We have a little shop talk with Jonathan Seah, who along with Hannah Chau, owns Chook Clothing Co. to share. Chook Clothing sells sweaters, hoodies, jackets, jerseys, hats, tees, shoes and accessories including their own house brand Chook. It began as a pop up shop, and is now located in Osborne Village. Focused on a community, and customer experience, Johnathan and Hannah believe in thoughtful packaging, engaging with its customers, and sharing images of Chook customers.
Chook first gained traction by joining a few hundred strategically related online forums: groups associated with skateboarding, art and urban culture. Now, his online shop (built with Shopify), and solid social media strategy (over 10K followers on Facebook and Twitter, and over 15K on Instagram), Chook’s brand is international extending into the United States, the United Kingdom, Morocco, Brazil, and Singapore, where Johnathan is from.
What does “Chook”mean?
Chook is pronounced “Shook”. It’s my own twist on the word “Shook” which means to be “afraid” – this does not mean being scared and intimidated but rather, possessing a certain degree of respect for the competition or the challenges that one faces. It is an approach that I take with regards to business, design and life; giving the challenge that I am facing due respect and the right amount of fear, so that I remain grounded and not get over-confident.
About the logos:
What was your first job?
After graduating from business school, I worked for a global consulting firm on Pension and Benefit plans. I was exposed to the world of client management, consulting and number crunching. Office life was dull but it paid the bills.
What is your management style?
Casual and easy-going, but serious when the occasion calls for it. When working with others, I tend to let them have their say but I am very direct with my words when something is unsatisfactory or not not being handled the right way.
What lessons have you learned since starting?
Always have a solid plan in place before diving into anything, be it a large or small endeavor. Take small manageable steps such that after each step, you have time and space to pause and assess your standing, make adjustments if required, and make preparations for the next manageable step.
What motivates you? What is your passion?
I am motivated by my memories. I remember the sights, sounds and smells of each occasion from growing up in Singapore and Asia. The cultures unique to each corner of the world never cease to inspire me to create and to modify past creations. My passion is for creating interesting pieces of art based on what I think is important.
How would you describe your personal style?
Plain and grey like a sidewalk. I blend into the crowd and stay behind the scenes.
What do you do like to do for fun?
I illustrate for fun; I like blending with Copic markers, or paints. The medium could be paper, canvas, blank skate decks or even windows. I recently started getting into embroidery.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone starting their own business?
Draw up a business plan and make financial projections that consider every possible scenario; be prepared for the worst.
Do you have a favourite quote?
Never give up.
What are you wearing?
Supreme Box Logo Hoodie in Heather Grey, Large
Chook Camo Snapback
What or who is your fashion inspiration?
Edison Chen, co-founder of Clot
Best style tip you have ever heard:
Step out in layers. Remove or add accordingly as your day progresses.
Favourite place to shop – in Winnipeg and/or other city
At home – internet is King.
When did you open your doors to Winnipeg?
How did that day feel for you?
Probably just like any regular day – I do not remember it. Everything about Chook has been a process; the store is merely an extension of the brand, I have been adding to Chook every single day, so the store’s opening was just another addition to the brand.
Do you remember your first customer?
I honestly do. It’s such a small store with such low foot traffic that I treat it like a studio these days. On another note, I have always been good with faces anyways.
Do you carry local brands? Which ones?
Finesse by Tseyi
Gottzu by Christopher coming soon
What lines do you carry in your store, and do you have any exclusive lines only available in your store?
I love Supreme New York. I will stand by this brand til I die. They will always be relevant.
I also love Bape.
Which local Instagram accounts do you follow?
Lots of Chanel related stuff coming soon.
Very little activity right now but on the come up. Don’t sleep.
If you weren’t doing what you do now, what would you be doing?
I really don’t know.
Contact Chook Clothing Co.
Chook Clothing Co – located 106-B Osborne Street, Winnipeg MB R3L 1Y5, Canada
Open Mondays and Tuesdays 11am – 7pm
Open Anytime By Appointment: 1-204-9526597 (iMessage, Text, Viber, WhatsApp)