There is something to be said for brands that started out before it was trendy to start out. There are a ton of amazing brands out there focused on repping cities, provinces, and countries. If people look in my closet they definitely can pin point where I live just by reading the graphics. Ole Originals was founded in 2008, way before all brands were finding cool ways to rep a city; it was even before Instagram and that my friends was a long time ago.
I met Chandler Herbut at an In-and-Out burger spot in Hollywood trying to find somewhere to sit and eat my mediocre burger in the blazing heat. I’ve been following Ole Originals ever since, and am super impressed by the brand’s success and Chandler’s dedication to staying true to what the brand was founded on. I recently (I know, why did it take so long) chatted with him about his company, where is came from and what we can expect next from Ole Originals.
After graduating from business school, Chandler packed up a U-Haul and moved from Edmonton, out to the coast landing a job at a graphic design company in Vancouver. Not really the dream job, Chandler realized he would rather work for himself and started Make It Craft Fair with his sister and developed Ole Originals. I know you’ve all been reading it OLAY in your head, but it’s really pronounced OLEE, Chandlers middle name. “People always think it’s Ole with and accent, but as long as they know how to spell it I don’t really care.” Ole is short for Olof which was the name of his Grandpa from Sweden
Thank god the phase has past, but Ed Hardy shirts played a role in inspiring what became Ole: “I just wasn’t a fan of sparkles on my clothing, so I wanted to create a t-shirt line with simple retro designs on premium slim fitting shirts.” It was a simple idea with basic designs, but back in 08 there wasn’t much like it.
Like most other West Coast cities, Vancouverites have a pretty casual style. “They are also very proud of their city and when I developed the places line I quickly learned how passionate they were to rep their city. We launched our Retro Vancouver design many years back and soon developed simple retro designs for many places across Canada.”
When it comes to owning the business, the most rewarding parts are turning a concept into reality and when people are wearing Ole Originals in public. There are many moving parts to a business. The biggest challenge, for Chandler, is keeping all those parts moving efficiently and cohesively. His advice to other entrepreneurs? “Only start something you’re passionate about. Have a plan. Don’t over estimate what you can do in a short amount of time, but also don’t underestimate what you can do years. It’s not a race.”
“We’ve worked hard to get Ole to where it’s at and I’m fortunate to have the lifestyle I want. My motivation comes from continuing to live the life I want, travel, not having to answer to a boss and I feel our designs bring the community together. A proud community is a strong community, which is why we design graphics for places in Canada that people are proud to rep.”
Recently, Chandler sold his shares at Make It and can finally spend all his energy at one company. Keep your eyes peeled for more designs in the places line with goal of developing designs for most places in North America.
Photos by Deanna Antony