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Edgevale: Interview With Tony Vontz

Like many great ideas, Edgevale was created out of completely random and unexpected circumstances. It all started in 2013, after founder, Tony Vontz, spent a hot, sweaty, beer-fueled weekend biking to a bluegrass festival in San Francisco. This is when the simple, yet seemingly obvious idea hit him: out of all the outdoor apparel and stylish clothing in his closet, he did not possess anything that he actually wanted to wear that could also withstand elements and the rigorous adventurous activities that he and his friends enjoyed so much. So, Tony decided to go for it – combining fashion and function, Edgevale was born. All of Edgevale’s gear is made locally in Oakland, as it is important to Tony that he stays near the natural surroundings that inspire the clothes he makes. All of Edgevale’s clothing is made with a ‘broken-in-feeling,’ with memories burrowed deep into the fabric. In addition, their sharp, versatile garments are made, not only to feel comfortable and look stylish, but also to be durable and able to stand up to the elements, ensuring all their products with a lifetime guarantee.

We are happy to announce that we will be featuring Edgevale clothing at Oakland Supply Co., as could not be more thrilled to feature such a high quality product made right here in Oakland.

Here is a quick little interview with founder, Tony Vontz, telling us a little bit more about what makes Edgevale so special.

1. Give us some background on Edgevale – where are you from, how did you get started?

I’m originally from Kansas City, MO.  I went to college at UC Berkeley and have been living in the Bay Area for 16 years.  I got started in the apparel industry right out of college and I’ve done everything from sales to marketing to overseas product development for a number of different brands.

2. How does being from The Bay Area, specifically Oakland, affect your brand?

Oakland has a thriving creative community and a great outdoor scene.  There’s inspiration everywhere you turn your head and a lot of entrepreneurs doing innovative things – from craft beer to food to apparel to footwear.  Everyone we work with, from our graphic designer, to our studio photography, to our pattern maker, are based within five miles of our headquarters.  We feel like we’re working with the best people who do what they do and that always inspires us to keep upping our game.

3. What separates you from other clothing brands – what makes you unique?

We put a lot of stock into making our products as durable and versatile as possible so that when someone spends their hard earned money on one of our products they know it’s going to get a lot of use and last a long time.  We also involve and engage our customer base and field testers at every step of the design process.  We want them to push us to be better and create a product line that’s of the people by the people and for the outdoors.  

4. Who and what are some of your inspirations that have helped shape your vision for Edgevale?

Our biggest inspiration was and still is the natural landscape of Northern California.  All we have to do is get up to Redwood Park or over to Sibley for our daily reminder of why we do what we do.

5. Why is it important to you to include local production while making Edgevale clothing?

It is obviously cheaper to make stuff overseas, but  we get a lot more quality control over the process by keeping it in our backyard plus it’s something that our customers really want.  People eat local, drink local, and I think they’re starting to wear and shop local too. The coolest thing about making everything in Oakland is that we get to react quickly to what our customer’s say, what their feedback is, what our product testers say, and immediately bake it into the products.

6. What are some of your accomplishments that you are most proud of?

I’m most proud of the fact that we’ve experienced rapid growth and remained true to our mission to make super quality products locally and be as focused on our customers as possible.

7. What are you long term goals for the future of Edgevale?

As our line evolves to include technical products with high performance fabrics, we want to push the boundaries of what is possible with domestic manufacturing.

 


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