James Simpson: Co-Founder of Opus Fresh Apparel Co & Freshly Ground Creative

My NativeAdVantage:


James is Co founder of Opus Fresh Apparel Co and Freshly Ground Creative. An entrepreneurial creative and part time athlete. Passionate about design, film, the outdoors, creativity and business. After a career as a national representative athlete, he founded Freshly Ground Creative & Opus Fresh Apparel Company, acquiring broad skills and experience from concept to market in both product and service based industries.

His education includes graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce and a Graduate Diploma in Marketing and Management from the University of Otago. While employed in various roles, went on to complete one year diplomas and certificate qualifications in Film & Television Production, Graphic Design & Motion Graphic Design respectively. Also holds a Diploma in Exercise Prescription, has represented New Zealand in white water kayaking and was a university games gold medalist in snow skiing. Work history includes contracts as a ski instructor, TV presenter, hole digger & dish washer.

What’s Your NativeAdVantage:

What do you do best?

I'm pretty good with ideas and concepts. Developing and designing the overall aesthetic/story/message for our brand or a clients brand using an appropriate 'voice' is probably my biggest strength. I'm also pretty honest and straight up, so theres not much 'beating around the bush' even if I end up being wrong, I'm happy to accept that and am pretty comfortable giving my instinctual/honest opinion. 

What makes you the best?

I feel kind of awkward answering this one... I guess having the knowledge that I'm not the best makes me the best…? I certainly believe in my gut and have developed a good sense of my instinct for business and creativity (probably through failure), but over the years of collaboration with some incredibly talented and smart people I'm under no illusion that my ideas are the best. I'm always striving for that final 5% in any project, to make it as good as it can be, but I'm totally comfortable with the fact that my colleagues may have the better solution on the day. 

How will you become the best?

I come from a background in competitive sports so I tend to employ the same mentality for my businesses: Train (work), rest, repeat. I feel like I'm not naturally good at most things, so I believe in the practice makes perfect mentality. I'm aiming at clocking my 10,000 hours in business and design as we speak. I'm a big believer in mastery, I've experienced it to some degree through sport in the past and have seen clear evidence of it in my peers. When they have done their time, their confidence and as a result performance ascends to a new level (or is it the other way around)…

What are your aspirations?

Personal: To become more comfortable in myself as an entrepreneur, even to the point of feeling comfortable calling myself an entrepreneur. I used to feel that way in sport as an 'athlete', but at this stage of my business career I feel like a bit of a minnow so am just focussed on learning and growing as much as possible. I also want to try to gain a balance between business (or work), physical health and leisure time, that also includes making more time for my family and friends, I have a tendency to bury myself in work and not connect with the people I love as much as I should.

Business: Just to continue to grow what we have started, to continue to collaborate on exciting new projects with talented people and learn more about how our businesses can make a positive change to the environment or spread positive messages socially.

What fascinates you?

Conciseness and our place in the universe. 



All you need is a dollar and a dream. 


Too many to mention, I have been effected by some amazingly talented and giving mentors over the years (all of which have put up with my perplexing nature).

My Dad: He always questions my actions and holds me accountable to a high standard, he's my harshest critic as well as my biggest supporter.


Hakuba, Japan.

Southern Alps, New Zealand.

Taupo/Rotorua, New Zealand.

Banff, Canada.


New Zealand Merino.

Adobe Creative Suite, Final Cut Pro/X - Absolutely essential tools in a lean start up.

Go Pro - that camera changed the landscape of filmmaking, especially in the action sports space.

Cinema cameras are always changing so no specific model - something with good colour depth and high frame rates…

Craft beer -  there are some absolutely beautiful beers coming out of the craft beer race at the moment.

Wellington coffee - essential for start ups and creative pursuits.


Design, film, the outdoors, travel, sports… Good food, good beer/wine, good company.