If you were in New York or Tokyo in late 2014 and happened to find yourself in an Alexander Wang flagship store, you would have noticed an installation by the fashion house featuring marble-print surfboards, with a Haydenshapes logo on the top and underside.
Not your typical collaboration – the global surf scene doesn’t habitually penetrate the world of high fashion, but that’s the genius of the owners of surfboard brand Haydenshapes, Hayden and Danielle Cox.
“The surfboard is such a core product within the surfing category,” says Hayden, 34. “There is a lot of design and art in what we create and we thought it would be interesting to develop a project with an outside brand that reached beyond our typical surfer customer. Alexander Wang was a brand we really admired and, similar to Haydenshapes, they are known for their signature black- and-white tones. We had been playing around with a few marble print ideas and had this crazy idea to pitch it to them. So we got in touch.”
After leaving high school and shunning the idea of university, Hayden borrowed AU$20,000 from a good friend and, learning the basics of business as he went, opened his first Haydenshapes factory aged just 22. Within six months, the company was turning a profit.
“Within two years I was doing pretty good – I was only 24, but was running a legitimate operation,” he says.
Here, the founder gives us his five tips for building a business from the ground up.
Videography: Noah Hunter-Dorsey
Interview: Jade Dunwoody
Come to Kick Start Smart 2017 to hear Hayden Cox spill his business takeaways. Click the banner below for tickets.