We had the good fortune of connecting with Grant Nestor and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Grant, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve always been drawn to 60-80s culture–whether it be the music, literature, or film from that period–there is a spirit and style that never gets old for me. Vintage OP (Ocean Pacific) shorts had been a staple in my wardrobe for years but around 2015, I observed that people were taking more of an interest in my shorts and I thought, “If someone doesn’t bring these shorts back, I will.” I waited about two years and in 2017 I decided that I needed to get them made. I was living in Santa Monica and doing software consulting at the time and I would take off around 11 or 12 and spend early afternoons visiting factories and suppliers in LA’s garment district and Orange County before rushing home to beat rush hour traffic. After about 6 months of development, the first batch of Hammies were born. I built a simple shop using Shopify, created some social media accounts, and my wife Sarah and I started developing the brand with the help of friends and early-adopters, like the rollerskating community. Two years later, Sarah and I got married and we walked away from our previous jobs to pursue Hammies full-time on our 6+ month honeymoon (the “Hammies Honeymoon”) that got cut short due to COVID.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Fashion trends come and go and when “retro” isn’t in fashion anymore, Hammies will still be doing retro. Hammies is a retro fashion brand and we are extremely lucky to have started when we did, because retro, corduroy, and short shorts are all trendy now. When we started, people were wearing street wear and athleisure, lots of denim, and men were just starting to show some knee. Despite all of this, our customer base is still very niche and we don’t expect to ever become a mainstream brand. The benefit of being niche is that we develop long-term relationships with our customers. The majority of our customers are so stoked on our shorts and brand because they either had a connection to the vintage shorts from the 70-80s or they are being exposed to the style for the first time and are probably seeing what people in the 70-80s first saw in them. We are the only ones making these shorts and the vintage supply is running thin, and the same goes for our other products (the cabana set and terry cloth romper). There are so many “lost and forgotten styles from 50-80s beach culture” that we want to make and there are customers out there who are “here for it.”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I would take them to Malibu for the day and visit one of Malibu’s less-frequented beaches for a surf and be sure to make dinner reservations for The Old Place a couple of days in advance. The next day I would take them to Gjusta for breakfast and then bike down the Santa Monica boardwalk to play volleyball for the day and play on the rings at Original Muscle Beach. If there is a flea market or sweet event happening in Silverlake area that weekend, I’d take them there and spend all-day bouncing around the area to make the wait in traffic worth it.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
David Sinatra and Shannon Leaverton from Stussy played a very important role in our growth because without them, we would be scavenging LA for available corduroy and dealing with an overwhelming volume of defects. Dave and Shannon introduced us to their sourcing and development people and they helped us perfect the fit and construction of the shorts. Without their help, Hammies would still be a small side-gig.
Annabelle Sadler (rollerskaters)