School is “Supplied”

Senior starts clothing brand to emphasize high-quality products

Brett Richter, Staff Reporter

Senior Owen Coutts started his clothing line ‘Supplied’ in 2018 and emphasizes quality over quantity. (Skye McDonald)

Senior Owen Coutts started his clothing line ‘Supplied’ in 2018 and emphasizes quality over quantity. (Skye McDonald)

An online website, 4,412 followers on Instagram and products ranging from beanies to sweats. The best part — it was all started by a student.

Senior Owen Coutts created the clothing brand “Supplied” in the spring of 2018. By that fall, after six months of hard work, the brand was ready to sell online.

“I had the idea with one of my friends about two years ago. We originally wanted to open a store to resell clothing, then it turned into, ‘let’s do our own stuff.’ I ended up running with it and coming out with a full product line,” Coutts said.

It wasn’t easy. Going into it, the only thing Coutts had was an idea. He still had to find a way to design, create, fund and establish the product.

“I taught myself all of the design work, which was the steepest [learning] curve from having really no experience in graphic design to having to create the images and set them up in a way that they could eventually end up on a T-shirt and hopefully be something people would want to buy,” Coutts said.

After some hard work during summer vacation, the first “Supplied” Tees were released. A big achievement, even now after expanding into all sorts of clothes.

The pieces are made in photoshop and illustrator. Though Coutts used to digitize his own embroidery, now he outsources it.

Coutts puts a lot of thought into his work, which he describes as minimalistic. The graphics on the pieces are fun, but not flashy. The clothes resemble streetwear or a skater-esque style with small, simple designs.

All of the products are made in the United States and Coutts tries to work with local Seattle companies. Coutts wants his brand to be known for more than the style, he wants the quality to speak for itself.

“You are ‘Supplied” with our products — it’s literal in the sense that when you are wearing our clothing you are “Supplied.” We try to imply quality and we want our brand name to speak to quality,” Coutts said.

The decision to make the clothes so durable follows the company’s mission, to provide high-quality clothing at a comparatively lower price, which helps the brand be more sustainable. Instead of wearing the pieces once, they can be worn again and again.

In addition to starting a brand, keeping up with schoolwork and training for track, Coutts also helps local businesses with client work.

“I think a lot of people have heard of the clothing brand, but that’s mostly my passion project. What I do for a job is merchandising for a local business here,” Coutts said. “We pretty much use the same philosophy, that’s all based on the quality of the product, and we provide those services to local businesses, so we do an all encompassed package with design, sourcing, and production.”

Graphic design is only a part of running “Supplied,” however. There’s also the business side of the company.

Coutts had to gain a following to sell his products. He started by “gauging initial interest,” and when he knew people were interested he started to run advertisements on Instagram to bring more attention to the brand. “Supplied” also offers a brand ambassador program for anyone who can make high-quality media for the brand.

As for expanding, Coutts isn’t quite sure what the future will hold. “I would like to do retail, but it gets tricky with retail margins and I would have to raise my pricing considerably in order to be able to see wholesale. I don’t know. Maybe in the future.”