We had the pleasure to sit down with Rachel Feinberg and Breanne Harrison-Pollock, the co-founders of the esports clothing company, Ateyo. In this two-part series, Rachel and Breanne share their motivations, inspirations, and incredible friendship. If you missed it, read part one here.
Could you take me through the night before before the launch of Ateyo?
Rachel: The night [and days] before every product launch, I’d say the buildup week is very exciting. You’re all so tired and there’s also always something that happens that you never expected. Sometimes it’s amazing, sometimes it’s a challenge. And I would say that the night before, usually we’re pretty organized, so there’s not much left to do, but we’re still working. We’re getting in line all the things to make sure. I would say the most hectic moment I remember perfectly was Breanne was in charge of our website, and she dots all of her i’s and crosses her t’s definitely. She was positive that the site was going to check out. I was insisting that we should open the side a little bit early just to check that credit cards work, which we ended up not doing, but the website worked perfectly, so she was correct.
Breanne: Seeing the first order come in from a total stranger, someone we didn’t know was the most gratifying kind of moment and then receiving feedback, and a picture of them in the sweatshirts – still to this day, we’re always so excited. We’re always texting each other, “oh, did you see this comment on Twitter? Did you see this DM?”, and those kind of things really mean a lot to us.
Something that stood out to me when I first saw this company was how you would write handwritten notes to customers. What are some meaningful interactions you’ve had?
Breanne: I think that we feel like we are selling a product that we believe in, but we always want people to understand that we’re so thankful for their support. And you know, this is a small company, and we want to know how we could do better. In a perfect world, we would get to talk to every customer. We think that [if] somebody is choosing to buy our product, we can definitely write them a handwritten note. We try to interact with our customers on a variety of platforms, whether it be someone’s tweeted us a picture, or on Discord. I was in the bathroom at [The International 2018], and someone came up to me and we started talking and I knew exactly who she was and she knew who I was, she’s bought our products. I think those very personal moments are super exciting to us. Even though this is a digital brand in a digital ecosystem, the in-person relationships mean everything to us.
Do you have any fashion inspirations that you kept in mind when creating this product?
Rachel: I think that Breanne and I are always really interested to see brands within fashion, brands outside of fashion, and brands in and outside of esports, [and seeing how they] exist. I very much respect the kind of brand Patagonia has built. I think ranging from how they stand for quality, how they commit to local initiatives to save the environment, and their commitment to creating great products that people will keep as opposed to churning out a lot of very trend-driven garments. So I think those sort of brands are what really inspires us – brands that are pushing technical innovation and also building these communities around their goods.
What do you hope for the future?
Breanne: Wow, there’s a lot of things. I think that there’s a lot of innovation we see around products, and right now we’re a very small company and there are restrictions, but I think product innovation, in-person events for the community that are about building community around, whether it be smaller streamers or indie games. I think that’s all really exciting to us. And I think also, we don’t even know what games will be big in five years, so I think in-game activities and all those sorts of things are really interesting tasks.
Do you have any advice for those who want to join the esports industry?
Breanne: My biggest advice would just be to not listen when people tell you no. We’ve heard a lot of no’s in the past couple of years, and we just really believe so strongly in what we’re doing and have such a clear vision on how great this company and community will be. And so just keep pushing through, know your value, know your worth, and don’t let other people dictate that.
Rachel: Or send us a DM! We’re always happy to chat, we’re happy to help!
That concludes our interview with Rachel and Breanne. You can stay up to date with Ateyo via Twitter. We’d like to thank Rachel and Breanne for their time.