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 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 raving. However, she brought her smarts and competitive spirit to FRW, challenging herself to do more difficult creations until she could make pretty much anything.
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 and satisfying customers.
Eventually, they expanded to a big truck and travel trailer. FRW was growing fast and word spread about the mission, quality, and designs.
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 we had shows booked all over. The only problem was Alyssa couldn't sew everything forever, and we 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 at the front of the house table, a truly magical experience!
Shortly after, Alyssa & Mike decided it was time to get a warehouse and move the business out of their parent's one-bedroom apartment above the garage. The warehouse meant more space, and the FRW team began to grow.
Finally, Office Space
Building a Team
With new office space and a growing online presence, FRW needed to find sewists to help Alyssa with the workload.
As the manufacturing team grew, capacity grew, and all focus shifted from the festival tour to digital. By the end of 2018, FRW doubled in size.
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 cut costs at the expense of quality and oversight. It was never about money, so they decided to build a micro-factory that could deliver for their customers, and allow the supervision needed to maintain high-quality products. Plus, they found out they could make clothes way faster, which set the bar for 2019 very high.
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. However, FRW apparel is still all 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.
FRW was never interested in going overseas for apparel production. Instead, FRW 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 4300 sq — foot facility. They brought in 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. Stay tuned for more in 2020!
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