Phind out Phriday: Armstrong & Wilson, Square is the New Black
Not only is Philadelphia the city of brotherly love, it is the city where brothers like to and know how to get dressed. Two such fashionable brothers are Ontario Armstrong and Clifton Wilson, the owner’s of Armstrong &Wilson, perfecters of a distinct men’s accessory, the pocket square.
Phreedum: How did you two become a team?
A&W: We met in 2000 at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. We always wanted to develop our own product and brand; we just weren’t initially sure where to start. We both did a good amount of freelance design work for others. We did everything from shirts, to pants, to suits. Financially we were not ready to launch a line of suits so we just kept with the freelance work. Finally we thought we would give men’s accessories a try and that’s when we decided on the pocket square. So we took the concept of the pocket square, added a few things, and it really took off.
Phreedum: Who is Armstrong &Wilson in 5 words?
A&W: Driven, passionate, quality, integrity, and creative.
Phreedum: What is most fulfilling about the work you do?
A&W: There are a couple of things that are rewarding about the work we do. For starters, creating a brand that people love. Customers send emails or mention us on their blogs speaking highly of our craft. People gravitate and love our vision. People spend their hard earned money on our product.
Phreedum: Who has been the most influential in allowing you to phreely pursue Armstrong&Wilson?
A&W: Definitely the support of family and friends. There have been days we didn’t think it would work out, but our friends and family consistently told us to stay true to our vision. That got us over many humps.
Phreedum: What has been your proudest moment so far?
A&W: Seeing growth. We’re not Gucci yet. But we see growth. We have celebrities that wear our product. We have worked on building this type of brand for 11 years and to just see our vision come to light really does give us a great sense of pride.
Phreedum: How does your work change the lives of others?
A&W: Our product pushes the envelope of men’s fashion. It gives men an opportunity to add a unique but classic aesthetic to the gentlemen’s look. It gives men an opportunity to bring some personality to their look.
Phreedum: How do you guys stay motivated?
A&W: There is no plan B. When you see no safety net you have no choice but to make it work.
Phreedum: And after all the work how do you guys unwind?
A&W: A night out with the fellas. We’re not big on clubs but we do love our cheesesteaks. Big fan of Larry’s.
Phreedum: How would you guys describe each other in one word?
Armstrong on Wilson: Creative
Wilson on Armstrong: Determined.
Phreedum: Such a great combination for the work you do. Where do you hope to see your company in 5 years?
A&W: We want to be able to add more accessories to our line. Right now we are doing well with the pocket squares. But we do want to add neckties, suspenders, and just really make our mark on the men’s accessory market.
Phreedum: If you were to liken Armstrong &Wilson to a sport, what sport would it be?
Armstrong: Basketball. It’s up and down, fast pace, and you don’t always know what will happen.
Wilson: Same. Basketball is unpredictable and it keeps you on your toes.
Phreedum: Okay, last question. What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A&W: Stay true to the vision. Keep the integrity of the brand. You don’t need to do what is right for someone else; it needs to be right for you.
For more information about Armstrong & Wilson please visit http://www.armstrongandwilson.com/