Breanne Harrison-Pollock is a bit different. In many ways actually.
First, she’s young. At age 26, this Saskatchewan product is generating headlines in the highly competitive worlds of the American fashion industry and esports.
She is co-founder of an apparel company called Ateyo that recently caught the attention of writers at Forbes who recounted the saga of how she and her partner designed a line of specialized sport clothing that will improve a player’s performance and is best displayed when the model is sitting, not standing. Thirdly, the two still own the majority of their company, having avoided the need to dilute their holdings to attract investors.
Yes, this is an unusual business story – of the young commercial phenom who is turning heads, changing a category and still in control of the company.
And she’s also a strong proponent of unstructured play for children as a foundation for success later.
And it is a story that has been in the making for virtually her entire life.
She’s always had a thing for clothes. Her favorite hide-out as a child was where her clothes lived.
“I’d sleep in my closet as a kid,” she says. “And we had a rule that I could only change (outfits) three times a day.”
This conduct was a manifestation of her creative tendencies, something she said was nurtured by parents who encouraged her to think or play differently.
”We were always outside. Building forts. We had a cabin where we played make-believe,” she adds in describing the foundation that led from Saskatchewan – she grew up in Saskatoon and has extended family ties to Weyburn – to the fashion worlds of New York and Los Angeles.
Back in Grade 8, she began to dream of going to the Parson School of Design in New York City, turning it into reality after graduating from high school and where she met her business partner Rachel Feinberg. From there it was back to Canada – to Vancouver – where evenings and weekends were devoted to designing traditional fashion pieces and it wasn’t long before their work was turning heads. This traction prompted a decision to head back to NYC with a plan to build the line.
But no plan ever survives its first encounter with reality. That Mother of All Business Ideas, serendipity, got in the way of all this planning. The pair, in Harrison-Pollock’s words, “stumbled” into the on-line gaming world when visiting clubs and cafes where gamers or e-athletes go to head-to-head with competitors anywhere on the World Wide Web.
That was four years ago and it’s been a whirlwind ever since.
In explaining that playing video games brings its own unique ‘equipment’ requirements, Feinberg and Harrison-Pollock have refined their products to serve this distinct and growing market. It is growing so fast that Netflix earlier this year said its primary competitor was not other streaming services but Fortnite and the fight is for a larger and larger share of users’ screen time.
Interestingly, notes Harrison-Pollock, Canada is a stand out in this realm producing both the best gamers and a disproportionate number of them.
Ateyo’s partners have developed a winning formula for designing and testing new clothing options for e-players that are stylish, comfortable and supportive. Sweatshirts with thumb holes can help with carpel tunnel, for example.
“Our mission,” the company’s website declares, “is make gamers look good and game better and game better while doing it.”
“just like Nike makes a running shoe that makes you a better runner,” Harrison-Pollock asserts, “we can build a sweatshirt that will make you a better gamer.”
Image Source: https://ateyo.com