Don’t say menswear and podcasting don’t mix.
Washington, D.C.-based clothing company Hugh & Crye has made a name for itself with its unique dress shirts. But the company’s tight focus on clothing doesn’t mean it isn’t looking for new ways to support fellow entrepreneurs. In addition to his position as CEO and founder of the company, Pranav Vora runs The Protagonist Podcast, a regular feature on the Hugh & Crye website that features interviews with people doing interesting things in the entrepreneurial space.
Content creation has become a key area of brand expansion for companies, although podcasting remains a largely underused arena at this point. Digital and print magazines, like NET-A-PORTER’s PORTER and The Edit, have proliferated. But The Protagonist is unique, harnessing the popularity of podcasts to add another, audio facet to the Hugh & Crye marekting strategy.
For CEO Vora, the podcast is in part aspirational, speaking to what the company sees as the Hugh & Crye customer.
“The Protagonist is an emerging persona for our customer,” said Vora, a devout podcast listener and fan of the longform interview. “It’s who we want to be, and it’s a journey of self-improvement. Someone who lives a very active, authentic and socially connected life. The Protagonist Podcast is one manifestation of this idea. We’re going to keep building on this.”
Although Hugh & Crye is a clothing company, Vora sees a space for the kind of knowledge sharing The Protagonist provides for listeners. Inspired in part by his own experience starting a company, Vora saw an opportunity to support those starting business of their own and demystifying the often demanding process.
“As a founder, I’m innately aware of how hard it is conceive, launch and run a startup,” he said. “The podcast was an opportunity to tell the stories of my peers who are doing great things, but also for me to lift up from the day-to-day and connect with others who I share much in common with.”
Vora also doesn’t limit interviews to those working in clothing.
The company’s D.C. location has made the city’s tech and entrepreneurial scene the main focus, but Vora hopes to change that as time goes on. A sample of recent interviewees includes Joel Holland of VideoBlocks, FiscalNote’s Tim Hwang and Power Supply’s Patrick Smith. Vora sees The Protagonist as a way to celebrate those who are making waves in their field and doing something unique.
“I look for doers and operators,” Vora said. “People who have vision of what they want to do in the world, but are relentlessly dedicated. People often see startups and entrepreneurship as exciting and fun and growth and money — which they can be. But they’re also often the most difficult thing these individuals have done in their lives.”