Hi, I’m Joe, Design and Operations Director for ava-j.
We thought we would share with you a little bit about the avaj story, in particular, why we launched the business back in 2014.
The whole thing started with the classic Christmas list, written every year to avoid being disappointed Christmas morning. On my list, I suggested a few items including underwear. So off my Mother went to hunt down gifts. Unfortunately it was not a great experience and she found herself faced with the prospect of designated men's underwear websites selling sexualisation as much as they were products, which was not pleasant to engage with and made her feel uncomfortable.
Like a lot of men, I love quality underwear and the whole experience of receiving gifts that make me feel special. With four of us to buy for, mum has always found buying luxury items for my sisters easy, the fashion industry understands the value of qualitative presentation and luxury when considering women as a purchaser and receiver of those special personalised items.
Buying for my sisters had been simple luxury shopping with all kinds of underwear a girl could dream of available and beautifully gift wrapped, Yet to do that for me seemed impossible and sure enough, she soon gave up.
This had rattled my mum, and so an idea started to form between us all.
The name, ava-j, came to us early on and we fell in love with it straight away. Sometimes you can spend years and lots of money employing experts to form the name of a business. Not for us, our name is simply mine and my siblings’ first initials. And with that, ava-j (pronounced “Ava Jay”) was born.
So we got to work and started to build the model of the business. What we wanted to achieve was a business that represented a sea change from the current market offerings – a brand that reflected a lifestyle, and a true understanding of our target audience.
Even our approach to models was considered, everyone featured on the original website was a real person rather than a professional model, and they all had a close personal bond with us.
ava-j is a brand that works for everyone, and that philosophy has gone into all aspects of the product line.
Our first product range was of course underwear. Armed with a college qualification in design and a love for male underwear, I got to work on designing our first range to start with we had had four headings Underwear - Male Grooming - Accessories and Homeware However a lot has changed since we began and we no longer have a homeware's range
In June 2016 the website changed our four new ranges are Skincare(Grooming), Underwear, Nightwear and accessories. We have spent considerable time sourcing and refining our range so that we can confidently say we have four unique, quality ranges suited to a sophisticated modern men.
We made another commitment as part of our business model around manufacturing, focusing on UK manufacturing as the predominant basis of all our ranges. The ava-j range of products are 100% made in Britain and not tested on animals
Another key challenge for us was to design a website of quality and sophistication, so that, regardless of whom you are or where you are, logging onto ava-j will be a pleasurable and appropriate experience.
The Shopping Experience
The final piece in the ava-j jigsaw was to create a shopping experience that was not only exciting, qualitative and relevant, but that also celebrated that feeling of luxury. Whoever you are buying for, your avaj purchase will come personally and thoughtfully wrapped, ready for you to receive.
Our first retail store opened on 20th August 2016 North Street Headingley Leeds, located in the beautiful overseers office, a building build that dates back to 1914 and is part of the Leeds Owl Trail. The ava-j shop a unique experience which incorporates The Hair Nook - Unisex Hairdressers and colour specialists, we also have guest menswear and a selection accessories brands
Open Monday to Saturday from 10.30am to 5 pm
From me and all the team here at avaj, we wish you all the best, and hope you “ava jolly” good time shopping with us.
If you would like to discuss working with avaj or stocking our grooming products please contact us on email@example.com