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The Will & Bear story began a short four years ago, Alex and Loz the couple behind the brand decided to turn their idea into reality while travelling in their vintage Kombi. Inspired by the road and the incredible people they met along the way, their high-quality, sustainable hat brand was born, Will&Bear.
We were lucky enough to meet the pair and have a chat about their lives on the road and the ins and outs of running a successful company together from the inside of a van.
Hey guys, tell us a little about yourself, how you met and what made you want to start Will & Bear?
Loz: It first started on our very first holiday together, we had met 6 months prior on Tinder and Alex invited me to Tasmania for a little get away, it was the middle of summer and Alex didn’t bring a hat – it was super sunny and a hat was very much needed. We started looking around in stores and markets, it was such a bad experience for him, we couldn’t find a brand he connected with, and we thought it was super interesting that a hat was such a hard piece to find.
We finally found a hat although we started fighting over who would wear it, we realised the first problem to the whole situation was the fact that Alex didn’t even feel comfortable trying one on in the first place, neither of us could even resonant with a brand that we knew made hats, we would take pictures and think look how amazing the hats look in nature and that’s the whole point to buying a hat, how is no one telling this story. We should start a hat company.
Alex: We had only been dating for 6 months, still in our honeymoon period so everything was super exciting. I went away and while I was gone, Loz investigated suppliers and factories, she went full crazy turbo mode and did all this research and by the time I came back she had a whole range for us.
How did you come up with the name Will&Bear?
Loz: I’m Will and Alex is Bear, my last name is Williams, but I used to be called Willow at school and Alex’s spirit animal is a bear. We wanted to really capture both female and male audiences and Will&Bear can be anyone, anyone can be a part of the story we are telling.
Where does your inspiration from?
Alex: It would have to come from being in nature while in the van on the road, it’s crazy how we get so bogged down in the city. We feel a lot clearer on the road, it puts things into perspective for us. When we aren’t stressed out inspiration flows a lot easier. Its all about reducing our stress levels, we are both inclined to push, push, push but it’s nice to take a step back, and if we can make that our life, that will make our lives a lot easier.
Tell us about your most memorable trip so far?
Alex: The one that stands out has to be our first trip to Tassie, that’s where we feel in love and of course Will&Bear was created there. Also our trip to Africa last year to visit a non for profit that we currently work with, they plant the trees in Africa for our initiative, we went to visit the projects and it was actually the first time since we started Will&Bear that we didn’t have our emails on or working full time on Instagram, it felt almost like a holiday but it was also this total new experience seeing the direct affects of the money we were giving, which was so meaningful.
Tell us a bit more about your initiative ‘’One Hat Sold, 10 Trees Planted’’
Loz: Alex was the main driver for this, we had previous conversations about what we wanted to do with our lives and he always wanted to be giving back, making changes and creating a voice for the things we care about. The initiative gave us more of a reason to run Will&Bear, without it, it’s less of a reason to keep going.
What projects are you most proud of so far, and any exciting ones coming up in the near future?
Alex: Marty has been the most exciting to date, although we are really looking forward to bringing Will&Bear to America, getting a warehouse over there and replicating what we have built here in Australia. Our next big plan is to ship Marty over after our Australian tour and do a massive trip over there.
Tell us a little more about the Will & Bear style and customer?
Loz: The hats truly are for anyone and everyone, they are unisex, so the styles suit everybody, and they are simple and timeless. The hats are designed to throw on and compliment any type of outfit and they look awesome on everyone.
What’s the ultimate Will&Bear outfit and which Wild Rhino shoe would you pair with it?
What kind of adventures would you take Aireys & Tala on?
Alex: We are constantly on the go and recently attached a motorbike to the back of Marty – riding around in Aireys is the best, they are super durable and stylish.
Loz: I don’t take my Talas off when we’re on the road, we love going for long walks and exploring the area – the boots are super comfortable and perfect for long walks.