Harry Fricker Of Arvin Goods
Harry Fricker is the co founder of Arvin Goods, a Seattle based company whose purpose is to 'Make The Cleanest Basics On The Planet'. Harry is a creative, a musician, a cook, a surfer, a lover of SeaVees. In his words, "the name Arvin is an old english word for 'a friend of the people', it all started with that..."
How did you come up with the idea for Arvin Goods? What was the process like taking it from a wild idea to a real business?
My business partner Dustin Winegarder and I met in 2016 through a mutual friend. Dustin had been working in the apparel/manufacturing industry for the past 15 years and had witnessed first hand the amount of waste and unnecessary practices used to produce and deliver products to consumers around the world. We talked in depth around material practices and correct sourcing of cleaner materials. After a few more ‘dates’ the reality of building something together became a mission. To use both our skill sets to create a brand and category that will help educate consumers and retailers that buying clean is better for people and the planet.
We wanted to launch with a product that was easily affordable, something that everyone wears, first on, last off… And after doing our research and finding that the conventional sock needs over 50 gallons of water to produce… We knew we had to start with socks. By finding and working with the right partners we managed to source great recycled yarns from Spain and supply the right factories to produce the socks.
It has been a small run operation from the start. There are a handful of us, passionate in telling our story and connecting with great people around the world who are eager to walk in Arvin Goods.
Partnering with like minded people and brands has been a great opportunity for the brand to grow and introduce ourselves to a great diverse range of people. We love that the brand hasn't just slotted into one scene/industry, but that it has found itself in the draws of some of the NBA greats to some very talented musicians and surfers…
And the name Arvin Goods, well ‘Arvin’ is an old english word for ‘a friend of the people’. It all started with that...
One of our brand mottos is “Keep it Casual”. What does “Keep it Casual” mean to you in your own life?
I’d say I'm a pretty casual guy. So for me, (not to sound too cliché) going with the flow and riding whatever comes my way with a clear and level attitude will keep me pretty casual and down to earth.
What does a typical day in the life for you look like?
Right now my Groundhog Day starts with a fairly mellow walk around the town I live in, Ucluelet, British Columbia. It’s a small coastal town right on the far west coast of Vancouver Island. I moved out here from the city (Vancouver) just before Covid kicked in last year. Perfect timing to be in a secluded place with easy access to the wilds of the North West. I am on a few text strings with friends around town, so early mornings consist of checking the waves and the possibilities of getting wet before the work day starts. If i surf, it will be for a quick hour… (very tricky to time…). Then to my home office. (I’ve worked from home for most of my work life so, I luckily didn't have to change much up when the world closed up and the #WFH era began. (just gave me an excuse to get a new office chair and monitor…) The work day starts with a call or Zoom with Dustin (my partner at Arvin). See where we are with projects, meetings that day and deeper discussions on the brand. Plus what did we eat for dinner the night before... and what episode of Vikings did we get too… you know, classic ‘founder’ morning chats…
The rest of the day can be very different and changes daily. Photoshoots, more Zooms, design time, connecting with customers, another zoom or two and then realizing my list of to-do's is still only half complete…
I try to close the office door around 6pm and get out for some exercise. Another surf, a walk, a beer…
Right now, that’s been the day most days this past year. I would usually have a trip stateside most weeks, or at least a little travel for work. But right now, sticking to the coast has been pretty good. Our team in Seattle, WA has adapted so well to working from home, I feel like I am more connected with them on a personal level than before.
I love to cook, so if I can pick up local, fresh produce on the day I do. And then planning something new and interesting (plant based) will take up my evenings… It’s a whole different creative outlet that I love.
People who know you might call you a “jack of all trades”, tell us about your passions both personally and professionally.
Ha! Who told you that? You’re probably right. Over the last 10 years I've tried and tested a lot of different avenues, worn multiple hats for projects and seen some pretty wild and interesting things. I have made sure that all projects and jobs I have taken on all have not just had a financial pull. I want to enjoy the work, walk away stoked and to show off what I've done. I couldn't say I'm much of an academic, so the paths I've taken have led to more creative endeavors. Being a musician, chef, photographer, designer, working in interior design, web creation, art direction and fashion... They all lead on from each other and there is a strong connection between them all.
My personal passions and hobbies almost sit alongside my professional ones. Other than surfing, that has been a real passion for the last 20 years (I’m turning 30 next month).
Have you faced adversity in your life or career? What have you learned from that?
100%. It’s not been an easy ride at times. With not a formal education in design and business there have been some gnarly road slides. But I have managed to get through them, making peace with the mistakes or red flags that I missed. Being able to embrace adversity as a place to grow or use as an opportunity has been a huge realization. Looking back on some of the larger experiences I can see how well they prepared me for making stronger moves.
What are some things that you are grateful for?
My home. Living in a beautiful space, location and with such a great support system of friends and family.
The passion and love of the ocean and surfing is something I am continuously grateful for. Having the access to escape, recharge and exercise… I’m very fortunate.
How do you stay inspired?
I have made some amazing friends and connections during the past decade and I try to keep in contact and tabs on what people are doing. Taking inspiration from what people are creating all over the world inspires me to keep creating and challenge the norm of what brands should be doing. When the boarders were open, I would try and spend a lot of time in different cities and creative melting pots around the world and soak in what’s moving around me.
Do you have any plans or projects that you are looking forward to in the future?
We sure do! When we started Arvin Goods we never planned to just stick in the Sock world. We saw socks as a great place to introduce a simple solution to a growing problem in the fashion industry. We are looking to build on our basics offering, developing new materials and partnering with more incredible people and brands!
What’s one piece of advice, encouragement, or challenge you’d love to leave our readers with?
Find the balance.