Made in Vancouver is a collaboration between Vancity and Daily Hive. Together, we shine the spotlight on local businesses, organizations and individuals who help create a healthy local economy.
Developing organic relationships with other local shops and businesses is why supporting the local is so important. Local businesses also support the local!
It was precisely for this purpose that Ted Nakayama started his business, working with companies like The Goodlad Clothing and Greyhearts Denim in Kelowna.
He believes in creating high quality clothing that is durable and will last for more than a season, ideally allowing customers to take our clothes out on an adventure and truly experience the beauty that Vancouver offers while wearing them.
Pool runners is a family business that creates all the jackets and pants from the heart of Vancouver.
Vancity has supported people in our communities since 1946, such as local artists. As part of our Made in Vancouver series highlighting local businesses, we talked at Tadao (Ted) Nakayama on having a family clothing business in the heart of Vancouver.
“Because our chief designer is Japanese, we are heavily influenced to mix Japanese craftsmanship with vintage French workwear and military clothing, ”Nakayama told Daily Hive, explaining where much of the inspiration comes from. .
All products are built to last, with premium products and high quality fabrics all made in Canada.
“My work aims to inspire adventure while maintaining style, ”said Nakayama. “Get out there and live the life.”
And living the life is the raison d’être of this team. The Founder and Chief Designer is an award-winning skateboarder who still enjoys doing it every week for over 50s.
Japanese, fashion and skateboarding influences are all apparent in the various styles, making this something quite unique yet appealing to many.
“I am inspired by Japanese designers and the fashion industry in general, the one that strikes me is Yamamoto Kansai, but also snowboarders and skateboarders like Burt Lamar and Jay Adams who have inspired me to pursue and refine my skills. in skateboarding, ”Nakayama said. .
It is probably this passion and this quest to hone his skills that Nakayama uses today as an entrepreneur. Every business owner, especially at the local level, has a different story with unique experience and various support systems.
“I came from Japan around 20 years old [ago]”Nakayama said.” In Japan I actually went to a design school to become an architect. These dreams didn’t come true for family reasons and I ended up running a restaurant in Japan and here. after I turned 50, I quickly realized that I wanted to use my artistic skills again and that manifested itself in creating this designer clothing brand.
It’s clear that Nakayama has a lot of passion and talent, and it’s so cool to see the accumulation of his experiences into a popular store in Vancouver.
“I am very lucky to have such a supportive family,” Nakayama continued.
“My wife encouraged me to start this business after seeing how much I no longer liked running the restaurant and my daughter also helps me with the more technical tasks. Now I’m focused on building that local brand and building a presence in other parts of Canada as well, ”he added.
Vancouver is a great city to create that much needed presence in the retail space. It’s a big city, the people here love to support the locals, and we have a thriving arts scene, and Nakayama knows that well.
“Styles and trends change, but I always feel like it’s going backwards, ”Nakayama said. “The reason vintage is such an inspiration to me is because fashion is a cycle and the most classic pieces have such beautiful lines and designs,” he added.
While opening your clothing store in a city like Vancouver has many benefits, there are still challenges ahead.
“Especially for clothing, there are a limited number of menswear stores in Vancouver, ”said Nakayama. “There are a lot of stores that offer clothing for women but less for men and so we had to move towards a more unisex style to try to capture a larger audience,” he added.
Mainly making socks and denim jackets, Pool runners is a brand that looks laid back and cool – which makes sense, as does Ted Nakayama.
“I’m not really sure! he said. “It was a pleasure to be able to develop my brand and also to live in Vancouver with so many places to go out,” added Nakayama.