Nocturnal Wonderland 2014 - Alyssa and Mike see first hand how outrageous and exciting the festival scene can be. They fall in love with the EDM community and decide to start a custom festival apparel business so that they can afford to go to more shows.
Etsy and the custom...anything 👗
"We'll make you something, if you hate it, we'll give you your money back."
The first year of FRW was about never saying no. Alyssa would make pretty much anything people wanted. She made hoods, wings, corsets, and rave bras. Alyssa didn't know how to sew before starting FRW. She was a Chemistry major and D1 volleyball player before turning full raver. However, she brought her smarts and competitive spirit to FRW, challenging herself to do more difficult creations until she could make pretty much anything. This photo of Alyssa was taken at the FRW vendor booth at Imagine Music Festival in Georgia. Customers could choose fabrics from a wall and she would make them rave hoods on the spot.
The Great Festival Tour
Loving the festival community, Alyssa and Mike set out to expand the brand. In 2016, they switched to Shopify from Etsy and decided to go on tour. Touring the country doing festival pop-up shops is when things got a bit crazy — Alyssa and Mike set up vendor booths at 50+ festivals over two years. Close friends and relatives thought the rave couple had lost their minds.
Alyssa was still personally sewing everything, and the two worked nonstop, gradually getting better at running the business. Plus, they got to see all their favorite DJ's play.
The vendor booths kept getting bigger and more space was needed. This photo shows the truck and travel trailer they toured with.
Love and scale 💟
A Perfect Storm
By November of 2017, several circumstances forced FRW on a new path. FRW was starting to see real success in e-commerce. Inventory was flying off the shelves, and events were nonstop. The only problem was Alyssa couldn't sew everything forever, and FRW needed to find a way to scale production without selling out on what made FRW unique and high-quality.
On top of the business changes, personal things were in the works too. With the help of some great friends (shoutout to Brad and Karen), Mike asked Alyssa to marry him at EDC Orlando. The proposal was during an epic Seven Lions set. The feels were reals!
Shortly after, Alyssa & Mike decided it was time to get a warehouse and move the business out of their parent's one-bedroom apartment. The warehouse meant more space, and the FRW team began to grow. Although it was challenging, this period of FRW's growth was so much fun!
Finally, Office Space
Building a Team
With new office space and a growing online presence the manufacturing capacity grew, and all focus shifted from the festival tour to digital. By the end of 2018, FRW doubled in size for the 3rd year in a row.
As the business grew, it was essential to remain faithful to the spirit of the festival community. Alyssa and Mike both hated the idea of selling out and taking FRW manufacturing overseas to make it to the next level. It was never about money, so they decided to build a micro-factory in San Diego that they could manage themselves. This allowed the supervision needed to maintain high-quality products and speedy production.
However, recognizing that they couldn't manufacture everything that customers requested, Alyssa and Mike decided to start adding partner brands and new products sourced from around the world like chains and boots. However, all FRW apparel is still made in San Diego, CA.
What's The Limit?
New Looks Every Week
2019 was a big year for FRW. The team went all-in on digital and worked hard to scale manufacturing with weekly product drops while maintaining quality and service. It didn't make sense to grow and drop the ball. Slow and steady wins the race.
FRW was never interested in going overseas for apparel production. Instead, the brand focused on speed, style, and fit. Weekly product releases allowed the team to learn quickly from customers, and FRW began to respond in real-time to customer product feedback.
The Festival Fashion Box landed on the festival scene in 2019; it is FRW's personalized subscription box that is delivered quarterly. It's epic, and you should check it out.
The office space grew to a 4300 sq — foot facility. Alyssa and Mike bought a laser cutter and new state of the art semi-automated industrial sewing machines to take FRW designs, fit, and consistency to a whole new level.
2019 was a great year, and a special thanks go out to all the customers, friends, brands, and families that have helped FRW grow over the years.
Here are some of the team's favorite collections from 2019.
Ya, RIP festival season
This photo sums up what 2020 has been for FRW. We didn't skip a beat as festivals began to get cancelled. We designed our own masks and created a donation center. We are applying our passion for high-quality products to face masks now. Removing the pain around ears with adjustable straps, using 3D printers and just making the most of the difficult situation until festivals return. Nothing can fill the void left by the pain of COVID-19. But we all have to find the courage and strength to make it through this difficult time.