Meet Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, the creative couple behind iconic design and homeware brand Poketo.
Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung's tips for success
Being passionate about what you do is a great way to attract customers to your brand. Positivity and enthusiasm are infectious.
Being customer-centric and creating a strong community around your business will pay off, especially when you hit a bump in the road. Never underestimate the power of a loyal customer.
Give your customers options, wether it be in the products they buy or how they pay.
Iconic Los Angeles design and homeware brand Poketo first launched nearly 20 years ago, in 2003, but its mission hasn’t wavered since then.
“From day one, we’ve wanted to make art for everyday life,” says co-founder Ted Vadakan simply. “We want to make art that brings joy and color and fun.”
This month, he and partner and co-founder Angie Myung feature in Afterpay’s Make it your way series, which celebrates small business owners forging their own paths and building brands that align with their principles and passions.
Make it fun
With Poketo’s focus on creating art that’s fun and joyful, it’s apt that the brand’s origins can be traced back to a party in 2003.
At the time, Vadakan and Myung were working in film and graphic design, respectively, and noticed that lots of their talented, creative friends were struggling to sell their art.
“So, we decided: ‘Ok, let’s throw a big show and invite our friends to showcase their handcrafted work,’” says Myung.
“We really just wanted to throw a big party,” adds Vadakan. “So, we rented a gallery space, invited our community and our friends and got everyone together.”
The pair also created a line of wallets featuring their friends’ artwork to sell at the party – and to their surprise, they all sold out. “That was like a lightbulb moment for us,” says Vadakan.
From there, the pair began designing more wallets, as well as apparel, stationery and eventually homeware.
Make it colourful
The business was launched from the couple’s apartment and, at first, they would door-knock their favorite stores, looking for stockists. Then, in 2012, they opened their first store, and eventually a second location in LA.
Poketo is known for its clean, distinctive design. “Our aesthetic is fun, bold and colorful,” says Vadakan. “It’s minimal, but not boring,” adds Myung.
“I think our products make people feel happy.”
Make it customer-centric
Today, Poketo has customers and fans across the US - and the world - but it was only during the pandemic that Vadakan and Myung truly understood the power of their community. “Even though we had to constantly pivot and make tough business decisions this year … we actually had so much support online. And [it was incredible] to see our customers come out and support us… whether it was messages via Instagram saying, ‘Keep going guys’ or even just the orders.
“Our community is just so loyal and dedicated… and so that drives us to do better."
Make it with Afterpay
The business brought on Afterpay to offer customers more payment options. “We’re always trying to give our customers the best experience possible,” says Vadakan. “We love the idea that people can buy something right away but that it can still be easy on their pocketbook. It just gives our customers another option.
“And it’s great for small business cash flow too.”