The owner of Hop Sing Trading Company and a four year resident of Prescott. I grew up in Pacific Beach, California, and spent thirty three years living on the beautiful island of Kauai. Needless to say, I've spent a good portion of my life with sand between my toes, and I blame the beach for the unique fashion perspective I've carried across land and sea. If you've visited Hop Sing, you know it's unlike anything else in town, which often prompts the question: "How do you choose the fashions for your store?" I'm quick to reply: "I buy what I love!". However, I also believe that we are all influenced by the people, places and experiences in our lives.
Anyone with an original business concept will tell you that- like writers or artists, we pour our life's path of influences, passions and experiences into our work. Regardless of if we sell clothing or paint landscapes, we should all strive to be original and passionate about our chosen profession.
Many of my customers are surprised by the fearlessness of the fashions in my shop. I recognize that fearlessness as a direct result of having been exposed to many free-spirited individuals in my lifetime. I am also influenced by the bigger picture. I am an info-maniac. I am eager to know the backstory and provenance of the things I buy. It matters to me who made it and where, and what sets that item apart from the rest? I grew up in a family who made it a common practice to buy better quality everything- from organic food to unique fashion. Though money was not plentiful in our house, I was taught that it was more economical to purchase better quality and lasting style over quantity and short term satisfaction. Handcrafted trumped mass produced. My dad was a world famous pro-surfer in the 1960's and although pro-surfers today have multi-million dollar sponsorship contracts, I can assure you that monetary prestige was not part of the package way back when.
I guess you could say that I grew up in a sort of "Gidget" inspired surfing-subculture. On a daily basis we were surrounded by family and friends who held many different life and style perspectives, but all of them fearless. Famous surfers and their lovely lady friends came from far away countries like Australia, Brazil, and South Africa. What I remember most is that these well-traveled bohemians felt completely free to express themselves, both fashionably and otherwise. My fashion foundation was laid with the bold fashion statements and glowing tans of surf gods and their goddesses. Another pillar of my fashion upbringing was my mother's sister.
She was a true one of a kind, free-spirited 60's rebel who painted her surf inspired boutique, located in the middle of high-end, high-muckity-muck La Jolla, California, in an artistic rainbow spectrum, despite complaints galore! Many of her neighboring retailers were sure that the town had been infiltrated by hippies, and they were right! My Aunt held her head high, smiled and besides a few crazy stories that could be told... she won the hearts of many, her shop became highly successful and her clientele, was diverse. This wild child definitely influenced me, and my destiny. I'll forever remember the intoxicating smell of new clothes, freshly tanned leather and coconut surf wax. Surf stars and movie stars mingled, as fashions high and low-end converged, to form a beautiful bohemian dream. It wasn't uncommon to find Patty Duke and John Aston hanging out and chatting with customers, as if they were just regular folks! My dear aunt impacted my life more than she would ever know... she helped create the quirky fashion junky I am today.
So it seems as if you can take the girl away from the beach, but you can't take the beach away from the girl. Come in to Hop Sing to experience my own version of that bohemian dream, and tell me... who would you describe as your greatest fashion influence, or lifestyle icon? I'd love to know!