A Goodbye From Olivers

A Goodbye From Olivers

It’s with a mix of emotions that we pen this final Playbook story. You’ve likely heard by now that we’re winding down the Olivers brand. But as the sun sets on a chapter of our journey, we want to express our deepest gratitude for being a part of the incredible adventure that has been Olivers. Over the years, we have strived to bring you the best athletic essentials, combining comfort, style, and functionality. From sunny beaches and dusty trails to early mornings at the gym and vibrant city streets, you’ve sported our gear and that support has been the driving force behind our brand's success. Each purchase, each word of encouragement, and each shared moment has fueled our passion for creating athleisure that not only enhances your performance but also complements your lifestyle.


As we take this moment to reflect on the memories we've created together, we wanted to sit down with our founder, David Wolfe, to talk about his experience building and running Olivers. He had a lot to say about what it took to launch the label and fuel a passion for creating premium garments that not only enhance your performance but also help you look and feel your best. Of course, as we say goodbye, we want to remind you that the online store will remain open … for a limited time.


Let’s go back to the beginning. Tell us a little about how Olivers got started. 


At the time, it was clear to me that there was something missing in the market—a classic founder’s story. But I had a personal mission of wanting to build something in the health and lifestyle category. I was definitely inspired by the farm-to-table movement, and I wanted to translate and apply some of those observations and appreciation into a space where I could make a high-quality product that could support something in the health and wellness space that I would, essentially, be the customer for. 


Why wind down the brand now?


Partially, it was personal. I felt like I was at a crossroads where I was ready to move on to a new chapter in my life. And another part of the decision was the market dynamics - requiring a certain level of investment, a certain amount of resources and commitment that I wasn’t ready to double down, and triple down again. So the circumstances around the business required me to really soul search, and the answer that came to me was that it was time for something new.


What are some of your proudest moments, as a founder of Olivers?


I think the successful kickstarter launch is a big one. Getting off the ground that way and that period of time is something that I’ll always remember. And the physical experiences we’ve had, the pop-up shops here in Los Angeles and a couple in New York, were proud moments. Being able to see all the products out there and interact with the customers and help them try on and get a feel for the brand, have really stood out for me.


Also, just seeing the growth. The smaller things - going through the process of building the business and our team. Getting product feedback and incorporating that into a new product, which really helped us commit to our quality. Hearing from our customers about how they use Olivers products and seeing physical products that you created out in the world. Being a part of people’s fitness journey and outfitting them for adventures like running a marathon or climbing a mountain. And hearing from them that “this is my favorite X in the world.” There’s a real level of satisfaction to that. 


The most surprising thing that happened during this run?


Oh man, anytime the lawyers got involved, those were quite painful and surprising. The buck stops with me, as the founder. And they’re never fun, but I know it’s not uncommon if you’re going to be in business for a while. But a few of those were tough and popped up when you least expected it. And anything related to COVID was definitely challenging. It required some big swings to manage and get through without letting down our customers, who needed our gear at that time.


Any memorable mistakes from the past few years?


We definitely made mistakes on the production, inventory management side of things. And that’s the constant challenge in an industry where you’re managing physical inventory and you need to commit to product way in advance. I think, looking back on it, I maybe would’ve pushed into wholesale earlier. In hindsight, that could’ve helped us grow and diversified the business. 


And I don’t know if this is a mistake, exactly, but definitely a learning experience. From a brand differentiation perspective, I think if there was ever an opportunity to lean into what separated us from what other brands were doing. I think everyone feels a natural pressure to move to the middle and not offend or ruffle feathers. But, leaning into who you are and recognizing who your customers are and, maybe more importantly, who they’re not … I think a brand should embrace that. Don’t be afraid to make some waves. If I were to do it again, I’d lean into that tension more. 


What has the community that has built up around Olivers meant to you?


There's integrity in the products we’ve built, and our customers have seemed to recognize that. Which is something I’m proud of. We put a lot of thought and R&D into the fabrics, we took customer feedback into consideration and tweaked the products over the years. And that helped us consistently deliver items and a brand that people came to trust. They wore Olivers with pride and that made the brand really easy to stand behind. We never took that devotion for granted. 


And it makes for items that stand the test of time. Speaking of which, for those who want to stock up, how long will Olivers gear be available?


We’re selling it until we’re all out. We’re letting it all go, and the way things are going, I would say that we’ll be done by the end of January … at the latest. But things are starting to move, so there’s no guarantee that items will last. Product by product, SKU by SKU, they’re going. 


Speaking of product, do you have one of everything?


Honestly, I don’t think I do. I have a lot, though. I wear a lot of samples, so I have some early prototypes of products and a few items that never got produced. But I may not have fresh versions of everything, so I’ve got some stocking up to do myself. 

 

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