04 Nov 2020
“You know I’ve honestly been pretty normal, well not normal, but we’ve been working pretty actively in my office for awhile now. We do weekly testing. We have a lot of protocols in the office to keep people safe. And luckily, knock on wood, we haven't had any issues. So all around, I think it's really about how we keep each other safe, more than making sure that no one comes back into the office. But luckily, we’re also in a big open air loft kind of space so it allows for us to have that kind of environment."
“I think for the positive to be honest. You know, I think that when the pandemic happened, it kind of forced us to organize, have way more meetings and structure. We couldn't just go fly by night with ideas because we all now had to be sitting on computers, having meetings, coordinating, getting on the same page. So, you know I think when that all happened, it was a really good moment for our company to be challenged to think differently. I think also at the same time our online business catapulted in a big way and I think we just realized why not invest in ourself. I think a lot of times you get caught up in these ideas of all the cool stores and all this other stuff you can do. For me, it was a big eye opener of how we could really double down on us and see that investment come back."
“I definitely think that we are lucky to have a team that’s part of everything that we do. Every kid in my office, whether they are in a photoshoot or creating some kind of content, they are a part of submitting ideas of what we make. There is a really succinct 360 effect to what we have. A lot of companies have a separate warehouse, people who do they’re photoshoots, and all the things are separated. Where for us it's all under one roof, so when this all happened we were able to vertically operate 100%. So, it was a really interesting time and actually showed that we were in a good spot, we just needed to get more optimized and continue to get smarter. I mean obviously we’re fortunate to be in that position because I know a lot of people not so much. To me, it just depends on whether or not they were ready to innovate and I was lucky to have a great partner, someone who pushed to get organized because this was such an unknown thing."
“In Los Angeles now, yeah. I haven’t really gone much of anywhere except for Colorado once to go see my mom. I drove 16 hours."
“I would say that Chinatown Market was more influenced by New York City Chinatown. The idea of the stores, the t-shirts, the rapid commerce that happens. Not just the idea of bootlegging because I think that’s just the easy scapegoat of what Chinatown is. There are so many clever, fun, and amazing things that come out of these marketplaces that were always so interesting. Every day I'd be on my way to school or work and I’d go to appreciate the amount of different things that were coming out of these places. Every week, these dudes would have a new pun t-shirt that made fun of the most trend-based, new age thing. They were just on it, but they weren't getting the credit they deserve. So, it was kinda like a funny moment where I took a step back and thought ‘You know what? Some of these shirts are some of the most classic shirts ever’ because we’ve seen them since we were young. Now even the classic ‘I Love New York’ shirt, rest in peace Milton Glaser, but the other kind of funny ones, ‘I’m with stupid’ or whatever, obviously that one is a dumb shirt forever, bad example, but they’re a nostalgia point and really interesting in that sense."
“You know in the initial creation of the brand, it was the idea of that innovation and that constant creation that really inspired what we do. Looking at what Chinatown Market is today and it’s still what that is. We have an entire innovation lab, all of our kids are in there, always creating new things, we’re constantly putting out new ideas, and there's a new product created every single day. It's truly that kind of spirit that is what Chinatown Market is referencing. It’s not referencing Chinese culture. I think a lot of times there are misconceptions and I have to draw a clear line. It’s a very serious thing to me to be culturally sensitive and respectful of those things."
“Yes, but it’s also hard to stand out. Even online; everyone on Instagram is influencing each other in a way, and the algorithms push it even further.
I think there are definite risks in a lot of this, but it's a calculated risk. It's the idea of asking for forgiveness not for permission. For any young creative, I'm not trying to help you go bootleg, I'm more trying to say go shamelessly create what you believe needs to be created, and if you believe it needs to be created then go make it. If it needs to be made, then it needs to be made. I put a swoosh on a pair of Converse and we didn't make it so I could sell thousands of swoosh Converse, but it ended up on Lebron James. He wore it before the finals last year and it became this crazy moment and it was literally just a funny idea. I'm not the first one to do it actually, but it became a thing we’re now known for."
Mike and Erykah Badu.
“Honestly, this last one is the most proud I've been of a project coming together and being executed at the highest level. It was this Grateful Dead project we just did. Basically, we did everything, we bought a 1969 VW campervan, we got a guy to fully gut it, wrap the whole thing, fully custom, the entire interior was done too. It was one of these moments where we planned to essentially recreate the Grateful Dead experience where you go to these different spots and you can experience the music and buy this bootleg merch. The whole idea was how can we do that now during Covid-times? Go get a parking lot, only allow a certain amount of people, bring the van out and create an experience. I think with the Grateful Dead though it was also because...and I hate to keep saying Lebron James, but...Lebron James wore the stuff before one of the games again recently and it created a huge moment for us. I think being able to work with these iconic properties, as a brand like Chinatown Market while sure we're growing and building a bigger fan base or whatever, we're still tapping into a totally new crew of people that have never seen us before."
“The biggest thing to me, beyond just empowering the business side, is empowering these kids to make decisions, to step up and say stuff. When I was coming up, no one wanted to hear my opinion and no one wanted to get my thoughts, it was like, you do what we tell you and if we ask you then sure say something, otherwise shut up and go over there. While as our company grows there is a little bit of the ‘shut up and go over there’ because you can’t have 100 voices in everything, I do believe we created an environment where we have a team meeting every week, everyone submits an idea, we have a challenge, there's an ability for someone to walk over to the design area and say ‘I have an idea to do this’ and literally the next day we have a sample of it. To me, that’s the beauty of what we do. Anyone can affect our business. One of our warehouse kids came up with a t-shirt idea one time and we sold hundreds of units of it, and so it's like a beautiful moment where we were like ‘Yo dude, amazing! You literally came up with this in a team meeting and now look what happened, the shirt is real and now you can see your idea went from concept to creation."
“None have done it really well. They’re always lazy. I’m like come on man you can’t try this, do exactly what I did and not do it better. I'm going to be pretty critical, I had to sit in a New York City holding cell for a night. It's just ridiculous with any of those things, so, yeah it's definitely happened but it's always disappointing. Not to be a snob or anything, it's more like if you’re going to do some shit like that, go do it."
Let it burn.
Chinatown Market's office.
“When I dropped out of Parsons I was living in this person’s second bedroom and I was getting graphic design gigs off of Craigslist. I took the subway up to the Bronx, did this flyer for this cell phone store and it was a nightmare for 50 bucks. It's just funny to think about the things I would do to try to make some shit happen. I can’t say there was ever a time where I was like, I don't think I can do this. But I think there were so many times where I was like, no one cares. I think it's part of the self-deprecating thing you have to do to yourself to keep going. I always build up this idea that the ship is always sinking, so I have to keep pushing hard."
“I’m an introvert but extroverted in a comfortable setting."
“Well, I guess there's a beauty in the fact that Chinatown Market is not just me. Luckily, I'm not like the Willy Wonka, sure I'm technically a part of it and the leader of it, but I also believe it's about the community and the kids that work in my office and those guys are also going to become big things. It’s bigger than just me and at a certain point it's going to transcend me. At the core of what Chinatown Market was created on, you can say I was there, but it's going to transcend me because it's about the evolving culture of creativity and kids loving apparel. I try to make it less about the ego side of all these things because I also recognize and am grateful for the fact that I get to make clothes every day."
“You know, there’s companies like Teatora, a brand in Japan, and it’s really interesting because it's not designed for the modern runner or cyclist, it’s for the modern office worker who is sitting at a desk or flying on a plane. Everything is so functional and built for your everyday life and that's what I wear now because I want stuff that functions 100% for me. But usually I wear all black and a white pair of shoes. That's it. Every day the same thing. It almost looks like I’m wearing the same clothes every day. But, I literally have 50 t-shirts that are black and 4 pairs of these pants that I wear. I know it sounds psycho, but it's basically easy for me and I just like the way it looks."
“Uh yeah, I guess this is a funny one. Basically, I have this tattoo on my ribs. I did my grandmother’s name and I misspelled it. So, I went back two weeks later and I crossed it out and I redid the whole thing. So, that has always been one of those shameful moments in my life of like ‘goddamn it, why did I rush this?’ I called my mom for the spelling, wrote it down, and obviously didn't write it down correctly. I was probably distracted. So, yeah that's a fun story."
“A lot of architecture and Frank Gehry design where he takes really cheap materials and makes something really beautiful out of them. I don't know, just plants and cactuses and the idea of surrounding yourself with plant life and all those things. I was lucky enough to get a home this year and have a yard and plants around me. It's the biggest gift I've been able to have, somewhere I can truly have my own space and just be with me. I was in apartments for so long, sharing apartments, roommates, and like its nice to have peace."
20 Nov 2020
“The next goal is the World Championship this year in Rotterdam. So yeah, I want to become world champion because it’s for the home crowd. I don’t think there will be any crowd because of Coronavirus but still I really want to become world champion. Also because last year in March our World Champs got canceled because of the virus. So yeah, I want to be world champion again and the year after Olympic champion in at least one distance, maybe more. Maybe two gold medals or three gold medals. At least one."
“What really drives me is the gold. The feeling of winning the gold medal is the best thing ever. You train so hard the whole summer just for the feeling of crossing the finish line first. I scream my guts out when I win. That feeling really keeps me motivated and it’s like a drug. You want more and more and more."
“Yeah, it's all different. Normally, we get rest or go to camp or something like that. At this period right now, I would be in Calgary for 3 to 4 weeks for competition and enjoying the nice weather. But now we're in Holland and it's raining. I miss traveling and being abroad. But that’s the way it is."
“In the winter, we start traveling the first part of the season. October, November we always travel to America or Canada. End of November or beginning of December, we’re always in Asia like Korea, Shanghai, or somewhere in Japan. That’s 3 weeks abroad. After that, we stay in Europe. We do training camps and competitions. I miss the competition. That’s why we travel, we’re there to race. They help us stay motivated because we have a reason to train. There’s a goal."
“No, I’m based in Heerenveen. A really small village in the north of Holland. It’s like a 75 to 90 minute drive away from Amsterdam. I’m also from this part of Holland. I’m from the north, but my boyfriend lives in Amsterdam so I’m there a lot."
“Well, my parents live in the middle of nowhere with little canals around their house. So, they were like, ‘okay, if it's frozen in the winter you can do some speed skating’, and that’s how I learned to speed skate. That’s where it all started."
“First, my mom took me to see what kind of skating I wanted to do — speed skating, ice hockey, figure skating. So, for my first year of skating I did figure skating but I hated it because it was so boring and I wanted to do something different. All my friends from my village did speed skating so I did that instead."
“I wake up in the morning around 8. I go to the arena around 8:45. Start doing my warm up, sharpen my skates, and then I will be on the ice around 9:45 until 11:15 or 11:30. Then I go home, make my lunch, eat my lunch, maybe take a nap. Just chill. I go back to the arena to do weights or some cycling from 3 to 5. Then, I go home and eat at my parents place or make dinner for myself and my boyfriend. So, that's my day and that’s 6 days a week."
“On Sunday, I always rest. I watch television or sports, or maybe go drink coffee somewhere or go out for dinner in the evening. Just really chill."
“Yeah, that's hard. Sometimes you feel that you just don't have the legs to win. But you have to reorganize your race and come up with a different strategy or adjust it. And you have to believe in yourself, it’s the most important thing."
“I was really impressed the first time I went to the Olympic village. You eat all together in a big venue and see all the other countries and athletes like Lindsay Vonn, the super famous skier. It’s super cool to see all the different kinds of sports and all the athletes working towards the same goal."
“I feel really honored actually because in Holland it’s all about speed skating. It’s really a big thing. It’s really nice to skate in the suit and have the orange helmet. It feels really good to represent such a small country."
The orange helmet.
In the clouds.
“No. You have a routine in your warm up, but I’m not kissing something for luck or anything like that. I know some athletes have little things like always wearing the same underwear, but I don’t have anything."
“I’m the most comfortable in skates because I really know what I’m doing. I’m really in the zone. I feel the most confident when I’m wearing my skates and my suit because I know I’m the best at doing what I’m doing in the moment. When I’m in my shoes I’m also confident because I really have my own taste."
“It really depends. I really like clothes that aren’t too tight. Loose fit. I like boyfriend jeans and really love sweaters. I’m just living in sweaters. Sometimes I like hipster style too. I also love a really beautiful dress for a special night out. But most of the time, it’s all laid back and not too complicated. Just a nice sweater and boyfriend jeans and I’m a really happy person. Oh, and Dr. Martens too."
“Ooo. Well, I play piano. It’s funny because most athletes don’t know that I play piano. Most of the time I’m a really busy person, like, I react to everything and everybody. So, when I’m just sitting there and playing piano, people are surprised when they see me and say it doesn’t fit me. I also like to party. I really like to party but we can only do it at the end of the season."
“The most important thing is to stay focused. Don’t get distracted by side things.The only thing that matters is skating. All the press and photoshoots, of course it's nice and fun, but it's all about skating. The only thing that can really make you happy is skating a good race or earning a medal."
“I’m really inspired by athletes who become legends in their sport. That’s my inspiration, I want to achieve the same. To become a legend because I have so many medals. I want to be legendary. That would be really nice."