After forging a career in the media and technology industries, Nic Haralambous entered the fashion realm in 2012 with the launch of his website, NicHarry.com. The website was born out of frustration with the lack of apparel options available to men and the criticism he received for his offbeat look, including his haircut and beard style. He questions why men cannot clothe themselves in a manner that goes against the norm, and why they should feel obligated to follow the same dress code as their co-workers, day after day. These unanswered questions resulted in ‘the right to choose’ being a key concept for his brand.
Nic Harry believes that environmental well-being need not be compromised for the sake looking good, and instead upholds the idea of green living and fashion being harmonised. Given this, the quirky socks that are at the heart of the brand, are made out of domestically sourced, eco-friendly bamboo fibre. Dubbed the ‘miracle plant’, bamboo fibre is an anti-bacterial fibre that flourishes at turbo speed. It’s deemed by international horticulturists to be one of the most sustainable and renewable resources that Mother Earth has to offer.
Bamboo fibre is becoming increasingly popular in eco-fashion, due to the cutting-edge manufacturing procedures that convert the bamboo, which has the power of steel, into a super soft, luxurious material. Apart from being comfortable, the material ensures that your feet stay dry and eliminates any unpleasant odours. Another advantage is its high capacity for colour retention, which leads to more vivid socks with more durable colour. Socks are, however, not the only offering. Nic Harry has expanded to create accessories including pocket squares, scarves, cuff links, shoelaces, ties and umbrellas.
Reaching this point in the brand’s development was nevertheless, no easy feat. Nic started his business with a budget of just R5 000, although was sure that if he worked with it cleverly, he would achieve desirable outcomes. Once introducing his socks to the market in conjunction with another website, NicHarry.com sold a few hundred pairs in ten days. This fruitful take off signalled a gap in the market for garb that provided men with an alternative to the standard items currently found in stores.
Nic stresses that the South African e-commerce environment is a harsh one for start-ups to navigate, and that it is critical to have both an online and offline presence. This is since, in his opinion, the leading businesses are those that blend a pleasurable shopping experience both on the web and in store. Nic Harry is a multichannel brand, with a selection of brick-and-mortar stores across South Africa. The first one opened its doors in August 2015, followed by more openings in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria. To add to that, two more stores opened in February and March 2017.
Nic’s aspiration is to advance his brand beyond catering to a local customer base so that it appeals to an international group of style enthusiasts too. The merchandise he hopes will continue to be made on home turf, although the strategy will be tailored to accommodate a larger, more diverse market.
Get socks and accessories at nicharry.com
Cost R90 – R2439 *
*Prices subject to change.