It's hard to believe that it's been 5 years since we launched Arka in July of 2009. In some ways it feels like the time has passed in the blink of an eye, and in other ways it feels like we've been doing this forever. I completely forgot about my previous life: Going to college and graduating with a business degree, then working in real estate for three years. It's as if none of that ever happened.
I have definitely grown over the last five years, and I've learned a lot. I've come to realize, for example, that most people identify themselves with their jobs. They associate their happiness with the status of their work, especially their work environment. In this regard I think I'm one of the happiest people out there. The people I work with are like family to me. We are very important to one another. We work together as a team, we fight like brothers and we share all our victories. I get to show up to work every morning with an unending array of possibilities as to what we'll create and how we'll move forward. I'm one of the lucky people who gets to call such a life his "work."
Arka has seen so many changes in such a short period of time. We, like many other businesses, started in a garage. We learned every aspect of this business from the ground up. We taught ourselves how to design. We went to trade shows just to get a better feel for the industry and learn the etiquette. We found our own sourcing contacts. Although it would have been nice to have a mentor that we could have leaned on, doing everything on our own got us used to the fact that nothing comes easy.
With that said, 99% of why Arka exists is because of all the support we have received over the years. A huge thank you to all of you for not only buying our tees, but spreading the word, posting stickers and always showing us love. We went from selling our tees on the street at retail fairs, to now being in 200 stores and 17 countries. For that, we have you to thank.
I couldn't help but take a trip down memory lane when realizing we were turning 5. Here are a few pictures from previous Arka events:
This booth was supposed to emulate telephone poles. As Angelenos, this is a familiar site with the shoes hanging from the lines.
This is a booth we built with plexiglass. We wanted to achieve a high end look. We were still trying to build an identity at the time, so we weren't really sure what our "look" was
This was our first office at the California Market Center in Downtown Los Angeles. I'm the one in the middle(Buddy Bravado) to my left is Charles Darwizard and to the right is Shant Der Ashodian who handles sales. Hauk Vagner (Designer) was still finishing up school and he jumped on board full time shortly after.