Could you introduce yourself and your brand to our readers?
My name is Kristian and I own ACID CTRL. We are an independent clothing brand that focuses on alternative streetwear and gothic garments. We work with local bands in the United Kingdom, helping with merchandise and promotion, established in 2018 on the small Isle of Wight.
What was the main inspiration for starting your clothing line?
ACID CTRL was actually a music project of mine before. I made vaporwave/electronic type music, and one day I made some merchandise for it. I enjoyed the designing and clothing side more than the music, so I decided to completely change it into the clothing brand it is today. When you Google us, the first thing that comes up is that ACID CTRL is an artist, funnily enough.
Where do you guys draw inspiration from for the style of the designs that you release?
We have an amazing team of designers that we work with that each has a different design style. They either give me an idea or a proposal for that design or I ask them if that concept is good, it’s very much a family/friend styled team and we collaborate and work on concepts together. I usually think of designs throughout the day and just jot them down on my notes and work from there.
What advice do you wish you had before starting out your brand?
I wish I knew more about the legal and financial side before I started such as being a sole-trader and setting up accounts to monitor your financial status. I was solely focused on the designs and seeing people wearing them, but that side is so important. Knowing the right printing company is crucial too, I was lucky to hear about you guys and I’ve been comfortable on that stage ever since.
With online marketing playing such a crucial role in how brands operate these days. How do you guys approach this aspect of your business, and do you have any tips that you’d like to share with upcoming brands?
We post daily on all our socials and make sure our hashtags are relevant to the image and market we wish to reach. Instagram is amazing for this type of business we run. We’ve seen some really positive results, especially with Facebook ads integrating onto Instagram.
Make sure to have a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram account even before you have designs or products, building up that audience and hype for your new store and products are an amazing way to get traction early. Communicate with your audience, have your own hashtag and Facebook group to build that community vibe.
What has been the most positive experience since starting Acid Ctrl?
Easily must be collaborating with bands and musicians! It’s become a vital part of our business and I love doing it. We collaborated with Ashestoangels, which was also the first band I saw live and still love to this day. That was crazy to me. It was amazing to see ACID CTRL merch with Ashestoangels shows. I’ve met some amazing people from the bands too and even discovered bands I didn’t know before, as a musician myself, it’s a blessing I can do this.
Has there been any challenges/hurdles since the whole global pandemic started and how did you guys counteract said challenges?
At first, there were a lot of worries and confusion when it first happened. But after a week or two, we were able to start posting at least every week. We wanted to mitigate the chance of us being ill and the customers also, so we would go every Saturday to the local post office, which was luckily unaffected for the most part. Luckily now we post more frequently. We also encountered that more people were buying from us during the lockdown and at the start of the pandemic which definitely helped us keep afloat financially. We had a record spike of orders through this time and it was really good and interesting to see how different it would be without physical stores.
Are there any other clothing brands out there that our readers should check out? Maybe those that you guys would consider as friends or even inspirational?
Absolutely! I was lucky to meet and collaborate with a lot of people these past two years and become friends with new people.
Our amazing team inspires me every day with how creative their work is, which are Ryan (Kyori Design), Eleanor, Hattie (Do and Die Clothing), Hutton, Maisie, and Joe.
I’ve made some great friends with the bands we have collaborated too and even have seen one or two, which is amazing. These have been Ashestoangels, NO:IR, Downfall, Asleep At The Helm, Octopus Montage, and Mortal Shift!
What plans have you got for the rest of 2020?
My main goal is to get reach 5,000 Instagram followers, we’ve been slowly building it up and I’m hoping we can reach 5k before the end of the year. I would love to collaborate with some more bands too and hopefully have more stock and variants on the store and different products.
I’m sure a lot of people have put plans to start new ventures on hold because of lockdown. Do you have any words of encouragement for them?
Don’t let it stop you! The opportunities are all still here, you will still be able to build a brand or a similar business. You can do some amazing things online and creating or continuing a brand through a pandemic is one of those.
Where can our readers check out your products and stay up to date with new releases?
You can check us out at acidctrl.com and find our daily uploads and updates on any major social media!