The prominence of mega-rich young whippersnappers such as Messrs Zuckerberg, Systrom and Spiegel may lead you to think otherwise; but the fact is, successful twenty-something start-up founders are rare creatures indeed. In America, there are twice as many start-up home-run hitters aged over 50 as there are aged under 25. Studies show that the typical entrepreneurial winner is around 40 years of age, possessing a decade’s experience in his chosen field.
He fits that profile pretty perfectly, so things look promising for Louis Joseph, the founder of “tailored, technical and timeless” ski-wear brand, Alps & Meters. Prior to quitting the corporate world and launching his new company in 2014, Joseph spent several years as the global director of strategy and innovation at sportswear giant Puma, where he was responsible for driving inventive new brand-product concepts across the company’s numerous divisions. Earlier, he’d served as a global VP of product marketing at K-Swiss, an innovation consultant for The North Face, and as a younger man, fresh from gaining his MBA, was a brand manager at New Balance.
This fortyish fella clearly has the requisite performance sportswear experience, and with Alps & Meters, he’s also got a terrific line of product and strong brand philosophy — one that will undoubtedly appeal to The Rake reader. Its name referring to the terrain where these garments come into their own (alps) and the measurement of both mountains and a tailor’s cloth (metres), the inspiration for the brand was sparked a little over a decade ago when Joseph was skiing in Sweden. “I was in a mountain town and found an old ski sweater which really appealed to me, and because it was a knitwear piece, it had a lot of nostalgic attributes – I’ve skied in it ever since,” he says. “Virtually everywhere I’ve gone, the sweater was a conversation starter. People wanted to know why I was wearing it, what did it feel like, was it protective. And knowing that that garment could be improved, really led to the formation of Alps & Meters.”