How a Greek company managed to compete one-to-one with major foreign brands
When Mr. Apostolos Hardalias started his own small production business, back in 1976, a cottage industry manufacturing and processing textile, he could not imagine that one day his clothes would occupy a prominent place on the shelves of large chains, such as Attica Stores, and compete, in terms of both quality and sales value, with top foreign brands.
Following the usual practice of other similar undertakings in the countries of South Europe at that time, such as Italy and Spain, the family textile unit started its business by producing and selling textiles to third parties, mainly craft undertakings. Using cotton as a raw material, Etoliki –that was the name adopted by the company three years later– exploited the capacities provided at that time by Jersey machines (looms) to the full and got specialised in textile processing. Soon, the company became known for the incomparable quality of the textiles it manufactured, being increasingly present –through the garments produced– in the display windows of the best stores of that time.
The quality of and expertise in cotton textile manufacturing gave Etoliki a competitive advantage that lasted over time. However, Mr. Hardalias, timely realising that subcontracting production would not drive him further, transformed the company to an import business in the ‘80s and, in the next decade, the company entered the market of clothing manufacturing and production.
We have spent endless hours finding the right raw materials and processing them, since we wanted our clothes to look and feel like an everyday used garment
The company is currently managed by Giannis and Vlassis, sons of Mr. Hardalias, who grew up within the family business and developed entrepreneurial intuition and mentality from a very young age. “This intuition, as well as our father’s long experience, has led us to a –perhaps high-risk– experiment in 2011”, says Giannis. “Based on an estimate concerning the future of the market, we decided –amid the financial crisis and uncertainty– to invest in creating our own brand in men’s clothing”.
The two young entrepreneurs predicted that, sooner or later, consumers would again turn towards quality clothing. Therefore, they invested in the principles and values on which the company relied from the very beginning, namely the respect for the customer and the product, placing emphasis on selecting special raw materials and custom processing them, with distinct design and unique packaging. “This is how Dirty Laundry was born!”, says the other brother. “We wanted to create truly unique clothes that will make each of our customers feel special. We have spent endless hours finding the right raw materials and processing them, since we wanted our clothes to look and feel like an everyday used garment”.
Dirty Laundry’s growth in the last months has been exponential. Well known stores, at carefully selected spots, have added these special clothes on their shelves, next to those of the largest fashion enterprises in the world. “We are not afraid of competition. On the contrary, it motivates us to become even better. We set high targets and we try hard to be among the best”, says Vlassis.
The company’s plans include launching of its own stores, both physical and online, and to continue expanding of sales abroad.