Welt-ing their way

WHEN these three friends met in school, they didn't think about starting a venture together. Proudly hailing from Kuala Lumpur, Hoh Shon Sern, Eric Arvyndra Anthony and Benjamin Ho Kar Ming knew how overpriced some local clothing wear can be. With that, they decided to start their own streetwear label with the motto "not ripping you off unlike everything else in KL."

How did you guys come up with the name Welt Supply?

Hoh: Basically, we wanted a name that sounds catchy. In a meeting, the word "Welt" came up, suggested by Eric who recently returned from Germany. "Welt" is actually a German word for world. Welt Supply does not only speak out about local cultural issues per se. We want to go beyond that, worldwide.

Eric: We felt "clothing" was such a generic term. We wanted a bigger brand image than just a clothing line.

Ho: "Supply" can also be in terms of the ideology that we are trying to spread.

When was Welt Supply formed and what was the inspiration behind it?

Hoh: The random idea came last year. Proper planning happened this Jan and we started producing the first batch of items in June. The inspiration was because other streetwear wasn't speaking a certain message and we want to have our take on it with an added value.

Eric: This is a personal thing for me because there was a new market in the streetwear culture and everyone was taking advantage by overpricing it. Kids were trying hard to afford it. So we said no, we'll do it in-house and that will keep the cost to a minimum. Our products are set at an affordable price with the best quality so the average Joe can afford it.

How does Welt Supply differ from other local clothing brands?

Eric: We were just three teens trying to start our own stuff and people can tell that we are trying to express ourselves from the heart.

Ho: Portraying what we want to tell people through items and clothing separates us from the rest. Coming up with a random design though looks cool but will only temporarily sell like hotcakes.

Where do you get your design inspirations?

Hoh: We get inspirations from artists like Barbara Kruger and give it a twist. The designs on our current tees hold a strong meaning to our heart and it's also inspired by current events happening around the world. That's the idea we try to push.

As a group of young students, how do you manage to find time for Welt Supply?

Ho: I guess its all down to time management and strategising Welt Supply's itinerary. As we don't outsource our work, we come up with timelines and weekly goals.

Hoh: Whenever we can't meet up, we communicate online and get things done anyway. Although we all have different roles, we do help each other out and give our individual input in all things related to Welt Supply. It's not a singular job and it's easier to carry out our tasks.

Eric: In my opinion, I devote time to this because it's a rare opportunity. As a 20-year-old, being given the chance to start something, is a gift in itself. If I don't take it and give it all my effort, it's going to be a wasted opportunity.

What advice would you give other students looking to start up their own business?

Ho: Find the right individual who can contribute and give progress to what you're trying to build.
Hoh: Get used to things not going your way. If plan A fails, work around it and find an alternative solution.

Eric: Don't do it alone. To be honest, three isn't enough. Learn and study your market (Marketing 101). It's also important to know how pricing works as to not overprice consumers or make a loss.

What can we expect from Welt Supply in the near future?

Ho: A wider range of items like hoodies, caps, and accessories will be introduced.

Eric: And since half the team is going abroad to further our studies, it will also help us spread the word about Welt Supply to be globally well-known and hopefully international production can take place soon after. We'll take things at a steady pace and work our way up because that was how it was since the beginning.