With all of California under a modified stay-at-home order due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ace Rivington founder and creative director Beau Lawrence finds himself operating on a modified routine, too.
Round-the-clock phone calls with suppliers for his private-label business and check-ins with wholesale partners for Ace Rivington are paused for lunch breaks with his children and most recently, protective face mask manufacturing and supporting local food banks.
“For any business today, it’s about doing the right thing for your people and for your community if you’re able to,” Lawrence said. “I’m not trying to figure out how to make money to thrive right now, I’m trying to figure out how to make money to survive.”
Lawrence recently sat down with Rivet to offer a look at how the independent brand is working to stay afloat and optimistic during the pandemic.
Though some of the most beloved elements of his job, like meeting with customers at the Ace Rivington store in Santa Barbara, are off limits, the crisis is forcing Lawrence to brainstorm out-of-the-box concepts for selling denim—be it give-back programs, concierge services or in-store sanitization—and to double down on his initial goal to create a line of high-quality everyday essentials.
“As a brand, one of the decisions I had to take from a financial practicality standpoint was to not produce seasonal collections, but to focus on fashion basics that don’t go out of style,” he said. “Things that will look cool in your closet for 10 years,” Lawrence added, have always been the part of fashion design he’s been drawn to the most.
Known best for its jeans made exclusively with Candiani fabrics and super-soft T-shirts, Lawrence’s strategy for Ace Rivington is to keep core items in stock at all times—a move that he hopes will help wholesale partners fill in inventory gaps and stave off discounts. “All of those folks with their cool shops are in the same challenging position,” he said.
Lawrence’s approach to season-less design, however, is on track to resonate with consumers that may favor timeless design even more in a post-pandemic world.
Customers, he added, just want consistency from their purchases. “If you can serve them with the right products, continuously, they’re happy,” he said.