I’m excited to share the latest addition to the Meet the Business series. Poketo is a boutique based in Los Angeles that specializes in “design-driven” wares. I would call it my own little heaven. I visited both the flagship and the newest location at the Line Hotel and knew I needed to know more about the couple behind the business.
Poketo was founded by a husband-and-wife team, Angie Myung and Ted Vadakan. It first opened its doors in June 2012 and has since collaborated with many major brands and artists to create one of a kind goods only available through Poketo. Without further ado let’s “meet the business”.
Please tell me a bit about yourselves and your backgrounds.
Angie is the Creative Director of Poketo and comes from a background in graphic design. Ted is the CEO and comes from a background in film.
The name, Poketo, came from Angie’s Korean grandmother’s mispronunciation of pocket. What an authentic way to name a business. Can you share a bit of what inspired you to start Poketo?
We were living in San Francisco at the time and had so many artist friends that we thought why not have an art show? We collaborated with a local artist on a line of vinyl wallets, which sold out the night of the opening. It spiraled from there and the rest is history!
What has been the most rewarding part of running this business?
Interacting with the local creative community and being able to support emerging artists and designers.
Can you share with us a significant roadblock or growing pain that you have experienced along the way? How did you get past it?
For the first few years, we were operating Poketo entirely by ourselves. We now have nearly twenty employees and counting. There is a lot of letting go involved when handing off responsibilities as a business owner, and a lot of trust to be built, but we are lucky to have an amazing team that keeps getting stronger.
Do you have any words of wisdom for someone just getting their start?
Don’t give up! It’s a long road and the rewards can be few and far between, but in the end it’s worth it.
You have had the opportunity to collaborate with some very big names, Target and Nike to name a few. How did you approach these collaborations while staying authentic to the Poketo brand?
Part of the beauty of the Poketo brand is how versatile it is. We can go from making limited-edition, handmade art objects with a local artist to collaborating on an exclusive line with a mega retailer such as Target without losing any integrity. Because we define the brand, we decide what is authentic for Poketo.
Running a business can be all consuming, what do you do as a couple and individually to escape work?
We own a small business! We work 24/7! No, just kidding. We have two shih tzus at home, so whenever we can we spend time with them. We also try to get out of the city for a night or two here and there, be it a weekend to jaunt to Big Sur or camping in Joshua Tree.
Portrait of Angie and Ted by Kourtney Jackson.