We had the good fortune of connecting with Jona Sees and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jona, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I have a pretty high risk tolerance. I see business like a big game that’s more of a substrate for an experience we’re having. That experience is my contribution and the richer and more full of learning the better. Taking risks usually pushes me into unchartered waters where I learn things I wouldn’t have otherwise. That said, as more people become involved in the company I need to consider their lives as well so the risks are quite calculated and we’re taking the risk collectively because it’s worth it.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
On a basic level, Eyn Vas is a clothing brand bridging our ancient roots and the modern world through a sophisticated design and natural, regenerative fibers. For me it’s a little deeper – something of a vehicle to inspire a way of life that’s more in conversation with the material world. I’ve been very influenced by Shintō and other animist mentalities which see us as a part of a very complex natural universe. So I’m just trying to inspire people to see that although we’re the dominant species on this planet (for now), and we’ve built a lot of massive weird things, we still are in fact a part of nature… we are matter like everything else. Once you feel that in your bones I think you instinctively start to care more for all things.
My business career has been a long, meandering, sometimes painful, but mostly amazing and ever-expanding puzzle. In my twenties I identified much more as an artist/designer. I was winging it in business and thought I could power through creatively without developing my business skills. Really I was just afraid of the unknown, and somewhere along the way a switch flipped in my head and I realized that, while I could do anything in the art realm,, business was a challenge that was going to immerse me to all sorts of spheres I wouldn’t explore otherwise. There have been scary moments of realizing how little I understand. And I’m ever a student. But it really has become like art for me. Abstractly beautiful. And one of the most important things I’ve learned is that other people make all the difference so I’ve surrounded myself with amazing minds and talent, and as it becomes bigger than me that fear factor has dissipated knowing that when a challenge arises that I can’t wrap my head around, someone else probably already has a playbook for it and is eager to work on it with me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First I should qualify my response by saying I’m pretty new to LA and have only explored a tiny fraction of it. And it would very much depend on the friend… That said, I love the architecture in LA which I think is some of the most interesting in the country. The coasts to the north and south are epic and free-diving is my way of relaxing – everything just falls away and the kelp forests here are romantically dark and mysterious. My favorite place to eat right now is Meteora but I’m pretty biased, having worked with Jordan Kahn and been a long-time fan of Vespertine and Destroyer. I’m looking forward to the opening of Kensho Rykn by my friend David Wynn and creative collaborators gry space – that will be my recommendation for accommodations for friends who want to splurge. The cactus garden at Huntington Botanic Gardens is like walking in a Dr. Seuss book on mescaline. I still haven’t quite acquired a taste for LA art but I think it is absolutely stunning in its boldness and freedom, and it’s everywhere so I’m quite inspired. This is one of the most colorful cities I know.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh there are so many people and influences. I’d like to especially thank my great friend and founding partner Olivier Lejade who’s been ever steady but always cerebrally inspiring, and dear friends Jake Puhl and Rachel Browne who’ve been along for much of the journey as mentors, cheerleaders, and now partners.
Mia Krystyna gry space Brandon Satterfield