Renmark teenager Nathan Woodrow might only be a few months outside of finishing high school, but he already knows what it’s like to run his own business.
The young Riverlander launched his own clothing label, Ryde Clothing, two years ago and has since sold about 1000 units across the country, the majority through online sales.
The brand is inspired by the former Renmark High School student’s love for skating, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and wakeskating, a sport similar to wakeboarding except the rider’s feet aren’t strapped to the board.
At the age of 15 Nathan suffered a knee injury leaving him unable to participate in the many sporting activities that usually kept him busy.
Searching for something else to keep him occupied, he started sketching designs for t-shirts, screen printing them from his bedroom and selling the items online.
He told no one of his entrepreneurial pursuits and it wasn’t until he was interviewed by music and fashion publication, TEO Magazine, that Ryde Clothing began to gain local traction.
“When I was at school, a lot of the sales would come from me walking around the yard at lunch time and selling shirts,” Nathan says.
“It’s really good that in the Riverland everyone gets around you.”
While at school, Nathan also held down two part-time jobs, saving his money to invest in the small business.
He now sketches his designs at home before sending them off to be refined by Queensland artist Tammen Willmott.
Once the prints are sent back to Renmark, Nathan screen prints the designs onto the clothing.
He originally began running Ryde from his bedroom, but it wasn’t until t-shirts began to clutter his family’s living room that he decided to move operations to a shipping container in the backyard.
“I might go for a skate and just think to myself about a design, then come home straight away and sketch something up until I get it right,” he says.
Ryde Clothing’s motto is ‘stay stoked’. Many of the designs are reflective of water sports enjoyed on the Murray River.
In 2017 Nathan was mentored by Bruce Mellett from Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland who helped him to seek local media attention, find local stockists and set business goals.
Nathan finished Year 12 last year and now splits his time between a part-time role at Renmark printing company Tri State Graphics, and running Ryde Clothing.
He says living in a regional town has been an advantage to his business rather than a detriment.
“A lot of people think that you can’t do something because you’re in the Riverland,” Nathan says.
“But being here gives you an advantage because the community always gets behind you, and with the internet, you can do everything you need to.”
Ryde Clothing will release its winter collection later this month.
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