We had the good fortune of connecting with Nate Kreiter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nate, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Growing up I was pretty strategic. If I was going to make big decisions, I would try to think about it rationally as risk vs reward. So if something has a high risk probability, with a low probability for reward, it’s not rational to make that decision. But with that decision making process, I was finding less and less excitement and beauty in my life… it was very grey and dull. My life in Montana was going according to plan, but things going according to plan isn’t exciting, theres a lack of “life” that happens. That’s great if that is what you want… but I didn’t. Life is supposed to be exciting, scary, and unpredictable. So when I graduated college, according to plan, something in me snapped. A month after graduation, I packed up my car on a random Thursday night and moved to Los Angeles to live on a couch. I had no idea what I was going to do, I just knew I had to be somewhere I didn’t know, and somewhere full of…life. After years of wandering and not knowing what I wanted, I fell in love with fashion. I didn’t know where to start, so I decided to start a graphic apparel company because I thought that was the first step I needed to take, and had no guidance, so I just went for it. My father built my first screen press out of wood, drove it down from Montana, and I taught myself how to screen print. Shortly after that, my father passed away. He played his professional life in a strategic manner, but died before it was able to pay off. When that happened, I knew I couldn’t wait to take risks on things that could potentially change my life. So, I went all in on fashion. I didn’t know how to draw, I didn’t know how to source fabric, I didn’t have the first clue what a pattern or a sample were. But I worked, I read and I learned. I left my full-time job, my roommate moved out and I converted the 2nd bedroom into the studio for the brand. I knew couldn’t afford the rent longer than a couple months and I spent my entire savings account on my first cut and sew run and had to borrow money from my mother for the launch party/pop up. But, the last 3 years since that day have been the happiest of my career and even more importantly, my life. I will never put myself in the position to look back and ask “what if.” I will continue to take risks and will always bet on myself. So, to answer your question, risk has played a significant role in my career and my life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
For sure we’d get breakfast burritos from Tony’s Mexican Grill in Valley Village. We hit the norton simon in pasadena and just spend hours staring at some art. On sunday we’d spend the day walking on melrose and looking at all the wild shops and then spend way too much time at the melrose trading post. We’d have to spend some time at Ragfinders downtown and pick out some cool fabrics, (Its more fun than it sounds, this place is like 4 stories of fabric, its wild) We’d probably go to some dive bar like the darkroom on melrose. Have to hit the grove, tourists love that, from there we walk to LACMA and hang for a while. One day we take the train downtown, and hit grand central market. And maybe if we have time, Santa Monica pier, the beach and the promenade. My friends from Montana love touristy stuff, so I gotta stick with the handbook.
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?
Sean Lemoine is a wonderful photographer. Matt Swagnew is a talented musician, and is the current face of my brand. Joanna Munoz is an artist I work with often, and helped me design my webiste.
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Sean Lemoine Nate Kreiter