During the past couple of weeks, I have been striving to continue our momentum from the Snowbound Expo and working to increase brand awareness for the Venture Syndicate. This has brought me into contact with a variety of wonderful individuals throughout all industries (winter sports, the arts, apparel – just to name a few). As part of these conversations, the story of how the Venture Syndicate got started inevitably comes up. I decided that this presented me with a fantastic opportunity for us to pick back up with our blog series covering a variety of topics on all things Venture Syndicate. And what a better way to start than with the very beginning? So, without further delay, I present to you the Venture Syndicate Origin Story.
Back in late summer 2021, I was about to enter my second year of graduate school. I was scouring the internet looking for ways to make some additional money (not desiring to just go get a nine to five) and came across the idea of starting an e-commerce brand. I mean it sounds so easy right? You just choose a product, find somewhere to store it, ship it out to customers and boom – overnight success story. All I had to do now was choose a product to sell. Having snowboard season lurking around the corner, I thought that snowboarding gear and equipment would be the perfect product to blend both my passion for entrepreneurship with my passion for snowboarding. I researched a variety of suppliers and started to put the plan into motion.
This ultimately brought me to the point of having to choose a business name. Again, as a a away blending my two passions – business and snowboarding – I ended up with the name we all know and love, the Venture Syndicate. The definition that most readers here probably know of a venture syndicate is a group of individuals working together towards a common adventure-based goal, such as climbing all 48 of New Hampshire’s 4,000 footers. However, a venture syndicate also exists in the finance world meaning a group of investors who pool their money together to invest in an organization. So simply put, I stuck with the Venture Syndicate because it fit the snowboarding vibe I was going after and lent a subtle nod to my second passion of business and finance.
With the name picked out, I secured a website domain, got a logo, and got to work marketing all the great snowboarding equipment that I had sourced. However, it didn’t take long for me to come to a sobering realization: There was a very slim chance of us being successful in this market. You see, the snowboarding gear/equipment space is so saturated with massive, established players. There is no way we were going to be able to compete on cost and I didn’t have the money for R&D so differentiation was out of the question. However, at just about the same time as I was coming to this realization, we had just had our first apparel launch (The Pioneer Collection) which was seeing some significant success right out of the gate. With these converging factors, I saw apparel as a way for us to really do something unique and creative while building an everlasting business. Something bigger than ourselves if you will. It was at this moment that I decided to pivot the brand direction towards 100% apparel.
Upon making this decision, I was not unaware of how saturated the apparel space is. Wanting to avoid the mistake I made with the snowboarding gear and equipment, I knew that we had to approach the apparel space from a differentiation perspective. While brainstorming how to effectively position ourselves in the clothing world, I noticed a gap that I thought we could fill. The majority of apparel companies were solely focusing on the extreme ends of consumer preferences. For example, you have the Patagonias and L.L. Beans of the world that target the people who eat, breath, and sleep nature. Then on the opposite extreme you have the urban crowd – the Supremes, Nike, Billionaire Boys Clubs of the world. When it comes to your apparel choices, it seemed you were either an earthy-crunchy nature lover or a HypeBeast streetwear type with nothing in between. There were no major brands going after the people, who like myself, prefer to reside in the city but escape to the mountains on the weekends. Those people who can appreciate the experiences that both environments have to offer. This is where I felt that the Venture Syndicate could really shine. By bringing designs inspired by snowboarding culture in the streetwear space, I felt like we could really hit that section of the market not being addressed by these major apparel brands.
Thus, the Venture Syndicate as most of you know it was born! We’ve since gone on to release our Meltdown Collection, emphasizing the change that takes place post-snowboarding season when all our favorite runs start to melt away. We’ve gotten some great feedback on the collection from both the snowboarding and streetwear crowds. It is my hope that we can continue effectively blending these two worlds together in all creative projects that the Venture Syndicate embarks on in the future.
Before I wrap up here, I would be remiss to not mention that I am beyond grateful for all of the love and support the Venture Syndicate has received so far. V.S. has introduced me to so many genuine individuals and presented our team with some incredible experiences and opportunities to show off our creativity. I cannot wait to see what we can turn this brand into. Stay tuned….
As always, dare to venture.Jaime Sousa
Founder, The Venture Syndicate