In 2018, Greg Harder earned a bachelor of science in marketing at the University of Delaware, and Morgan Young earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion and apparel design. And through their exposure to entrepreneurship at Horn Entrepreneurship, they have combined their degrees to nurture andagain, a sustainable luxury fashion label that they co-founded in 2016, starting with hand-distressed jeans.
“Our journeys through school, through Horn, after school and then beyond really benefited from our early interest in entrepreneurship,” Harder said.
“One thing that [faculty director of venture support] Vince DiFelice and others did a really good job at is that entrepreneurship teaches you like really foundational skills that have relevance if you’re going to keep pursuing your own business and actually get a company off the ground, but beyond that translate really well into a traditional career and then job placement elsewhere.”
Harder and Young have used those skills to move andagain from Delaware to Brooklyn and now downtown Los Angeles. They have also used those skills to adjust from working full-time on andagain to working part-time on it, with full-time jobs at other startups.
They’re sometimes walking ads for andagain, in items they both use. They own a few jackets that Harder (men’s medium) and Young (women’s small) both like to wear, and their bags are genderless.
“It’s actually a really easy way to start a conversation with people, especially if we’re trying to have it happen in a retailer we want to develop relationship with,” Harder said. “I just want the conversation to start organically, and maybe five or six times out of 10, people will say something about what we have because the pieces are really unique and strike their attention.
His personal style
“I was at a cafe with a bag, carrying my laptop and stuff, and someone recognized the work and came up to me,” he said. “They’re definitely fun conversations to have.”
Their work is definitely striking. One tote features oyster shells. Grommets recur. Several items are labeled “zero waste.” Products are sold online, and they wholesale to one store in Oregon.
The company specializes in sustainable genderless outerwear, with nonspecific silhouettes, and “really cool textural” accessories, such as totes, crossbodies, duffles, clutches and other bags.
Harder describes his personal style as mostly minimalist, sometimes avant-garde. He favors black, white, dark gray and green. “I like a lot of our monochromatic blacks and whites, as well as the designs that harshly blend the two.”
In founding andagain, their goal was to blend art, fashion and sustainability. “Sustainable fashion has taken on momentum in the market in the past five or 10 years,” he said.
One element involves the sources of materials. All andagain fabrics are deadstock (leftovers from mills “that without us, would likely have ended life in a landfill”), reclaimed or US-sourced organic cotton, according to its sustainability page.
The reclaiming includes a relationship with Goodwill. Goodwill first sells donations in its retail stores or online. If items linger, it sells them in bulk. If that fails, “it essentially just goes to waste. So we come in and basically intercept one of the holes in their supply chain bucket for some perfectly fine materials,” he said. Such finds include bolts of fabric and vintage clothing items.
“Your average thrift store in the United States only sells about one-third of the stuff that ends up on its shelves,” Adam Minter, author of “Secondhand: Travels in the New Global Garage Sale” told NPR.
Another core tenet of sustainable fashion is production, including “ethical sourcing from craftspeople that make only as much as they need and have a very tight focus on quantities, and not overuse,” Harder said. That’s the andagain way. “Our garments are manufactured to order in the andagain Los Angeles atelier. We produce all garments internally, allowing us to provide high levels of personalization in fit and sizing,” its website says.
“If you overproduce, are you burning your extra inventory?” he asked. “Literally lighting extra inventory on fire or just trashing waste or excess production?” That’s not the andagain way.
And the third tenet is post-production. “Larger pieces of our cutting scraps are reused in designs that implement patchwork,” its website says. “Smaller scraps and threads are used in the creation of our original, zero-waste textile.”
How the business evolved
The business began slowly, with Young using her skills in sewing (and equipment in UD’s fashion and apparel studies sewing lab) and Harder using his marketing skills (“We were promoting ourselves online and going to trade shows, conferences and stuff like that to form relationships with retailers”).
“We really didn’t have this huge buildup at launch,” he said. “It was an organic thing where we both had a passion and interest for the concept, and it slowly evolved over a couple months, us getting more excited and showing more people.
Other elements of the business also evolved, such as personalization and pricing.
“The company at times fluctuated between offering very highly personalized opportunities for customers, which was really interesting because it involved lots of development, lots of customer discovery and ultimately lots of learning,” he said.
“At the most extreme, someone could have really crazy and really cool ideas for their clothing. On the other side of the spectrum, it’s ‘Show me what you have, and I’ll pick from it.’ I think at first we skewed too far to the personalization side. It’s overwhelming to have too many opportunities to make a decision for the customer. We shifted a little bit backwards towards the middle of offering unique personalization, but within the realm of the specific bucket of things that were offering.”
Another big element involved positioning the brand (and “how we talk about the brand”) and price points. “At first, we were really nervous and pulled in the direction of not pricing things too high. At the time, prices were relevant for the people around us and who we were just exposed to, which made sense for small independent retailers and college students.
“But then as we got exposed to different retailers, our confidence and network grew outside of the scope of where we started. The brand got more elevated, and we both got more of what we wanted from the beginning, but it just took a little while to get there.”
“I was very entrepreneurial as a kid,” Harder said. “I know that’s like a phrase that many people say now, but I feel like I really did embody that as an 8- to 10-year-old. I remember having these conversations with my mom and dad like ‘What do you want to do?’ and ‘What could we start together?’ Obviously, I get that point for fun, but it really did instill that motivation, those values and that energy into me early.”
Yes, he ran a lemonade stand with his older brother. But he was just 12 when he started importing replica arrowheads and other “cool” stones from a company he found on Alibaba and then reselling them on eBay. “That actually did quite well,” he recalled.
Harder picked UD because of the breadth of its programs. He was leaning toward mechanical engineering, and UD’s program is in the top 50 nationwide. He was also thinking about joining the competitive golf team but decided to play at the club team. His career evolved, too.
He and Young – his life partner as well – started andagain in 2016. They became involved with Horn when they attended a Free Lunch Friday with Ashley Biden, daughter of President Joe Biden and founder of Livelihood, a hoodie company benefiting different communities around the country. Young made her a custom pair of pants. And they become regular attendees at Free Lunch Fridays, a program where speakers share their entrepreneurial insights and experiences with students from all majors.
Harder also took the Introduction to Entrepreneurship class at Horn, and he said they became really close with Vince DiFelice, faculty director of venture support at Horn, and others in the program.
“Being part of the Horn program, participating in Summer Founders and VentureOn gave me the confidence to present my ideas, work through challenging problems and capitalize on opportunities all around me,” Young said.
Summer Founders and Hen Hatch
Between their junior and senior year, they were accepted into Summer Founders, Horn’s pre-accelerator for students to earn a stipend and work on a venture. He called it “awesome.”
“We had a dedicated three months to focus and be exposed to pressure from the group – in a good way, like how a rising tide lifts all types of ships. They’re not giving you specific advice and expecting you to follow it, but it’s more of a group mentality. You’re around a lot of similarly thinking people.
“On top of that, it really set in the importance for customer-first thinking, customer discovery and all these terms and practices that are vital to a concept.”
They twice competed in Hen Hatch, Horn Entrepreneurship’s premier startup funding competition. Both times they reached the semifinal round but earned no money. But Hen Hatch offered invaluable experience in pitching their idea in a competitive environment (and prepping for all that entails).
After graduation, Horn helped when they set up operations in Wilmington, in space owned by Paul McConnell, a member of Horn’s national advisory board. “We had gotten advice from him,” Harder said, “and the biggest form of help – which was really, really great for us – was that space to transition into.” He also connected them to Neiman Marcus, and they did an event in a couple of their locations.
“Paul and Vince were probably the most impactful. They took the time to really understand the business, motivate us and push us forward,” Harder said. “We’re both endlessly appreciative of Vince in particular. And I also really appreciate the opinion from Ted Foltyn,” Horn’s Signature Internship coordinator.
Energy from their neighbors
And adjunct professor Peter Wolf is “really smart and very forward and asks the right questions.”
They then decided to move closer to their families: Harder grew up in Connecticut, Young in Long Island. They selected Brooklyn, the buzziest borough of New York. Rising rent there led them to the South Park section of Los Angeles, where they have been since 2020.
They live and work in a loft in “an amazing building, with a community that has a similar energy and motivational element, entrepreneurial folks and photographers.”
Since moving to L.A., Harder has worked full-time at MakersSpace. He’s employee No. 7 at the digital art platform, which has now grown to 40 people. Young in the summer of 2022 began a full-time job in interior design and decor for another online marketplace.
Operations at andagain are “pretty healthy in terms of individual sales and individual items being profitable,” he said, but the business has slowed down and is “a little bit less than profitable.”
“At this point, it will basically be a part-time commitment from the two of us, but something that we’re still both motivated by and interested in and fully dedicated to.”
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.