The Outsiders- A-OK
East Vancouver residents Patrick Campbell and RJ Hunt have been a big part of the local creative social fabric. The things we know about both these boys is that they are charismatic, rebellious in nature, and love bringing their friends together. In past ventures they have created projects which resonate with people and have generated a cult-like following. An example of this is the lighthearted site and instagram account called ‘Craigsbest’. The site is dedicated to finding designer furniture items on Craigslist but also is a platform for funny social commentary regarding things that happen in Vancouver.
When weed was legalized it was no surprise that Patrick and RJ were at the helm of one of the frontier brands taking the chronic lifestyle into another level. While still paying homage to the roots of weed subculture they have taken a modern approach towards the design of apparel, objects and accessories.
We interviewed Patrick and RJ as they set to launch their store on 436 Columbia Street in Vancouver on June 14th.
Photography: Jennifer Latour
Styling: Redia Soltis
Art Direction: Jennifer Latour + Redia Soltis
Assistant Photographer + Stylist: Emilia Kaxka
Produced by 01 Production Agency
What do you guys do?
Patrick: I do most of the creative for the brand.
RJ: I get to sell all the stuff the Patrick designs!
How did you 2 meet?
Patrick: RJ dated a friend of mine and it didn’t work out so I gave him another shot.
RJ: I moved to Vancouver nearly six years ago and stole most of my friends from people I met on Tinder. Patrick was one of them and we bonded over leg tattoos and online classified ads.
What were you doing before you created your business?
Patrick: I worked in contemporary art and before that fashion retail.
RJ: I worked in the Energy industry for almost a decade before quitting to pursue A-OK full time. I much prefer wearing tie dye instead of a suit and tie.
Can you remember where the idea came from to start A-OK?
RJ: I remember the moment perfectly. I walked into a local head shop to buy a new grinder and a pipe a few years ago with my wife. We hadn’t been to a shop like that in a long time and upon looking around, nothing had changed in the past ten years. The products that were offered all looked the same and there wasn’t really anything that naturally appealed to our tastes. Legalization was 2.5 years on the horizon and we thought there was an opportunity to revisit cannabis paraphernalia and the head shop experience from a different perspective.
Where did the name A-Ok come from?
Patrick: My good friend Ken and I would always reference the Swedish Chef from the Muppets when talking about something we really liked cause he would always toss up the A-OK Symbol. Then RJ came around and me, him and Ken all tried to buy a restaurant and call it the A-OK Cafe. The plan fell through so RJ and I took the name and rolled it over to what it is today. I do wish that restaurant would have happened though. It definitely was going to be a winner. I see Aritzia recently opened up their own “A-OK Cafe”, it doesn’t look like much of a winner haha.
Name 2 songs on your playlist right now?
Patrick: 1. Warzone – Don’t Forget the Struggle, Don’t Forget the Streets 2. Boban Petrovic – Prepan
RJ: 1. Scientist – Lazer Beaming 2. Usually a house music mix featuring our wonderful local Vancouver talent.
What’s next on the horizon?
Patrick: I’m currently finishing the design and build out of our new store in Chinatown that will open June 14th.
RJ: We’re excited to continue to grow organically and see how far around the globe we can stretch our A-OK tentacles. I was recently in NYC and I can’t tell you how cool it was to walk into the beautiful shop Alcove and see our products there. We want more of that feeling in 2020 and we’ll see where these dank nugs will take us.