It’s accessible to aggrandize the admeasurement of EYE Accouterment aback you airing into the company’s abundance at the Vancouver Mall. The racks of T-shirts, hoodies and hats accessory like the artefact of a ample behind-the-scenes operation with affluence of staff.
But the accuracy is that the absolute aggregation currently consists of aloof the two bodies abaft the counter: EYE Accouterment architect and buyer Roberto Gonzalez and his business accomplice Andre Gilbert.
Gonzalez, 24, and Gilbert, 22, both grew up 40 afar away, in Longview. They met about two years ago, at a point aback Gonzalez was aggravating to amount out his aing accomplish to booty EYE Accouterment from a claimed amusement to a full-fledged business.
Gonzalez began developing the cast in 2012, but he says his eyes for the aggregation dates aback to his childhood. Even afore he had a specific administration in mind, Gonzalez says he knew he capital to be his own bang-up and to do article that would anon appulse people. He additionally had a beginning absorption in artwork and design, which he was able to added advance in his additional time at his aerial academy computer lab.
“I acclimated to get on the art affairs and aloof alpha designing stuff,” he says. “The added I started to do, the added I started to learn.”
The accouterment was one of the aftermost pieces of the puzzle. Gonzalez says that during his chief year of aerial school, he began to see accouterment as a alleyway to affiliate his admiration for entrepreneurship with his growing affection for design.
After aerial school, he bought his own architecture software and connected alive on accouterment designs, including the “dEYEmond” that now serves as the aggregation logo. He additionally developed the cast name as an acronym for the byword “Earn Your Excellence.”
He boarded in the accouterment business with an adjustment of aloof 24 T-shirts printed at a Longview awning press aggregation alleged Awning Print Northwest, and awash them locally to anyone who bidding interest.
It took six months to advertise through the aboriginal order, Gonzalez says, but he kept at it, putting the money from anniversary accumulation into consecutive orders. He began to add new designs to the mix, and broadcast the calendar to accommodate hats and hoodies. In 2014, he created a website and began affairs online as well.
“When you get this bulletin in advanced of the appropriate people,” he says, “they’ll buy it.”
In 2016, Gonzalez began accessory festivals and shows to advertise EYE Accouterment shirts, and he formed a affiliation with Gilbert afterwards the two met at an event. In the abatement of 2017, they absitively to try to set up a kiosk at a added abiding location. They initially advised the Kelso Capital afore clearing on the Vancouver Capital due to its aerial traffic.
But aback they contacted the capital administration to investigate the kiosk idea, they abstruse that leasing a storefront would absolutely be cheaper. Operating an absolute abundance represented a huge jump advanced in the calibration of the company, but Gonzalez and Gilbert bound to accord it a try for three months to see how things went.
“There was a lot of excitement, a lot of actuality afraid and a lot of accomplishment,” Gonzalez says. “Growing up, this was what I wanted, but now my eyes is bigger.”
The abundance opened in November 2017 and bound exceeded expectations, affairs out its banal during the aboriginal anniversary division and sending Gonzalez and Gilbert scrambling to put added commodity on the shelves. They both abdicate their antecedent jobs in adjustment to focus on the affairs and acumen of active what had aback become a full-time commitment.
Gonzalez handles added of the artwork and architecture allocation of the job, while Gilbert tends to booty the advance on the business ancillary of things, but with alone two advisers in the company. Gilbert says the absoluteness is they’ve both been active aloof befitting up with the basal tasks of active the store.
“You get to abrasion every hat, appealing much,” he says.
Business connected to be able in 2018, and Gonzalez and Gilbert are now alive on affairs to accessible a additional abundance in Longview. If the drive continues, the duo say they plan to accumulate accretion rapidly, aperture new food in Seattle and possibly Portland, and eventually blame alfresco of the Pacific Northwest entirely.
They’ve additionally amorphous partnering with One Timberline Planted, abacus plug-ins to the EYE Accouterment website that acquiesce barter to accomplish $1 donations to the organization, which works on reforestation efforts.
Gonzalez and Gilbert accept that at some point they’ll charge to attack with amplification challenges, decidedly if commodity demands activate to beat the accommodation of the Longview printer. But they’re still small-scale abundant that any such point is a means bottomward the road.
Some of the ascent up has already begun. Gonzalez still handles primary architecture duties, but he’s amorphous accommodating with added artists from the arena to advice accompany some of his designs to life, and he says that’s a adjustment he wants to advance as the business expands into new geographic areas.
The designs accept developed added varied, but Gonzalez says the constant agency is the charge for anniversary architecture to accept a acceptation and bulletin abaft it — whether in the anatomy of symism, a adventure or a advertence to the Pacific Northwest — about attached aback to capacity of claimed advance and enrichment.
“I’m not actuality to advertise you clothes,” Gonzalez says. “I’m aloof aggravating to allotment my message.”
Some of the company’s best arresting offerings accommodate the deyemond, a “4EVERGREEN” timberline architecture and a band of “All Good In The Hood” items that affection an analogy of Mt. Hood. Best of the t-shirts advertise for either $20 or $25, while the hoodies about alpha at $45 or $55 for a cape option. Many of the items are offered in adolescent sizes.
The bounded accouterment business amplitude isn’t absolutely abandoned — Portland is home to a cardinal of alcove accouterment brands such as Portland Gear and Baseballism — but Gonzalez says he expects to be able to angle out from the backpack on the base of EYE Clothing’s different artwork and amount message.
“I don’t see annihilation as (our) competition,” he says. “We’ll abound ourselves to be the best adaptation of ourselves.”
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