February’s – ‘The Love Issue’ – Download Now
Co-founding Canadian sisters Alina Kupelian and Tanya Kupelian of Old Sport Society tell us how they’ve made the latest way to wear loungewear.
What do your first 30 mins of the day look like, your morning routine?
TK: I always drink a glass of water first and then make myself a cup of coffee. I get ready for the day and only once I am settled, can I check my emails. I used to be the type of person to open my phone as soon as I woke up but I’ve learned that isn’t healthy. Going through your phone notifications should be the last thing you do on your list in the morning.
What is at the heart of The Old Sport Society’s DNA as a brand?
AK: Growing up, my sister and I travelled to the west coast to visit family and appreciated how environmentally friendly they are were. The idea for Old Sports Society started in the last 5 years when we both started appreciating loungewear sets and being conscientious about sustainability and the planet. The heart of Old Sport Society is the idea of a fashionable loungewear brand that is made with sustainable materials. This really encompasses who we are and what we believe in.
What has been the biggest hurdle since launching and how did you overcome it?
AK: Since we launched in September, the competition of standing out between many other emerging brands in a similar space has been tough. This is why we decided to take the sustainable route and have been focused on that niche market which differentiates us from everyone else. We are at a slightly higher price point than some other brands but we aren’t just selling a brand – we are recycling waste cotton in order to avoid waste in the environment.
How do you think last year affected the growth in popularity of loungewear brands?
AK: I think the need for loungewear and the way we wear it has changed and will continue to change. Everyone is wearing and investing in loungewear sets to wear at home, to run their errands and to do sporting activities. Moving forward, I do believe that people will continue to wear loungewear seeing that it is more socially acceptable to wear your hoodie with either leggings or the matching sweat pants. Celebrities are wearing them and so is everybody else in society seeing that this is becoming a fashion statement, especially for Streetwear brands.
The price point is accessible – was this a key factor from the outset?
AK: The price point is acceptable for what we are giving the customer – beautifully heavyweight cotton which is made from sustainable materials. It was the hardest to meet this price point to which we think is a middle range between fast fashion and higher-end brands. We wanted to keep the brand as affordable as possible so consumers are encouraged to lean towards sustainability.
Do you have any mentors or guides and how does this help navigate the right path?
AK: We definitely do have some guides that have helped us through the creation and process of creating Old Sport Society. We have some family in the business form whom we have received advice and second opinions when it came to decision making. We also work in the industry and I studied business processes during my undergraduate degree at university. Good to know study is never lost!
Where do you produce the pieces and how challenging was the process to refine this process?
AK: Some are produced in the US and some overseas. The process is not too challenging once you are set up. We love all of our suppliers and are very understanding when we have questions or concerns. We did plenty of research to make sure we work with the most flexible and adaptable team possible.
As a young brand, what is your approach to scaling the business?
AK: As a young brand we are mainly doing this because we enjoy it. We are constantly inspired by what is currently out there across the world and are so lucky that we can access trends and inspiration through social media. We have goals that we set for ourselves and those will continue to change in the first couple of years, because we are so new in the game and having started a business during a pandemic. We saw the need for a product on the market and the timing was perfect. We will continue to innovate and take opportunities where they are needed to give consumers what they need and want.
Which colourways/designs have been most popular to date and was this as you predicted?
AK: The strongest colours for us are first our oyster colour and our green hoodie as well. Anything in the oyster is doing the well on our website and green has been a strong colour in the last year in clothing and in handbags and accessories. As I mentioned, we both work in the industry and are able to call out these trends and apply them to what we think will work in the market. There is no doubt that we are still trying different styles and colours to see if there are any other additional needs as well.
You have clients the globe over – do you see any buying patterns based on regions or countries?
AK: We have not seen any clear, specific patterns yet, we have customers buying mainly from Canada and USA. We have only been live for about 4 months now so we are still gathering data!
How do you approach client engagement and retention?
TK: We like to be as friendly as possible with everyone, great customer service is important to us. We don’t want to make it feel like we are above our customers.
How has social media affected building Old Sport Society?
TK: We started the launch by creating a moodboard, so that people could get a feel for the brand and when we launched we had received a lot of support from our friends. Social media is our #1 direct source for advertising and sales so that is pretty important to us.
Which Instagram accounts do you follow for inspiration?
TK: A lot of moodboard accounts on Instagram such as: @_youthclub @toutesttemporaire @ullew and many influencers from Europe, we love the way they dress and are ahead of trends!
What advice would you give to your younger self, starting out?
TK : Advice to my younger self would be everything happens for a reason, don’t try to fight it. Sometimes I think, we should have started the brand much earlier but everything unfolds the way it should. Had we started when we were younger, we would not have all this life experience serving us as knowledge to tackle the things we have to deal with today.
If you had not launched the brand, which other role would you choose career-wise?
The company is a side business for my sister and I. We still work at our full-time jobs which are a wholesale buyer and a social media specialist. But if we weren’t doing this…
TK: I think I would like to be a psychologist because I find the way different minds work fascinating and I always like to help others.
AK: I would still be working in the wholesale business as I love managing businesses and selling products and tracking growth and success from the products I sold and believe in.
This issue is ‘The Love Issue’ – what is love to you?
TK: When someone else’s happiness is your happiness, that is love.
AK: Love has a different meaning to everyone. Love comes in different forms of caring for someone but generally it is an unexplainable feeling, scary for most people. Some people are too scared to feel love so they avoid ever trying to feel it with someone in order to avoid feeling vulnerable. Sometimes you can’t even explain how you got there or what you did to get there but most of the time- you just know.
February’s – ‘The Love Issue’ – Download Now
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