Conversation with Yari Copt

The conversation was realized as part of Dr. Nadzeya Kalbaska‘s course Conversations with Industry Experts offered by USI – Università della Svizzera italiana and Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne’s Master Program in Digital Fashion Communication.

The article was written by Andrea Juric, Francesca Cotta, Beatrice Aquilini, Larissa Knappe and Asmen Koç- Master’s students in Digital Fashion Communication and edited by Alice Noris – PhD student and Teaching Assistant

“Entrepreneur, musician, radio DJ and skateboarder”, this is how Yari Copt, founder of Old Captain Co, describes himself. Old Captain Co. is a fashion brand founded in 2016 in Lugano, which produces premium Swiss-made creative shirts; the firm’s symbol is an upside-down anchor, which represents freedom and motivates people to be courageous, to follow their instincts, to explore and to enjoy little things with the aim of, as Yari confirms, making the world a better place.

Old Captain Co.’s strategy aims to create a product with whom the company can build a bond with customers, the goal relies on making clients satisfied with the product they have bought while creating an organic community. From one hand, Yari Copt wants to inspire people and make them understand the power of traveling around the world through his fashion line, pushing them to explore new places; on the other hand, he aims at making people conscious of the beauty of his hometown Lugano and the country of Switzerland. Furthermore, one of the Old Captain Co main ideas is to contribute to the creation of a fashion brand able to be integrated within different society’s fields such as art, music, nature, and sport. Collaborations with local musicians or other local stakeholders are in fact, an integrant part of Old Captain’s Social Media profiles .

Old Captain Co. The brand’s target-group is between 25-55 years old, however, since the products are quite expensive, due to the choice of being Swiss-made, it can be assumed that, in general, potential customers could be considered as a group of people who pays attention to their style, the way they dress, what they want to communicate and that can afford the prices of the shirts. As Yari stated, despite his background in music and skating, the products he offers are not necessarily skaters or musicians focused. The business of the brand is mostly dedicated to the production of shirts and Yari is not currently looking to add other segments to the brand, since he believes that focusing on one type of product is the best strategy to maintain its exclusivity and uniqueness. Old Captain Co.’s retailers are mostly located in Switzerland and Europe, besides one in the USA. As Yari explained, his choice has been due to the high costs of exportation, but, in the future he admits, he would love to expand his business worldwide. 

Sustainability – Together with the idea of being #MadeInSwitzerland, one of the main issue, which has been addressed during the conversation with Yari Copt is sustainability. As he explained, the company try to minimize the wastes, by keeping the production under control and staying local, in order to be the more Km 0 as possible. Additionally, the company is trying its best to respect the environment, for example, by running the production using filtered water from the lake.

Additional Educational Sources Suggested on the Topic – The conversation with Yari Copt has been the ground for further inspiring reflections concerning the choices that need to be made as businessman/ businesswoman, not only because it helped us to understand the importance of continuously looking for new opportunities to grow a company with passion, but it also gave us further insights and incentives to reflect of the importance of sustainability. Here some further educational insights on the topics we discussed:

  • Fashion Digital Marketing: How to Use Digital Tools to Get More Sales – Fields such as Fashion profit from a vast variety of different product offers that attract customers. This aspect contribute to create a highly competitive environment, where differentiation from the competitors is often the key for the success. This article presents twelve different ways to market a brand and shows the path to pursue to increase engagement with the target audience in order to increase sales. 
  • Understanding the New Millennial Customer Path in the Era of Omni-Channel Marketing in Indonesia (Chandra Hendriyani & Arianis Chan, 2018) – Despite the fact that the main focus of the article is the Indonesian market, the authors sum up the main relevant stages of a customer journey for millennials. In this context, the authors propose an overview of different customer types and their online behavior. As stated by the authors the understanding and the implementation of omnichannel strategies, which acts in a globally connected environment, are crucial for the successful development of an economically stable company. 
  • 20 LinkedIn Statistics That Matter to Marketers in 2020 – LinkedIn is one of the major sources in order to develop promising business connections and to build a consistent professional appearance. Statistics, as well, contribute to demonstrate the importance of this platform and show the main different users’ behaviors. These present source present valid tools and strategies that can be utilized to monitor business social media channels.  The use of these platforms for small companies such as Old Captain Co could help them to further improve their brand perception and to build a stable online business community.
  • Your strategy needs a strategy – Martin Reeves TedTalk explains the importance of evolving a business strategy keeping into account all the different angles of the planning itself. This source could help on further reflections on Old Captain Co’s business since, it stresses the fact that in order to improve a brand and to have the best outcome, it is important to take into account a customized, up to date and flexible strategy.
  • Paradigm Shift in Fashion – Customer’s needs are always a central aspect of building an efficient and successful fashion brand. By showing how different aspect evolves in the fashion industry and how each of them impacts on the market through purchase decisions, this TED Talk by Hasmik Metevosyan, an industry expert on sustainability and clothes psychology, suggests how to start a dialogue between customers and retailers. It explains how the generation of brand conditions that respond to customer’s needs and environmental conditions can shape the future in the industry.

Published on April 2, 2020