View from the top: Interview with Co-Founder of MAAP
MAAP – the cycling brand that has conquered the global market
Seeing so many new brands popping up every day, LTP decided to look at what is hiding behind the most successful ones in the industry. Founders, CEOs, creative directors will explain how they managed to break out of the red ocean full of competition, and what advice they could give for the new starters.
Our first interviewee is Oliver Cousins – Co-Founder of MAAP, Australia’s largest cycling apparel company.
Despite being founded fairly recently in 2014, MAAP has grown impressively fast in its young life, driven by a consistent design aesthetic, collaborations, race and influencer sponsorship. The brand has grown a reputation for its bold, stylish designs that follows the commitment to developing the art and progression of cycling.
Read our interview with Oliver Cousins to learn how MAAP was started, reasons behind their success, importance of choosing the right partners and what it takes to building a strong brand.
Oliver, please tell us how your and MAAP’s journey started?
I worked for various brands including Stussy, Mambo and Globe as a design director. I grew up surfing, and didn’t get into cycling until I turned 30. So I guess you could say I came into the sport quite late.
MAAP was founded by myself and Jarrad Smith in 2014, in Melbourne. In six years we’ve grown to become Australia’s largest cycling apparel company, with major markets being the US, the UK, Germany & South East Asia.
Together, Jarrad and I and worked in the fashion industry for years and looking at the industry at the time, it was dominated by European brands and we felt like there was an opportunity to bring a new perspective to the sport.
What do you think are the reasons behind MAAP’s success? What is special about MAAP?
We both have a genuine passion for cycling and the lifestyle around the sport. This combined with 20 years of working in apparel and for various brands has set us up well to use that knowledge and apply it to building MAAP.
MAAP is known for collaborations with other brands. How do you see these partnerships yourself?
Partnerships allow us to play in product categories where we don’t have the expertise. For example, we’re not sunglass experts, but working with 100% allows us the luxury of applying our vision to that category. It’s definitely a fun approach to product development and we’re lucky to be able to partner with such progressive brands, which we feel align with the same values as us.
What mega trends do you see in the industry?
Let’s hope it’s not a trend, however seeing brands prioritise sustainability has been very inspiring. Sustainable practices define everything we do at MAAP, from choosing and processing our product’s raw materials to the manufacturing process. Companies like Miti are doing great things with their recycled yarn development. LTP fit perfectly with that mission and we’re proud to be working with partners that are aligned around the same missions.
What could you advice for other people starting their brands?
It’s important to have a clear point of view when you create a brand. What are you offering to the industry that doesn’t exist already? If you’re just doing the same thing as everyone else then you’re just splitting hairs, and you’re going to have a hard time gaining traction.
Focus on what you know and what you’re good at. One great product is more powerful than 100 average ones.
Take a 10+ year view to building a brand, it’s not going to happen overnight. This longer-term view helps you justify making decisions which may seem expensive or irrelevant at the time but make sense over the course of a long term brand building vision.