Andy Jordan made the headlines on Made In Chelsea.
These days, he’s switched south-west London for the south-west coastline, enjoying a life of surf and simplicity, alongside running his clothing brand and music career.
Speaking to Square Mile while driving between stores in his Audi A4 S-Line (the 1989 Jeep Wrangler wasn’t suitable), Andy takes us through his life since the show.
Fair to say, he's been busy...
On Jam Industries...
You're co-founder of Jam Industries... How did it start?
My brother and I always wanted to do it. I do the creative stuff, my brother is in charge of literally everything else.
I was working in the City as a broker, but I'd spend most of my days designing this brand. I've always been a passionate surfer and when younger, at any given opportunity I'd be leaving London to go surfing, and I didn't feel like there was any brand that catered for that journey. The surf brands were too surf, and nobody likes finance clothing. I wanted something more fashionable. So I came up with the tagline 'bridging the gap between City and Sea'.
We both quit our jobs, and started off with £4000. Most of that went on a crappy website which we then replaced. Beyond that, we had two t-shirts and a hoodie and just went about selling them anywhere we were allowed to. That's all you can do, stand on two feet and get selling: school fairs and trade shows were good for us to begin with. There was also a lot of sofa surfing as opposed to the surfing we like to do!
My advice to any guy with fashion queries is to make sure the shoes are great
Describe your personal style
I used to just buy what I liked, but I've gotten older I've refined a personal style as a result of those purchases. A lot of the most fashionable people across time haven't tried very hard with their style. Look at James Dean, he never wore anything outlandish. Effortless is the way forward: if you're going to wear a suit, do it properly, but that shouldn't be worn often.
A lot of it is about understanding colours and fabrics. People say not to wear black and blue, but the right blue looks amazing with black. Similarly, a black t-shirt with denim is classic. Also dressing from the bottom up. Shoes are the most important part of an outfit for me (or no shoes, as it is today). My advice to any guy with fashion queries is to make sure the shoes are great, they can make a £10 pair of trousers look £1000. Shoes should be the most expensive part of an outfit.
Tell us more about the brand and its direction
We've sort of rebelled against marketing advice of having very specific age groups and multiple collections throughout the year. It doesn’t make sense to us, why would we just target 30-33 year olds when I can reach an extra 50 million people by targeting everyone? What we do is a lot of classic pieces. English woollen fishing jumpers, for example, which are timeless and our buyers range from 16 to 60 years old.
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You also write music, do your creative processes feed into each other?
When I'm designing a collection I'll usually write a story, from that I'll usually write a song too. So I have a narrative and a soundtrack for it, and then I'll start sketching. For AW19, the collection's story is called 'Hibernation' and the concept is about finding the person you love and light a fire and don't leave, because you don't need anything else. I think we live in a society where we consume too much. We forget about the simple things that make us happy.
And how is business?
It's good, we're super busy, and on a good growth path. Of course, It's been tricky piecing it all together in the way we wanted to, we started around six years ago, and now we have a good team around us, while still doing things our way, so you'll start seeing more and more of the brand around.
My dream is to be a full lifestyle brand, from seaside hotels with our own home-wear, to a travel operator
What's your brother like to work with?
We don't like titles, they create a lot of ego, but he's what you'd consider a CEO. It's really nice because his strengths are my weaknesses, and vice versa. He's calculated, able to problem solve, and able to go 'right, Andy's brain is over there somewhere, how do we make a path to get there'. He's also incredibly disciplined: I've accidentally tapped into the tube with my corporate card before and he was on the phone straight away. So it works very well.
What's the end goal?
Well we've always had a slow-and-steady philosophy. Outside of Devon and Cornwall, most people still don't know us, which is great really, because no matter how much you think you know, you'll always underestimate how much you have to learn. Our targets are simple: if it's doing better than last year, we're happy.
My goal is to have to be at home more, because I spend my life in the car. My dream is for it to be a full lifestyle brand, from seaside hotels with our own home-wear, to a travel operator to get people down here. But we won't be rushing into anything, and we only ever want 5-6 stores in the UK so we're on the way: for now our business is clothes.
On making music...
How much of your time does the store take up then? Because I understand you've been in the studio recording too?
They're both full-time jobs. It's a tricky one to put an amount of hours on -- I don't really stop. I'm usually doing things for the clothing brands from 10-6 each day, I surf before that, and spend most evenings writing music.
You have new music out soon right?
Yes! A song called ‘It's Complicated’ coming out in September, which I'm really excited about. The sound I'm going for Is exactly the stuff I love listening too, sort of Norah Jones sounding. I'm calling it a winter warmer, you can put it on while chilling out with a glass of red wine. I don't really want to be associated with a genre, I write everything: I've recently written a dance track for a relatively big DJ, which is a million miles away from my stuff. the hardest thing is escaping the 'ex-Made in Chelsea' scrutiny, though.
Is it just the one song?
No, the plan is to release two EPs at some point in the near future. Some are a bit darker, and express less happy times, but there's a load of really happy songs too - probably because I'm doing well in myself and I'm in a happy relationship. So the latest ones are nicer and upbeat. They'll probably come out in the new year.
On life since Made in Chelsea…
How has everything changed?
The first two years were really tricky. I was working really hard on the business, with little money, trying to make £800 last two months. But the rest of the world thought I was a Trustafarian. Basically anything I did was discredited, because 'I was rich', and it had a huge mental toll on me. It was a bloody TV show, people are living under a rock if they think it's 100% rich kids on those shows. I did go to a nice school and all that, but it was mentally so hard to have everyone think you're the richest man in the room because TV showed you out to be one, when there's actually nothing in your account.
I'm fortunate that I have a really good group of mates who have known me for a long time and know the truth. There's also such a culture around surfing that is free of ego, you leave your personal lives on the beach and get in the water. I have best friends from quite literally all walks of life, and none of them have ever given two shits about me having been on TV. If it wasn't for my close friends, siblings and parents, I'd have had a really rough time.
That's my main issue with reality TV, why I think it's so immoral. People don't understand that you have no control over the character you're edited into on the other side of the TV.
Let's say you're a croissant that's just come out of the oven and is being packaged up. You have no control over whether you're going to be in wholefoods or Morrisons, that journey is done for you! [laughs at his absurd analogy] If you're the croissant, you might get dunked in sugar and you don't even like sugar, and you're suddenly on the fat-boy counter in Morrisons. That's the hardest part of it. The editing totally changes you.
They have to make a story out of it, and fair enough, that is their job, they do it well. But I think it is quite sad watching people go through the process who don't understand that what goes out on tele is not what they think will was filmed.
Too many people have died because of reality shows. I was amazed that Love Island wasn't cancelled
You said you don't watch TV: have you seen any of Geordie Shore or Love Island?
Not at all. In fact, I've explained all of this in detail to my girlfriend and she now can't deal with turning it on either. I do watch other TV, I'm halfway through The Great Hack, the documentary about data and Cambridge Analytica, and I love movies. I laugh and cry at the characters in movies, but the nice thing there is they can go home, they don't have to be that character for the rest of their life.
In reality TV, you do go in as you, but you leave half fictional, half real. And then you get confused about your whole identity. Of course, that's the key to their success too - people watch the shows out of intrigue because you're thinking 'do they actually behave like this'.
But yeah, I don't watch any of them. Too many people have died because of them. I was amazed that Love Island wasn't cancelled, it had double the amount of death-related incidents of Jeremy Kyle. I don't understand how ITV decided on that? It doesn't add up in my book. From the outside looking in it looks like they cut one show because it didn't have good ratings anymore, whereas the other makes them a lot of money, though I could be wrong.
When you were on the show, were you enjoying it?
Yeah, I was 24, when you're that age, doing whatever you want is a lot of fun. The complexities of it all kicked in later, when I was 26 and wanted to settle. And the characters on these shows are just getting younger and younger, it is dangerous.
Are you still in touch with any of the people from the show?
Yeah I am actually. I won't mention who, but a few of them have gone through similar highs and lows. A load of people have had these problems. I think it's something we're bad at in this country: we give things a label and we'll never allow it to fully come off.
Drake, for example, was on a pretty dodgy TV show in Canada before he made music. The Canadians and Americans don't care, they support him. In England we have this more negative attitude which says you can't do something because you used to do something else. People also don't know how to speak to me here, because they aren't sure if i'm a singer or a TV personality, they can't comprehend being both. and why shouldn't we be able to do that? And not be 'that Made in Chelsea idiot who now sings'.
There's a reason the expression 'don't judge a book by its cover' has existed for centuries.
Working hard is what makes you feel good, if you just chase pay cheques, you get lost
How are things with your girlfriend?
Amazing, best relationship I've ever had - it'd be worrying if I didn't say that wouldn’t it? I think it's a testament to the fact that we met at the right time in our lives. I was happy, confident, single and very able to say to her 'this is who I am, take it or leave it' and I had the same back from her. So we have a huge amount of respect for each other,
She also understands how time-poor I am. For me, if I see a day off I'm booking a studio. And she likes that, and encourages me to do my thing. I see her afterwards, of course. It's a really healthy relationship, we've yet to have an argument... I'm sure we will one day. I certainly hope she's the last girlfriend I'll ever have.
And how are you feeling about life personally?
I'm great thanks. I've started from the bottom again. When I had my breakdown, my mum put me to work in her garden, she had me build a wall. So I built the wall. That was the first step, I built a wall and went 'oh, I can do this'. From there I just kept my head down, working away at the goal I had in mind. Everything else kind of falls into place when you do that.
Instead of spending five days a week at work doing something I don't really enjoy, like most people - I spend 100% of my time doing what I love, so I'm always enjoying. Of course there's dedication and a hard graft needed. I'm 30 now, and I want to be doing this at 60, just with a few more hit records, tours and stores under my belt. I'm going for the Rod Stewart, kicking around the stages in my older years.
Working hard is what makes you feel good, if you just chase pay cheques, you get lost. Life is all about satisfaction, even when I'm mopping the shop floor, I know I've earned my glass of wine. I've learned to measure success differently now: I see it as satisfaction and self-appreciation, not how much money is in my bank account, which is good because there's not much in there.
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It’s Complicated comes out in Mid-September / jam-industries.co.uk