Kid Fashion – Our Interview with the Founders of Andy & Evan

Andy & Evan Logo

Andy & Evan co-founders Andy Perl (L) & Evan Hakalir (R) and team

Andy & Evan co-founders Andy Perl (L) & Evan Hakalir (R) and team

Clothing for young boys can at times be generic and underwhelming or ripe with sports cliches and monster trucks. As your little guy grows, finding fashionable clothing for them can be difficult. After all, you want your mini-me to be looking as sharp as you right? That’s where the fashion duo of Andy & Evan come in. The Andy & Evan clothing line “for little gentlemen” is making a splash with their dapper and distinctive looks designed specifically for boys to put their best fashion foot forward. Found at high end retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus and at online destinations like Diapers.com and Amazon, Andy & Evan is looking to bring additional clothing options and styles to boys that their dads already enjoy. Though girls don’t have to wait much longer, read on for great details of the future of Andy & Evan.

Here is our interview with the founders of Andy & Evan.

Andy Perl, Partner & Co-Founder – Father of two sons, 4 and 2
Evan Hakalir, Partner & Co-Founder – Uncle of 7 nephews, ages 3 months to 9 years old

What was the inspiration behind creating Andy & Evan?
Evan: We started in the men’s custom shirt business, and transitioned to kids upon noticing a void in the marketplace for well-made, fashion-forward, and practical clothing for kids.

Why have you chosen to focus on boys clothes?
Andy: It all started when I had a son, I was in the market shopping for my little guy, and the boys market was simply underserved. We stated making my son, Ely, clothing and people loved our designs and our practical approach when we created the “Shirtzie” (which is a button down shirt with a bottom snap closure), and the rest is history.

What are your inspirations for clothing designs?

Photo credit: Andy & Evan

Photo credit: Andy & Evan

Evan: We like to combine what was great from the past, be it sport, business attire, formal dress and marry those ideas and styles with current trends and culture. We like to think of ourselves as having an old-world aesthetic with a modern edge.

Are there challenges designing clothes for babies and toddlers that are different than for adults?
Evan: For starters, there are many safety regulations that we have to be aware of pertaining to fabrics, buttons, snaps, drawstrings, etc; but we’re not just in the business of being ‘compliant’, we generally try to go above and beyond the status quo to make sure that our products are always as safe as they can be for our wearers. Additionally, comfort and wearability is a biggie for us, because most of our little wearers can’t express if they are uncomfortable in an outfit, or if they do find one of our products uncomfortable they will likely not want to wear it again, so we’re attuned to fit and comfort.

What tips can you offer dads to help them be more successful in dressing or picking out clothes for their kids?
Evan: Start with ‘comfort’ and ‘practical’ and your son will always be happy. Additionally, we’ve notice many-times-over that little guys LOVE to dress like their dads, including button down shirts, blazers, ties, hats, etc. It gives them a special pride and confidence. My personal philosophy is that you can never start dressing for success too early

As a dad working in the parenting online/retail space, what obstacles have you had to overcome in creating Andy & Evan?
Andy: It’s a busy busy world out there, and getting anyone’s attention can be a real challenge these days. Thankfully our great product speaks (very loudly) for itself, and that has allowed us to quell just a small bit of the noise and gain a loyal following and some brand awareness.

Photo credit: Andy & Evan

Photo credit: Andy & Evan

How do you balance growing a small business while still connecting daily with your children?
Andy: It’s definitely a tough balance, but one that I’m always focused on managing. I try to dedicate every morning to spending time with my boys and I use modern technology (i.e. Skype and Facetime) to connect with them in the early evening before bedtime and when I’m travelling (which is a lot!). But at the end of the day, they always come first, and I will always drop whatever I’m doing if they ever need anything or call.

What do you hope to achieve with the Andy & Evan brand?
Evan: We hope to continue to grow into a globally recognized brand known for our great product & design. We’re presently sold in about 30 countries, so we do have a long way to go. It also gives us a special sense of pride knowing that we’re dressing hundreds of thousands of kids each year, and that kids are growing-up ‘on’ our brand. We’re hoping to build a brand that lasts for generations to come, and that the kids we’re dressing today will dress their kids in Andy & Evan as well. That only happens when you can create fond memories for your wearers, like the way I remember wearing great brands like osh-kosh and Bennetton as a kid. The key to creating those fond memories is by creating a great product that’s fun, is great quality, and is easy to wear. Not much to ask for from a consumer perspective, and something we always strive for as a brand.

There’s more to come for Andy & Evan too. They’ve just announced to Dads Who Diaper they’ll be launching a girls line for Spring/Summer 2015! Stay tuned for more.

This interview is part of our ongoing series with leaders from companies involved in parenting products or issues. No goods or services were exchanged. Who would you like to hear from? Leave a suggestion in the comments below.

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