Interview: We Spoke With Tim Leftwich (Co-Owner of Serpent & Co.) About Their New Fall Collection and More
Serpent & Co. is a UK & US clothing brand co-owned by Ben Bruce (lead guitarist in Asking Alexandria) along with Tim Leftwich. What's cool about this clothing line is that they don't just want to be another brand that releases a couple cool designs and fades away, they wanted to create something so amazing that their customers couldn't help but come back for more. And that's exactly the goal that these two guys have been achieving since we last spoke.
We were lucky enough to catch up with Tim again and chat about how touring on Warped Tour went, the new Serpent & Co. Fall collection, new features coming soon on the website, and more! Check out the interview below.
The last time we spoke to you, you were just heading onto Warped Tour with Serpent & Co.! How was that experience?
Tim: Warped Tour was a fantastic experience, it's a long 7 week tour because of the itinerary, but we were very well received by everyone there, bands, crew and fans alike. It was a great way to grow Serpent & Co. and have some face to face interaction with our customers, which I personally think is a great way to get to know who is enjoying your products.
What would you say were some of the best and worst moments about it?
Tim: There aren't any specifically bad things about it, but it's just a very grueling tour because of the long hours and heat. A typical day for me would involve being up at 7a.m. to do several heavy runs carrying the tents and products for set up and be ready for when doors open and then obviously work until around 7p.m. before packing down for a couple of hours. Then repeat for 50 days in a row! Everyone on the tour works incredibly hard every single day, so there is a lot of respect for that. We built up some fantastic relationships throughout the tour though with other companies and bands and I personally hadn't seen Sum 41 play since I was 15 so that was great for me!
Did you have fans giving you any ideas for the line? Did any of those ideas end up coming to life?
Tim: We had a lot of fans make suggestions and I wouldn't necessarily say we've used them because we have always had a very clear picture in our mind of where we would like to take the brand, but it is definitely interesting to hear what people like obviously seeing as they are the ones buying our products.
So lately you guys have been teasing a Serpent & Co. Fall collection. What did you and Ben do to brainstorm the looks you wanted in the collection?
Tim: I'd like to say something incredibly rock & roll like we got hilariously drunk and created new visions for the brand, but it's just not the case. We basically sat there and broke down the elements of the brand and pictured where we would want to take it in the future and how we want people to see our company. We decided that we don't want people looking at Serpent & Co. like any other band merchandise or as just another clothing line set up by a band member. We have a much more long term vision than that so we tried our best to consider that.
Were there any specific inspirations for this line? You mentioned rock & roll last time being a huge inspiration overall. We're loving all the edgy rips on the hoodies you've been teasing.
Tim: This collection is much more fashion conscious, there is still obviously an element of rock & roll involved because that's where the idea for the brand came from, but it's more about being unapologetic. Unapologetic for wearing what you want to wear, that there is no judgement with what we are creating and what we plan to create. We decided to incorporate what we'd call fashion rips because it reflects both Ben's and my style as well as hitting a trend you can see across the fashion world right now.
Can you hint to us what other new products we may be seeing for the Fall collection? We noticed Ben "possibly" wearing a newly designed tee.
Tim: We did leave a hint about the new tee and that's something you'll see. We won't be releasing everything at once because we want to merge our collections together so people don't feel like they have to spend all their money at once and can save as they see more and more items over the coming months. We're starting to think more about complete outfits.
What was it like transitioning Serpent & Co. to just to you and Ben after you lost your distributor? Was it difficult or was it an easy transition?
Tim: This was a very difficult transition. It's hard to go into all the details otherwise I'd be here for days but we went from having a complete manufacturing, packing, distribution and shipping infrastructure to running it with just two people and just trying to get hold of previous stock, reduce shipping costs and handle the sheer volume of orders with two people was almost impossible. We can only say that we are very grateful for people baring with us during this time, we know there have been a few delays and hiccups as we've tried to cope with the volume as well as international shipping and customs protection. So we do apologize if any people have felt let down, but now as we are beginning to grow from scratch it should be much smoother for everyone.
What would you say you and Ben overall learned from that, from a business prospective?
Tim: I think we knew what was coming and that it wouldn't be easy but it helped us to plan out how we would like the business to be structured and how we want our customers to be treated. We know it can be frustrating for customers, but we hope they understand it's probably more frustrating for us when there are any issues with orders because sometimes it can be out of our control once it's shipped. So we hope to streamline the process and create a really strong customer support network.
Can you share with us some of the new site features you guys were planning on? It sounds exciting!
Tim: Once we have the staff and hours to man it, we intend to have a live support chat on our website for anybody having problems with their order or the site, or any questions about the products so that we can cut out the email process and make it much quicker for everybody. We are also hoping to add an entirely new blog section with some fantastic regular features soon.
So you've also had Sam Bettley [bassist of Asking Alexandria] involved with Serpent & Co. when he created some exclusive paintings and skate decks for you guys. Who's idea was it to do this?
Tim: Obviously we are very close with Sam and he is a fantastic artist. Ben and I had spoken about doing some custom art in limited runs, so the natural move was to ask Sam if he'd like to use his unique process and apply it to our logo.
Did you guys tell Sam what colors you wanted for the pieces? Or was it solely up to him?
Tim: We had a rough idea of what we wanted but we let Sam have some freedom with it seeing as it's his specialty and he really nailed it! We loved the colour schemes both individually and as a set. The reception to them was brilliant and it's something we'd certainly consider doing again in the future.
Do you think you'll be working on a Winter collection as well? Serpent & Co. coats would look awesome!
Tim: We are definitely working on Winter items. As I mentioned earlier we intend to release items regularly so that people don't have to feel limited at one time and we'd like to add new options. We want you to be able to build an entire outfit from our store!
Is there anything else you'd like to say?
Tim: I'd just like to add that both Ben and I are incredibly grateful for the reception we had to the relaunch of the site, and that we appreciate everybody's patience with it. We know it hasn't been easy at all and the continued support has been incredible. We have some truly fantastic things coming up over the next couple of months that we can't wait to share with everyone, so the support and sharing of our brand is always so greatly appreciated as we try to build this into a formidable company.
Interview by Melanie Gomez
Want to grab some Serpent & Co. merch right now? Click HERE to check out the store!
You can also follow them on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat: @serpentandco
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