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Andy & Evan founders left the corporate world for a realm of fun, whimsy and iconic styling, creating a beloved brand along the way.
Coming from the world of men’s custom shirts—and before that, finance—one likely wouldn’t have predicted Evan Hakalir and Jon “Andy” Perl’s unlikely foray into the universe of childrenswear. But, inspired by both the birth of Perl’s first son and an idea for a boy’s button-down shirt with a bottom snap closure that the pair dubbed the “Shirtzie,” the partners have revolutionized the way boys’ shirts are worn and manufactured across the country, and beyond.
The brand launched with its Spring/Summer ’12 collection and Hakalir says they were innovators from the very beginning. He cites Warren Buffet’s quote: “First there are the innovators, then the imitators and then there are the idiots.” Hakalir explains, “I like to think that we were the innovators, and we then parlayed a great product and our reputation for innovation and awesome detail and design into a line, then a company and now a globally recognized brand for boys and girls.”
The brand, with an aesthetic rooted in “classic iconic styling, with an effortless infusion of fun and whimsy,” sells to high-end department stores and specialty stores across the U.S. It sells in “well over” 1,000 doors and also boasts a presence in more than 25 countries, offering sizes ranging from newborn to size 14 in boys’, and newborn to size 7 in girls’. Wholesale prices range from $9 to $74.50.
In store for Spring ’17 is the “best collection” the team has ever offered, promises Hakalir. Expect wonderfully unique short-sleeve shirts for boys (“a must-see”), an expanded assortment of “ridiculously cool” graphics and patch-detailed army-inspired jackets for both boys and girls.
The secret to the brands success? According to Hakalir, it’s the attention to detail, the innovation, and the product. “We design like ostriches would, with our heads buried in the sand, and make a point of not looking at color stories and trend reports,” the co-founder quips. Instead? The brand’s goal is to set the trend. “If you’re always focused on innovation and ignore the competition, then you’re going to be one step ahead of the pack.” Also to thank: hard work, a great deal of luck, many excellent retailers and “the best team in showbiz.” –L.O.