Tailored for Fashion

By Lance O'Grady

Fashion-focused agency Pocket Square wants to integrate itself into its clients' businesses to be seen as an extension of their companies. Lance O'Grady and Ryan Fredericks started the market and web design agency specifically tailored to the fashion industry in January last year.

The two 20-somethings, who came from general marketing agencies, saw a gap in the market that needed stitching up, O'Grady says.

In just over a year the startup has secured Kiwi clients such as T-shirt company Mr Vintage, and through that teenage social media sensation Jamie's World, Superette, Thousand Piece Puzzle and Trish Peng.

Fredericks, who became interested in the industry through his wife, a model, says he appreciates fashion's love for aesthetic.

The Auckland-based company wants to achieve 250 per cent revenue growth this year and eventually expand into Australia and Britain.

However, Pocket Square plans to grow with its clients.

"It's about quality not quantity," Fredericks said.

Why did you start your own business?

Lance: Coming from a generalist marketing agency, I learnt it's hard to serve customers effectively if you're working with many different verticals. I wanted to pick one and master it.

Ryan: I read a book called Cashflow Quadrant by Robert Kiyosaki when I was 17. Since then, I have been inspired to start my own business.

What have been the biggest obstacles in starting up your business?

Lance: One of the biggest obstacles is New Zealand's online economy. It's growing rapidly but still years behind Australia and the US. Historically New Zealand businesses have been reluctant to move online, although 2014 is looking to be the year many businesses make the leap.

Ryan: Finding the right fit for a business partner.

Name one thing you've learnt in your business journey so far and from whom?

Lance: Our head developer said don't settle for what you're comfortable with because there's always a better way to do it.

Ryan: One of our clients said always believe in the potential of the little guy.

Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?

Lance: Go out and do it. Risk is everywhere, and you can spend years thinking "what if . . . ?" It's best to just jump in and get started.

Ryan: The mantra at Pocket Square: Service, service, service.

What have you sacrificed to be an entrepreneur?

Lance and Ryan: Peace of mind. There's always something playing on your mind when everyone's gone home and stopped thinking about work. It's pretty much a 24/7 job. Owning a business comes with great responsibility.

Are you prepared for failure?

Lance: The idea of failing is always at the back of anyone's mind when they go out on their own. But I am determined to make Pocket Square work and based on industry feedback we're getting I'm quietly confident.

Ryan: I live by this quote from Robert Kiyosaki: "Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success."

Who is your "business guru", or who do you admire, and why?

Lance: Steve Jobs. His attitude towards perfection, quality and aesthetic has always inspired me.

Ryan: My first mentor, Jim Rohn, for his ability to make me challenge my intellect and way of thinking.

What would you do if you weren't running your own business?

Lance: I've always wanted to be a mechanic.

Ryan: Running someone else's business or being a teacher.

What do you do in your downtime?

Lance: I like going for walks, to the beach and to the gym to try and keep a relatively healthy lifestyle.

Ryan: I read in between spending time with family.

If you were an employee rather than running your own business, which company would you want to work for?

Lance: I'd work for a burgeoning New Zealand company like Xero or Burger Fuel in their marketing and strategy departments.

Ryan: I would work for Omnicom, in the acquisitions team, they own most ad agencies.

Where is your favourite place to relax?

Lance: I like to take a stroll down to Cox's Bay and sit by the water. I grab a coffee and sit there for hours looking at the boats.

Ryan: On our spacious comfy couch in the office, sipping on an espresso.

What is one thing readers would be surprised to learn about you?

Lance: I sometimes go to work in a T-shirt, shorts and backwards cap.

Ryan: Sometimes I'm unnerved by the similarities between Lance and my wife. Even their birthdays are on exactly the same date.

© Fairfax NZ News

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