This article previously appeared on News at Northeastern. It was written by David Harbeck.
When Eric Hui moved from Hawaii to Boston, he couldn’t find the right winter jacket. He wanted something that was comfortable to wear around the city, but still tough and durable enough for weekend ski trips. So he decided to make his own.
In 2016, Hui, a graduate of Northeastern, launched Terracea, an apparel company focused on outerwear that can be worn in the office and outdoors.
“Our niche is making everyday lifestyle apparel that is still technical enough to be worn for snow sports,” says Hui.
At Northeastern, Hui majored in supply chain management. He says the MBA program helped prepare him for running his own business. “I learned about balancing a budget, international shipping, custom duties, and warehousing,” says Hui. “The MBA program definitely prepared me.”
Hui says that expensive, high-end jackets made for intense outdoor excursions tend to be waterproof and warm, but not practical for daily wear. Low-end, casual winter jackets, on the other hand, are not sufficiently waterproof to survive a weekend of skiing, he says.
Hui says his company occupies a middle ground between those options. But how does one make a jacket strong enough to handle snow sports, yet comfortable enough for urban life?
Hui’s solution: Combine two sets of requirements. First, his jackets must be waterproofed with fully taped seams, windproof, and insulated. This makes staying warm and dry easy. Secondly, Hui focuses on breathability, stretch, and quietness.
Hui says that a lot of apparel companies don’t put any thought into the noise that jackets make. When he worked at State Street Corporation in Boston, he hated the loud noise the Velcro fasteners on his jacket made in the office. So when he created Terracea, he decided to incorporate magnets to keep the jackets quiet.
“Why have one jacket you only wear on the weekends and another jacket for the weekdays?” says Hui. “A great jacket should be able to travel with you, wherever you go.”