How long have you worked in St James’s?
Arc’teryx opened in August last year and it’s our first store in Europe. I’ve worked here since the very beginning and it’s been an amazing project since day one. The store was still under construction when I started with some of the team here today – and it was a bit scary at first as it was an experiment for us. But now I can say it’s been a great experience and there’s been a strong bond ever since.
Tell us about the experience we can expect at Arc’teryx and how it represents St James’s.
As a brand, we are very comfortable sitting between high-end stores and the outdoors. Although we are an outdoor company we don’t market ourselves as an outdoor company. It’s more about one-to-one, meaningful contact with the customer. If you came into the store, we would sit here in this area, have a coffee, go through what you’re looking for and work through what you need from top to bottom. It’s easy to sell like this because the product is great and so many people have built up a good experience of the brand over many years. It could be a full outfit or just a warm jacket you wear to walk the dog.
How does Arc’teryx bring a little bit of Canadian adventuring to St James’s?
The fact that the product is designed and made there, the inspiration is really in the mountains. You want to feel comfortable doing whatever you are doing, even walking the dog or commuting and cycling to work. We also have a seamless design that means our pieces last longer. It’s an investment in that sense. Our customer here really pursues the weekend workout, but they also bring that lifestyle into their working day.
How do you feel Arc’teryx is doing since opening?
There’s been a lot more brand awareness since then. As it’s a Canadian brand, it was a new experience for our customers to be able to walk into an Arc’teryx store because they would normally buy online. They have the full range here, which is very unique, and the store doesn’t look so bad! We also have this community space where we can host our customers and hold monthly events around outdoor activities. For example, we host runs through the park and yoga classes.
Do you live the Arc’teryx lifestyle? What attracted you to working here?
I certainly do! I’m a surfer by heart so I’ve always been in touch with the outdoors. I’m Portuguese so I used to live 10 minutes from the beach. My first contact with the mountains was with a snowboard. I’m into everything that involves a board! I came across the brand a few years ago when I was working at Cotswold Outdoor as a retailer and I was selling Arc’teryx. I was curious about this very special and expensive product. I’ve been fortunate enough to go to Vancouver twice a year to go outdoors and get to know the brand better. I visit the factories to witness the craftsmanship and the production which is so impressive. And once you’ve had that experience you understand that it’s not expensive at all.
What is one adventure you think everyone should go on before they die?
Go to the Arctic. I was lucky enough to do the first expedition on a paddleboard a few years ago. It was amazing. Just polar bears and paddleboards. There is a documentary about it. It’s just really raw; just you and the nature – nothing else. No cell phones, no nothing. It’s a big empty space but beautiful to be surrounded by ice. It was August, so it was 24-hour daylight. Even the sounds feel important. If you hear an iceberg cracking it’s like cannonballs!
Where are you planning on travelling to next?
My next adventure is having a kid. I’m now preparing to be a father – which is the greatest adventure of all!