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Up Close: In Conversation with Cala CEO Andrew Wyatt

Up Close is Sourcing Journal’s regular check-in with industry executives to get their take on topics ranging from personal style to their company’s latest moves. In this Q&A, Andrew Wyatt, CEO of digital fashion design platform Cala, shares why supply chains require redundancy and how his company is enabling mobile collaboration for product creation.

Andrew Wyatt Cala
Andrew Wyatt, CEO of Cala Courtesy

Name: Andrew Wyatt

Title: CEO

Company: Cala

Tell us about your company’s latest product introduction:

We’re incredibly excited about this month’s launch of the Cala mobile app. This is the industry’s first mobile application that allows users to collaborate with their global supply chain on the product creation process from start to finish on a mobile device. Fashion brands of all sizes can complete the entire product creation process—from product ideation all the way through manufacturing, e-commerce enablement and order fulfillment—on a mobile device.

Additionally, we also announced 3D prototyping capabilities to its design process. Now, Cala users can request three-dimensional images of their designs, providing a photorealistic view of the fit and materials.

Which other industry has the best handle on the supply chain? What can apparel learn?

This is tough question, because from a supply chain perspective almost every single industry was smoked, but I’m most inclined to say that the farm-to-table food industry is one of the best examples of an industry that has learned to navigate such a tumultuous time in the supply chain. Over the past two years, nobody has looked smarter than the localized production heads.

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How would you describe yourself as a consumer?

I’m a minimalist crypto bro. I don’t buy much, but what I do is on my Coinbase card.

As a consumer, what does it take to win your loyalty?

Simply put, a great product and a great purchasing experience—a company must have both.

What’s your typical work (or weekend) uniform?

A Cala T-shirt, Lululemon ABC pants, and a pair of [Prada] Cloudbursts.

Which fashion era is your favorite?

Right now—it’s more accessible and diverse than ever. We have 13-year-olds rocking Balenciaga in the metaverse. I mean, come on.

Who’s your style icon?

Kanye West. Whether you love him or hate him, the man has forever made an impact on music, fashion, art and our entire culture.

What’s the best decision your company has made in the last year?

Doubling down on mobile and 3D design. This is the future of fashion.

How would you describe your corporate culture?

We’ve built a culture of taking 100 percent responsibility. It’s really hard to be successful in a startup if you micromanage, so what works for us is setting clear objectives that guide what we do and values that guide how we do it. Then, we just trust that our incredible team is going to take 100 percent responsibility and get it done.

What can companies learn from Covid-19?

The need for building a redundant supply chain has never been more apparent or important than now. Amid the pandemic, so many companies were forced to shut down their factory production due to Covid regulations and outbreaks. Those with one or just a handful of manufacturing facilities fell behind and had trouble recovering. However, building a network of manufacturers spread out across different regions allows the ability to be more nimble. By design, Cala’s partner network consists of a global supply chain including over 60 factories in 13 countries, with 16 fulfillment centers in four regions. This redundant supply chain network allowed us to weather the pandemic storm relatively unscathed.

What should be the apparel industry’s top priority now?

Sustainability should be a major focus for the industry. In a similar vein as the answer above, our robust network of manufacturers allows our customers to be connected to the manufacturer that best suits their product and quantity needs for seamless production. In other words, our customers can order the exact quantity they need instead of placing orders for the sake of meeting a minimum requirement or gaining a large-batch discount. There’s no reason why the industry at large can’t operate this way. By making small-batch ordering the norm, we’ll be able to eliminate so much product waste.

What keeps you up at night?

Nothing at the moment. My 3-month-old just daughter started sleeping through the night a few weeks ago, so I’m sleeping great right now.

What makes you most optimistic?

The idea that we’ll solve aging, climate change and make humans a multi-planetary species within our lifetime.