On July 18th, Patta issued a statement announcing their physical storefront was to close. After over 8 years of success, offering up some of the most highly sought after collaborative projects, alongside it’s own premium brand, Patta as a store was unable to operate any further. Now, just over three months down the line, the independent is preparing to re-open its doors. We talked to Gee, Patta’s co-owner, about the hard work and the believers as Amsterdam’s own Patta, rightly returns.
Firstly, you guys have got to be commended for the way you started out. Its common knowledge that you did it the ‘Ghetto fabulous’ way, flying over to the States, buying shit from hook ups and selling it back in Amsterdam via Patta, no accounts no nothing.
Your growth from, as you put it, “Parallel importing footwear to top tier accounts” was rapid. Due to the raw nature of your initial start up, do you think its put you in good stead to this day?
Everything we did when we started, the choices we made were basically made cause that was the position we had. Obviously we didn’t have that many options. Then we had a good idea and a strong group of people we counted on and worked with. So next to our obvious love for sneakers and apparel; this has always been a means to an end .We always wanted the shop to be a platform for ourselves and our surroundings, to be a tool to do whatever we like, in whatever form; Making clothes, doing expos’, mix tapes, traveling, meeting and working with different people etc. In that, regardless what is up with the store, I am glad to say we have succeeded.
How do you feel you have all grown, in regards to how you do business, over the past 8 years?
This whole experience has been 1 big learning curve. Different situations, different levels of successes, different solutions are, in the end for all, a different way of handling things. To me or to us, it’s a mentality thing. In thriving for success you have to try things, push yourself, what comes out of this is something you have to deal with from that point and that’s then your new starting point and so on…
On July 18th the press release got issued that Patta was closing its doors. Where were you guys that day and what was the vibe like, how did everybody react?
We were just on the grind doing what we always have been. That never stopped and will never stop. The vibe was a double-edged sword; on one hand we were sad and disgruntled that it came this far. On the other hand we realized once more that this is a direct result of choices we made ourselves and it was time to reevaluate the way we do business and go at things. In the end we felt really strengthened by the support we have got from our peers, people we admire in the industry, our friends and creative communities worldwide, but most important the Patta customers…they kept supporting and believing in us…that’s motivation in the purest form.
Obviously you guys had a lot going on at the time with the apparel side of Patta, but did the heads drop at all when you shut up shop?
No, not at all, we actually realized that this is our main focus looking into the future.
From a personal point of view, it seems the brand expansion in opening ‘Precinct 5’ may have been one that struggled from the beginning, is this true?
It did struggle from the beginning. However you would never know if you don’t try. Some valuable lessons have been learned. We could have been going on like that for a while but we just figured out that it didn’t make sense .We just had to go back to basics. We full circle now…
Do you feel ‘Precinct 5’ was a venture that detracted from Patta’s original concept/aim?
We thought we could crystalize and optimize each of the concepts. In reality we just had to divide what is our original strength, which is staying close to ourselves…there shouldn’t be no borders on what Patta can or cannot do.
Are there any feelings that you were too eager to satisfy too big a chunk of an ever evolving market?
Everything we do, we do is based on our own beliefs .We are not doing anything to satisfy anybody but ourselves in the end. If you go at things like that, the only ones you can look at for things to work or not, is yourself. We were not ready and that is certain … but believe me in the future we are going to face some choices again that are going to be tough. We have a different know how, a different way to look at things because of experiences…but knowing the nature of Patta, we would probably go for the hardest way again.
So, away from the negativity of the closing, how has the re-opening come about?
We will be opening our doors Oct 27th .New location, typical Amsterdam, we feel very happy and confident about it. You will find a good selection of different stuff. Most importantly, you will find the Patta brand here.
The opening of a new store was all such a surprise, was that the intention?
No, we had to close our shop in the first place because of circumstances surrounding ‘P5’. There has never been any doubt that Patta would continue to exist. In the end everything happens for a reason and I think our new situation is the best situation we ever had.
What can you tell us about the re-opening, in your own words?
We will reopen our doors on the 27th with something special …later on in November you will see the new collection getting in there. From that point on we will be building slowly but surely…loads of good stuff planned for the future.
Will we see elements of Precinct 5, as well as Patta, within the re-opening or just the latter?
Both entities are part of us … you will find us in there which means Patta. What elements these are though, people will decide for themselves.
Can you tell us where the new store is going to be located?
We just went natural, Zeedijk crossed our path … it was a match made in heaven, so we went for it.
We touched on it before but how has the Patta apparel line effected the decision to re-open?
The apparel has been instrumental for this but again we would have reopened anyway. The clothing will be the base now though.
Financially, did success in regards to the apparel side of things allow the re-opening?
Hard work, believing, the people around us and the customers allowed reopening … that’s it.
What do you aim to achieve with this new Patta store, are your goals unchanged or do you have a slightly altered vision?
The vision has been and is what I stated in the answers in the first question. Patta succeeds when; Ben G, Red light Radio, Tom Trago, Vincent van De Waal, Momanager and so on have success in there own respective ways … therefore losing is never an option and is impossible. I believe very firm in this.
Finally, after a few tough months with the closing of Patta and Precinct 5, what continues to motivate you guys to keep pushing this shit every day?
All of the above, I am blessed with doing what I am doing and will keep doing this. All supporters, all believers and off course all haters … you all team Patta 4 real. Know this.