the sale?
Being a creative freak as I am meant to be always involved in a lot of projects. I fell in love with photography a couple of years ago and I took a lot of photos of landscapes while travelling in Switzerland. People started to ask me to sell some of the pics. Moreover, Swissness is one of the values of the brand, so I decided to add a little page online with swiss photos for my clients that love the whole “Swiss made” idea behind the brand. But also, it is a good excuse for me to say that I’m working when I go out to take photos! – laughing
8. Not so many brands have their monthly news updates for customers. Old Captain Co has a subscription. I subscribed for the monthly Newsletter, what kind of info I am going to receive?
Oh, my newsletters are really cool. Every time I create them with an idea of what I would love to receive in a newsletter from my favourite brand.
There’s news about the brand and new shirts, invitations to events and secret shows, a lot of contests to win the items. (I give away dinners at local restaurants, tickets for concerts around Switzerland, other cool brand products etc.) and most interesting and fun stuff. It is only once per month. Let’s call it the “non-push in the face products to buy ” newsletter! – smiling