Founded in 2009 by brothers Lyndon and Jamie Cormack, Herschel Supply Co. has quickly risen to the top of the lifestyle accessories market, with little signs of slowing down. We sat down with co-founder Lyndon Cormack to chat about his brands continued success, world travel, and why he chooses to call Deep Cove home.
Roden Gray: I know you're a die hard Deep Cove resident, what is it about that community that attracts you?
Lyndon Cormack: The proximity to the city is amazing. It takes like 25 minutes from this office to get home, and when you’re out there it feels like you’re a million miles from anywhere. You can concentrate on having some kind of normalcy out there, without being inundated with city life and all the operations that go on at the office. It’s just such a good community to live in, I’ve been there 13-14 years and I’ve never lived anywhere else in Vancouver. And I get to come and work here in Railtown. I get the best of both worlds.
RG: You recently partnered with Megan Curran of Room6 to start the small concept store called A’Hoy in Deep Cove. How’s that been going?
LC: That came about because a spot opened up for rent. There was a few clothing stores there, and they weren’t meant for us. It’s on the corner lot of the main road, so it’s a prime spot. We were good friends with Megan Curran who runs Room6, and when the opportunity arose, we had to jump in there and do something ourselves and make Deep Cove, on a retail and an experience level for people who live there and people who visit there, a little bit different. We came up with the concept for A'hoy, which was offering really classic brands meant to tailor to the community. An inclusive store definitely not an exclusive store. We sell brands like Converse, Vans, Birkenstock, Nike, and things like Pendleton Home.
RG: Herschel has experienced exponential growth since its inception 4 years ago. How have you guys stayed focused in the face of such rapid expansion?
LC: I guess if you look at where we started, and what we wanted to be when we started, and what we’ve turned into now, it is what our goal was. We just didn’t know how quickly it would scale, or how quickly we would achieve goals. We wanted a utilitarian brand with a classic aesthetic and we wanted to modernize nostalgic products. That was the goal, that’s what Jamie and I set out to do, and in the bag space we didn’t think anyone was doing it. We thought there was a hole in the market and we were right, and when you’re right you can get it right quite quickly. We’ve been able to focus on growth by hiring the right people and getting the right team; we couldn’t have done this alone, and really keeping our eye on tomorrow.
RG: Any plans for a Herschel Supply Co. flagship store?
LC: I think the way that question is phrased makes it a little difficult to answer. How could I phrase it a little bit differently? Can we expect to see a Herschel flagship store in the future? Yes. Are we making plans right now? The answer would be no. We just partnered with the French company Cigue to do a fixture family for us, which is something you're going to start to see rolling out here in the next 6 months. Cigue is responsible for the European Aesop stores, and the Isabel Marant Stores, and Kris Vanashe, and we reached out to them because we were really inspired by their views on architecture and they are a young firm. We have a pretty amazing fixture program to roll out, from some pretty amazing architects and when you see that kind of stuff it makes you want to open up a shop (laughter).
RG: What was the idea behind starting the "Bad Hills Workshop" collection?
LC: Well first of all, the name comes from the small town our grandparents immigrated to back in 1906. For us Herschel is a little town of 30 people in the middle of nowhere. It was mainly predominately a farming community, and the hills surrounding the town that were bad to farm were called the “Bad Hills”. The idea with Bad Hills was really to do a little more of a specialty and focused collection that offers a seasonal story each time. It's built out of the most premium materials, and the best quality components, and it really allows us to talk to a different distribution level. They have something different to offer than our classic product but its meaning speaks directly to their consumer. It’s a really well curated collection targeted at a higher tier retailer, but still contains the same Herschel Classic DNA. It’s carried at places like Colette, Barneys, United Arrows, and of course Roden Gray.
RG: I’ve been enjoying the “Well Travelled” segment on your blog lately. As a well travelled individual yourself, what cities do you like to explore?
LC: I always enjoy Tokyo; I think everybody enjoys Tokyo when they go there. It’s so amazing and so great. Whether it’s to shop, or an inspirational trip, Tokyo is definitely the spot. I had the opportunity to visit Istanbul last year, and it's just phenomenal. The city is so vibrant, and the sounds of the city, it's so incredibly cool. I have a soft spot in my heart for Australia. I like the progressive attitude of Australia, and think a lot of people make a snap judgment about Australia, and I don’t think its usually true. It’s a pretty great melting pot, pretty similar to Canada but with more European influence.
RG: What's in your bag when you travel?
LC: My iPhone, which I would die without. I travel with a lot of shoes. I just love footwear. I think, like, a really great pair of shoes that I can do multiple things in is essential. Like a Nike Flyknit is great for an airplane, or I could work out in them If I need to. I have these light cashmere sweaters that I take with me. I still travel with a camera, I use a Nikon DF from Japan. I like my own set of headphones for the airplane, which are a pair of Beoplays. A bit of local currency is always good too.
RG: What items from Herschel Supply Co. do you have a particular soft spot for?
LC: I really love our “Packables” series; they are our little lightweight duffle bags, and backpacks. The backpack packable is so good. It takes up no room. They are the easiest things, and they help keep things organized. But I’m still a fan of the classic backpack. I’m using the one we did for Barneys New York right now.