Vintage sweater is the inspiration behind Boston startup Alps & Meters
The Boston Business Journal, one of the most respected business publications in the city, showcased Alps & Meters in its startups and venture capital section this past week. The article in its entirety can be found below, or you can go here to see it on the BBJ website!
By Patricia Resende, Special to the Journal
What started out as a rare find and off-the-shelf purchase has developed into a e-commerce startup with a brand capturing the attention of former Coach executives and premium retailers like North River Outfitter.
Louis Joseph, the former global director of innovation and strategy at Puma, could no longer ignore the many conversations about his sweater, a timeless, one-of-a-kind sweater he purchased during a snow-filled ski trip in Sweden and has worn on multiple ski trips over the last decade.
"It's been a conversation starter ever since," Joseph said of the vintage sweater. "The interest became quite consistent to the point it became hard to ignore."
Joseph said love for the piece of knitwear and an appreciation for alpine sport was woven into the sweater he wore on every trip. As interest from friends grew, so did Joseph's thoughts about sharing his favorite ski sweater with the rest of the world.
And on Thursday evening he did just that with a kickoff event at North River Outfitter in Boston.
In the summer of 2011, Joseph officially started Alps & Meters, a classic alpine sport retailer with an office on Shawmut Avenue in Boston. The company launched with between $200,000 and $500,000 in funding from friends and family and soon tapped Halle Grace, the former director of merchandising at Coach to be the company's COO.
Together with their designers McGarry & Sons, Alps & Meters has spent the last three years marrying classic garments with contemporary technologies to create three pieces of apparel: a pom hat, a scarf and a luxury jacket. While the hat and scar are priced under $100, the jacket comes with a $1,095 price tag.
Its product creation is called forged performance. "It was a vision we had to combine classic construction techniques (lambs wool knitted the way old alpine clothes were knitted) and marrying that with durable water repellent leathers," Joseph said. "That in of itself is recognized as extremely durable and protective and becoming better with age."
While the online store has opened with three pieces, its team is working out some manufacturing kinks while busily designing its next collection which includes ski trousers and a pullover anorak.
Alps & Meters is also pumping up its brand in Faneuil Hall and Winterfell, a luxury sporting apparel retailer in Stowe, Vt. and will have an installation at Boston Magazine's Gift Guide Gala.
Joseph said although there is no physical Alps & Meters store yet, there are plans to open one in the future.