Spotlight Featuring David Afradi
By: Deborah Gantos
Tell me about your business.
It all started in 1979-1980 when I was attending college. I called a friend in London and asked him what the hottest fashion item was over there. He said it was parachute pants for both men and women. I gave it some thought, modified the item, then made up a few samples out of nylon fabric in the color of army green. I also designed bomber jackets out of the same material.
The next step was to market my product, so I went from door to door to all the fashionable boutiques on Hollywood Boulevard. Finally, I stopped at an Army Navy store. The owner bought 12 pieces. The next day he called me and wanted more. It went from 70-80 pairs, to 200 pairs. I was astonished. The only problem was, I had a warehouse full of material but no more samples! So, we quickly made more and the rest, as they say, is history. Soon I was selling parachute wear by the gross, earning $40 million. Some of my customers were Merry Go Round, Chess King and the Edison Brothers.
Then, in 1984, something changed that drastically prevented me from continuing my business: Chinese imports. The prices plummeted to half of what we were asking. The result: I sold my business for $3 and walked away.
So, I decided to re-invent myself around the 1990s. Finally, in 1995 I brought back my products with a new flair, increasing our product line. In 1997, I started advertising in the Yahoo! store. Today, we are one of the largest fabric holders in the industry.
What type of products do you offer?
We have quite a variety of apparel for sale, such as 2012 parachute pants; tactical and military wear, work wear, athletic wear, street wear, jeans wear, rock wear and fabrics.
What makes Parachute Pants unique?
The fabric and design of our products. Although parachute pants have been around a long time, we have re-created them to be hip and very popular in today’s market.
What advice would you give to beginning entrepreneurs?
From my experience in the apparel industry, keep current on all factors that could cause a reduction in profit or even cause you to liquidate your business. Continue to expand and adapt your best sellers, but be open to featuring new things and “hot” items.
Editor: Surplus Today extends our heartfelt thanks to David Afradi, President of Parachute Pants, for this informative interview.