The creators of WPN. Wear Daniel Jones and Darren Nankivell joined us this week for an exclusive chat about the story behind WPN., the upcoming Kickstarter campaign and why they’re passionate about bringing fashionable mens wear to males around the world. Listen to the full interview below, transcript follows:
WPN. Wear Interview with the owners – Daniel Jones and Darren Nankivell
Download a PDF of the transcript here
Daniel Pinne: Hello folks and welcome to this exclusive interview of two very special guests that are bringing men’s fashionable fitness wear to people around the world. I of course speak of WPN. Wear creators and owners, Daniel Jones and Darren Nankivell. Fellas, welcome.
Daniel Jones: How you doing?
Darren Nankivell: How you doing man?
Daniel Pinne: Very well, thanks so much for joining us. Today we’re going to be chatting a bit about the background behind the company, but first things first. WPN. have a huge campaign coming up, so let’s cover that off straight away and tell us a little bit more about it.
Daniel Jones: Yeah, so basically we’re heading into a Kickstarter campaign, which launches mid October. We’re doing this to basically get our company out to the world. We’ve seen some success in the past year of business and we want to take it to the next level. Yeah, this was the next step really.
Daniel Pinne: Alright, let’s chat a bit more about each of you and we’ll start with you Dan, what’s your background and where’s your passion for health and fitness come about?
Daniel Jones: We’ve been into, both of us have been into sport most of our lives and I’ve started in basketball and other sports and then moved into martial arts around the age of 15, so I’ve been doing that now for going on 18 years now. I’ve always been sort of active, whether it be sport or martial arts and as of late, the gym and Cross-Fit, so I’m non-stop. I love that physical aspect of my life and travel is a big part of that also. Whenever I travel I try and get out and do something adventurous, so yeah, anything active is a really big part of my life. That’s sort of transformed into, I guess, the business side of things as well and combining a love of fashion and my love for fitness and it sort of come to one.
Daniel Pinne: Great, so you’re immersed in your industry. What about you Darren? Where did your background lead you to eventually become an owner of WPN.?
Darren Nankivell: Yeah, my mom sort of tells a story of how I started running before I could walk, much to her horror, and I sort of started early on there and then they dropped me in a pool. I was swimming from a very early age. It also lead me to a long line of water polo competitions and I sort of competed internationally in that. As I sort of got a bit older, the water polo was taking a bit too much of my life and I moved into other fields of running and riding and as of recently, I’ve taken up obstacle racing and sort of like the Spartans and the Tough Mudders and that’s sort of become my passion of late.
Getting a bit more all around exercise but also getting out and getting muddy. It sort of takes me around to a few other places around the country and allows me to do some really good class training with people. It’s quite tough. It sort of led me into, with Dan we sort of got together and once we started this business plan, it sort of allowed me to sort of turn over towards the outdoor activities for us. I’ve have a good input from the obstacle racing and my own personal experiences.
Daniel Pinne: Very nice. You’ve obviously both led a very active lifestyle. Let’s go right back to the start of and talk about WPN. and fashionable men’s wear. Where was your idea conceived? I mean, where was the first discussion you both had to say, hey I think we should start something like this?
Daniel Jones: Basically I had just come off of a six month trip in the States, I think, and once I had gotten back, needless to say, I needed to get back into some training, some serious training, which I did. I took in to, basically started at Cross-Fit as well as the gym and got back to Kung Fu. I realised that there was nothing out there that really took my fancy when it came to active wear and at that point we were designing and manufacturing other street wear as well, so I decided, hey, let’s just design my own range of gear just for me to basically train in. I showed it to Darren one time he was over in Perth and he was pretty interested. It sort of went from there, in a nutshell.
Daniel Pinne: When people, obviously go into a business idea and they canvas their family and friends, what was their reaction when you told them, “hey we’re thinking about embarking on this new venture” Have you had any doubters along the way?
Daniel Jones: From the get go we’ve had such an amazing response. First off, everyone was really keen on the designs and how the finished products of the samples that we got in and they, everyone could see a vision in it and the future in it and knew that there was a market there for it. We had a really good response. The only doubters were basically those who brought up the obvious, you know, the obvious things of like, it’s an incredibly competitive market and there’s big brands out there that try to control the market, I guess, but nothing seriously doubting our abilities that’s for sure.
Daniel Pinne: Nice. Darren, from there, you decide to take the leap and you pour your capital into your business and you get the first sample. What was your first reaction when you saw the first prototype that arrived?
Darren Nankivell: Yeah, when Dan first showed me, I was really blown away. It sort of, it was really legit, I was like, we have something here. The product, it just looked professional and looked well made and well designed and I’d been training in board shorts because I couldn’t find anything that was, in the gym gear as Dan was saying, and I just went straight into training with it and I was over the moon with how it felt and how I could train in it and it was just everything we wanted.
Daniel Pinne: Yeah, nice. Dan, I was actually reading about a funny story on the WPN. blog about one of the first samples that arrived. Tell us a little bit more about that.
Daniel Jones: Well, I guess sometimes dealing with overseas manufacturers, there is a bit of a language barrier sometimes and sometimes things get misread and basically we were running very short for a photo shoot and we were waiting on a sample for one of the products to come in and it came in last minute and somehow they managed to get some of the measurements wrong and the measurements were basically the front and back rise of the compression pants and the rise basically means from the waist, the top of the waistband to the bottom of the crotch area, so that was pretty much almost triple the size of what it should have been.
Basically we had to shoot with that, we had no other choice and luckily obviously, the models had our WPN t-shirts to put over the top, but needless to say the pants were up around their armpits once they pulled it up.
Daniel Pinne: So it was almost like a WPN. onesie.
Daniel Jones: It was a WPN. onesie and I’ve still got it in my wardrobe as a bit of a memento from the first ever photo shoot. Yeah, it was a bit of a laugh at the time.
Daniel Pinne: Very nice. From there, fast forward just over twelve months now and the company’s obviously come along in leaps and bounds. Tell us a bit more about how the company has advanced and how many people around the world have shown an interest in WPN. Wear?
Darren Nankivell: Yeah, so we’ve been having a great acceptance across the country with WPN. Wear and the expos we’ve been going to, so we’ve been meeting a lot of people in the street, just the expos and Cross Fit competitions and the likes. People are definitely seeing that there is a market hole there and we’re in that market and they’re pretty excited about it. We’ve got third party websites now have picked it up, picked up a couple of our orders overseas, which we’re super excited about and we’ve been engaged by several gyms across the country to design their exclusive clothing.
We’re building that sort of product as well. Also if you head out to a few gyms there locally in Perth, you’ll see our branded clothing there. It’s starting to build quite a bit and we’re starting to get organic orders from United States, which is super exciting for us. That’s where we’re heading.
Daniel Pinne: Very nice. Dan, tell us about one of the moments along the journey that is probably one of your proudest moments and something that stood out and said, gee, I think we’re onto something here.
Daniel Jones: There’s a few. As Darren just mentioned, we’re starting to get some organic orders overseas, especially the United States, and I guess the first order that we ever received from America, direct through our website, was pretty exciting. The fact that they have to pay quite a bit for shipping and it’s a long way away and for them to make the effort to go directly through us, not a third party website that we sell on in America, was a big deal for us and I think we knew we had something when we saw that order and it was pretty exciting. Also seeing other people wearing your gear that you don’t even know on the street.
When we were over in Melbourne we saw that a couple of times and it’s pretty exciting. You even hear your friends saying, hey, I saw a guy in our gym the other day wearing your hustle tshirt or the shorts, someone was wearing at the gym the other day. It’s just really good to hear that people are wearing your gear and you have no idea who these people are and it’s pretty exciting.
Daniel Pinne: That’s awesome. That’s pretty special. Tell us a little bit now about the Kickstarter campaign. It’s a new journey and why have you chose to go down the crowd funding route and put your faith into the general public?
Daniel Jones: I think with our brand we’d like to promote that sense of community. We don’t like to be a faceless brand that’s, I guess, all about the money and just promotion of our product. We really like to get people involved and so crowd funding was really just a way to get that exposure, get people involved and of course, take our business to the next level. We knew we had a product that was really well made and really popular so we just needed to take it to the next level and raise a bit of capital and Kickstarter seemed like the obvious answer.
Daniel Pinne: Very nice. Darren, what is the aim for the Kickstarter campaign? Obviously the funding goal is the main part but what will it help WPN. do in the future?
Darren Nankivell: The funding is a big thing, but giving us the exposure and the feedback, and as Dan alluded, to the community is really important to us. It’s going to sort of allow us to branch out into the greater areas across Australia. I hope that we get a lot of feedback and make a lot of new contacts and really engage with people, and that Kickstarter is going hopefully lead us into allowing us to push forward more into stores in Australia and then eventually lead into a flagship store, hopefully in one of the cities in Australia.
Daniel Pinne: Very nice. No doubt all the people that have been listening will now want to get involved, so Dan, tell us where they can subscribe to get some exclusive information and will be the first to hear about when the campaign launches.
Daniel Jones: Yeah, no worries. At the moment, obviously the campaign isn’t live so we have a subscribe page on our website and that’s at wpnwear.com/kickstarter. Basically you can subscribe for free and that gives you all the goodies or the exclusive stuff that no one else sees or you’ll be able to see it first. All the behind the scenes stuff and you get first dibs at the early bird specials when the Kickstarter launches. Yeah, so all that good stuff really.
Daniel Pinne: Lastly, of course people want to find out more about WPN. and where they can check out some of your gear, so where can they go to find out some more?
Daniel Jones: Just head to wpnwear.com and yeah, you can check it out there.
Daniel Pinne: You’ve got a pretty good presence across social media as well?
Daniel Jones: Yep, we’re all across that social media scene. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, you can check them all out.
Daniel Pinne: Of course if you head to those social media channels, especially on Instagram, you’ll see the hash tag, #LiveIt across some of WPN.’s photos there and that’s a mantra that you guys live by and we’ve obviously heard that you’re both heavily into your exercise and health and fitness, so leave us with one little motto that you guys use in your fitness and daily lifestyle, to maybe help some of our listeners out there just pump out a couple more reps at the gym later today. What about you Dan?
Daniel Jones: One we’ve used on our tanks and tshirts in our last collection we’ve got is, ‘what the F is rest day?’ I strongly believe in that, as long as you don’t over do things. Do it in moderation but don’t make excuses, just get back in there and keep at it.
Daniel Pinne: Nice, what about you Darren?
Darren Nankivell: Yeah, sort of leading on from that, but it’s always that ‘the first step’s always the hardest’. You’re sort of like when you’re on holiday or something like that and you know, what is rest day, get out there, go for a tramp, go for a hike, go for a swim.
Daniel Pinne: Very good.
Darren Nankivell: It’s always the first one’s the hardest.
Daniel Pinne: I like it. Well fellas, thanks so much again for joining us. Folks, don’t forget once again, head to WPN.wear.com/kickstarter and subscribe. Fellas, thanks once again and all the best for the campaign.
Darren Nankivell: Thanks mate.
Daniel Jones: Cheers mate.