Meet Matt - Property Director and all around Legend here at OQ. Known here for his minimalist and sustainable design vision, and outside OQ for his plethora of skills including (but not limited) to Surfboard shaping, woodwork, leatherwork, and recent Motorcycle building.
With the opening of the our North Vancouver location we thought it would be a good time to sit down with Matt so you can meet the man behind our stores:
First up, tell us a little about yourself:
Growing up in Australia I spent a lot of time outdoors. My parents wouldn’t let me play nintendo or tv so I loved a project or just getting out on the bike with my local mates as a kid. Now, most things I design or do are based on outdoor themes or trying to take a simplistic and natural approach... Yeah plastic is fine, but can we make it out of reclaimed wood off the beach? Speak of the beach, I love to Surf. I love it so much, it’s surprising how remarkably average I am at it. I’ve been constantly threatening to move to Tofino. And in winter it’s skiing, you gotta love the access to it here on the west coast, I’ve just recently taken up ski touring with a few intrepid mates I know here.
How did you find yourself working for OQ?
Absolutely conned into it... Just kidding, the CEO Michael was a bit of a legend (still punching) and we teamed up in the early days and kicked off the first store together in Gastown. It’s been a long road from what was effectively a startup and the real growth the business has seen is mirrored also for me personally and professionally. I’ve been really fortunate to have the exposure to all areas of the developing business over the last 7 years.
What made you interested in the property/design side of things?
It’s gotta be making things; Ever since I was a kid I just had to know how it worked. You’d find me and the local bandits on my street modifying our billy karts at age 8 and my dirtbike at age 12, my race car at 20 and now I drive a mini van… what a regression… yeah, nah on second thoughts you can’t go surfing in a billy cart. Also love a haggle, getting a good deal feels good!!
What goes into opening an Ollie Quinn store?
If you can define a great area, Generally gotta have a good flat white within a stones throw, then you're hoping a store shows up at the right size, with good bones, a reasonable landlord and a good deal. Easy. Then you're onto design, We try and make everything accessible, no cabinets, let the people touch the frames!! Clean, bright and airy makes a great product do its best work and at the end of it that is what we want to share. An open door, a new mate, a great experience, and a rad pair of awesome quality specs. On the materials side I think it’s really important to care about what we use to make the shops, we use a lot of reclaimed timber and species often wasted in modern forestry like aspen. I always love to work with local legends, our builders, millworkers, electricians, everyone involved actually cares about what they are doing. I love that; it makes a heavy project seem light.
What led you to end up making Vancouver your home?
The outdoor lifestyle cinched the deal and now I’ve got too many projects piled in my workshop to leave now, not to mention Kelso nailing my foot to the floor. (Kelso = Matt's Girlfriend)
Why West Van?
The water and outdoors access!! Don’t get me wrong I love a beer at the pub, and we could honestly use at least one of those here, but I can run and swim and get to the ski hill on the weekend… I’ll take that over more restaurant options.
We’ve seen your custom surfboards and your hand crafted kicks - where did you pick up these skills? What other hidden talents do you have?
I really just like working with my hands. I reckon a bit of my grandfather rubbed off; he was a farmer when they settled in Australia post WWII and he never let anything go to waste, he’d fix it!! He also drank like 2 litres of coffee a day, kept bees, distilled whiskey and had a sweet workshop. Some would say he was a tight ass, but that bit didn’t rub off tho… Right??!
Finally, what’s your favourite OQ frame and why?
That new Leighton, the clear one with just a hint of pink in it… I’m not sure the colour has been named yet… regardless, Godwin has nailed that one, what a guy!!