“Marketing is like asking someone on a date. Branding is the reason they say yes. Customer experience is why they keep coming back for more.”

We are here today with the absolute legend Sam Moore, who is the creator of Pyra, a technical apparel brand grounded with the purpose to unite your outdoor experience with functional designs that can withstand the elements. But that is not all!

Sam has also been behind some of the coolest brands, such as Runaway Motel, which was the brainchild of mega famous choreographer Paris Gobel, and Mindful Department which was a Women’s streetwear brand that he developed from the ground up in collaboration with Accent Group created (which I have a few pieces from) as well as Dead Studios, Black Scale and The People Vs.

Sam Moore

SS: Who is Sam Moore the person?

SM: That’s a tough question to answer because I’m a lot of things. I’m a designer, entrepreneur, Skier, DJ, Tennis player, all things outdoor sports, outdoor enthusiast, but most of all I’m a brand builder.

SS: Where did you start your career?

SM: I studied graphic design at University in Otago in New Zealand after I finished high school. It’s funny because I didn’t actually know what I wanted to do when I was finishing high school – I spoke to one of my friends and he said he was doing graphic design. I asked “is it easy?” and my friend said “yeah it’s pretty easy”. So I decided to do graphic design. In hindsight I honestly think I could have learned everything I learned at Uni online at a fraction of the price. How ever I did make some great life long friends.

SS: What made you transition into fashion design?

SM: My first job in the industry was a graphic designer for surf brands Volcom and Mambo, so naturally I learned about the apparel development side of the job. My roles thereafter I was head designer for General Pants, which was great as I was able to travel the world as a buyer, but most importantly I got to design 300+ styles a year, which really gave me the skills to understand the consumer and what commerical products looked like.

SS: How did you make such a drastic jump from graphic designer to head designer at General Pants?

SM: I was lucky to get the position as head designer at General Pants and was completely thrown into the deep end. But it was my prior experience of learning design across so many different brands and categories that gave me the leg up into such a prominent position at General Pants. I learned everything on the job, from apparel range planning, fabric selection, costings, buying, production, working with factories, marketing — it was such a good experience.

SS: Tell us about Dead Studios and how you forged a relationship with Culture Kings to eventually sell it to them?

SM: I created Dead studios when I was about 22 years old and ran it for around 6 years. I was working full time when I created Dead Studios and managed to scale the brand to about $300k in a really short time as a side hustle. I realised I had something and was confident once I reached that number that I could take the leap to work on it full time. Once I was on the brand full time the brand then quickly scaled to 7 figures. It was so obvious how my time and efforts on the business rapidly increased the revenue.

Dead Studios was boot-strapped on a shoestring budget. It started with a few graphic t-shirts which I published on Tumblr and instagram, which were the popular platforms back in 2012 – Tumblr could go viral if your content was engaging enough. One of my t-shirts went viral on Tumblr and caught the attention of some pretty amazing celebrities. From there I got the product on Kylie Jenner a few times with our tights, then all of a sudden all the Kardashians were wearing the brand. Getting the product on these big names was key to scaling the brand so fast.

After running the brand for about 6 years, the rapid scaling wholesaling side of the business meant I needed more capital to maintain a strong cash flow. When you run a Direct to Consumer brand it’s easier and requires less capital, but once you scale wholesale the period of time between seeing cash out to pay for stock, then cash in from wholesale accounts is a lot longer. It got to a point where I needed an exit plan as I and wanted someone who could add the most value to the brand, which was Culture Kings.

SS: What did the sale of Dead Studios to Culture Kings entail?

SM: We were already wholesaling Dead Studios into Culture Kings, so that relationship had already been built with them. I felt that out of any retailer they were the best in the business for Dead Studios, plus given the amazing business they had built already, it was a no brainer decision.

SS: How did you forge relationships with such big names (celebrity and big retail groups)?

SM: The relationships I built were forged mostly through places I had worked. For example I got the gig doing Mindful department with Accent via an existing relationship with someone I knew who was working at Accent. They contacted me directly offering me the opportunity to work on developing the brand. These relationships have come naturally and never forced, because I genuinely thrive off collaboration and maintaining relationships both past and present. The celebrity and influencer relationships I build mostly whilst working with Culture Kings – I met so many people via my connections there.

SS: Tell us about the work you’ve done for other people/brands?

SM: Being an entrepreneur I design about 5% of the time, so working on other brands in between jobs and on the side gives me a creative outlet from my day to day. It also means I get to collaborate with people and create products that I might not otherwise with Pyra. For example, I’ve worked on smaller brands like Runaway Motel which was Paris Gobel’s women’s activewear brand (Stacked: if you don’t know who Paris Gobel is, she is one of the most famous choreographers who worked with J-lo on the Superbowl and Rihanna on her Savage x Fenty video campaigns as well as the Superbowl). I also worked on a brand called Mindful Dept. which was a vertical brand within the Accent group. I created the Mindful brand from the inception through to building the ranges to production. The brand was super successful and scaled to 7 figures within 12 months, but Accent decided to close the brand after about 2 years.

SS: What made you start Pyra?

SM: Being a lover of the outdoors, and growing up in NZ and spending a lot of time in the mountains, I knew what good quality technical apparel was about. For me, I felt like there was an opportunity to design a outdoors inspire brand with a streetwear influence, one that sits between heritage brands like North Face & Patagonia and streetwear brands like Supreme & Stussy – It was clear I needed to bridge the gap between functional/ technical outerwear and streetwear. Insert Pyra, which is exactly that – a technical apparel brand infused with a streetwear aesthetic.


SS: Where did the name Pyra come from?

SM: The name was tough to come up with when I was thinking about it too much, but then one day I was driving past a billboard and it said PYRAMID, with ‘PYRA’ stacked on top of ‘MID’. This was perfect because I had a criteria of the name being a 4-letter word, as it’s symmetrical and is aesthetically pleasing to the eye when branding apparel. Also, the word ‘Pyra’ in Ancient Greek is born of flame or fire, which is one of 4 elements (water, earth, air, fire), so it was perfect. As soon as I realised that was the name I trademarked it and locked in the domain.

SS: Pyra is purpose driven – are there other brands in your niche who aren’t purpose driven that are commercially successful? If so, what do you think makes them successful?

SM: There are definitely brands that exist that are commercially successful and which don’t have a super clear purpose. A few come to mind that were able to capitalise on their existing network, but the ones that I believe have the best chance at longevity are brands with a super clear DNA, purpose, mission and values. This is the absolute foundation of a brand, and what guides all movements and strategies a brand makes. Otherwise you’re just a retailer selling copies of other people’s ideas.

SS: Have you identified gaps that you want to tap into in your niche? (plug a product that’s going to market?

SM: We are really pushing into sports technical products and also our new outerwear programme, in particular our new puffer jacket which I’ve spent a long time developing. It’s water resistant, thermal, functional and has all the key ingredients that make a technical jacket function, but with all the style and qualities the Pyra customer loves.

SS: You have a lot of knowledge in brand marketing – we actually referenced you in one of our last podcast episodes. You said in one of your Tik Tok posts: “Marketing is like asking someone on a date. Branding is the reason they say yes, and customer experience is why they keep coming back for more and stay” We love this so much!

SS: How did you learn about brand marketing?

SM: Most of my learnings came from working in the roles where I was exposed to the whole end to end process of developing a brand. Creating my own brand from the early age of 22 and having to learn as it grew meant I was doing a lot of research online, talking to people and just pure trial. I say to people, I did an MBA through running my own brand!

SS: What is ‘brand’ to you?

SM: Brand is how it feels when you think of the brand.

SS: What are the top 3 things that create a strong brand? (community, honing into your niche, consistency, context)

SM: Community: we are an outdoors brand so we bring our community into what our mission is. These days you can’t just sell products because people disengage with that – more than ever people want to feel like they’re part of something that has value beyond the product. A lot to do with this and what Pyra is focusing on more is founder led content, which gives our audience insight into behind the scenes of how I work and build ranges, as well as educational content which has high engagement on social media because it’s valuable. We generally focus on this more “raw’ style of content on Tik Tok and have instagram as more of a store front aesthetically pleasing feed. But now when we run ads we are using the founder’s value led content due to its high engagement and deeper connection it has with the audience.

SM: Niche: the market is so saturated – if you try to sell to everyone you essentially sell to no one. It’s important to carve out that niche to ensure your marketing strategy is focused. Be crystal clear on the mission, vision, and values that make up your brand – these are the building blocks and infrastructure that make up your brand DNA. When you are clear on that nothing can shake you in the market.

SM: Consistency: When you have a solid brand DNA you have a clear path when it comes to showing up with your tone of voice, visual identity, the context of where your brand shows up and who shows up! We are an outdoors brand, so we place our product in the appropriate context and highlight the location in all of our campaigns, which also educates our audience as to what location that can hike next and what wearing Pyra looks like in that context 🙂

SS: If you were to give one piece of advice to someone starting a new brand, what would it be?

SM: Find your niche in the market and stand for that. If you sell to everyone you sell to no one.. niche down, own that space and be an expert in it so people will come to you when they think of (in my case) technical outdoor wear.

SS: As someone who is ambitious and successful, what is one thing that keeps you grounded, balanced and focused?

SM: My wife! For anyone who doesn’t know Sam’s wife, she is a powerhouse in her own right working with brands like CSB’s pop-ups.

For staying focused and keeping myself in check, during my idle time such as when I’m driving, I like to stay in the know and listen to podcasts. Naturally I like to stay hungry and keep learning and bettering myself.

You can find Sam Moore on socials at:

Tik Tok – @Pyra | Sam Moore

Instagram – @Pyra_

Website –