RYU X BEC
Born and bred in Vancouver, BC, RYU Apparel creates technical, high-performance urban athletic apparel that is built around you, the individual. Their mission? Innovative urban solutions, connect people and communities and empower respect in all. As part of our local business series, we visited Sr. Community Creator, Amy Hoey, and Brand Experience Manager, Connor Mahannah, at RYU’s West 4th location to learn more about their unique approach to the retail experience:
Q. How and why was RYU started?
A: RYU was started by a small team of passionate and dedicated people that wanted to make a difference by bringing respect to the world. Not just to create another clothing brand, RYU was created to innovate urban solutions, connect people, and communities, and empower respect in all.
Q. For those who don’t know, RYU stands for Respect Your Universe. Can you speak to the significance of this name and how it relates to your mission as a company?
A: We always say, our apparel is a vessel to do something great in this world. We don’t take our name lightly. Respect Your Universe is a big flag to wave and we feel a responsibility to live up to it in all that we do. It is our “Why”, the foundation of our brand, and the values we choose to create with everyday. For us, being part of a company mission that is rooted in respect is what fuels us to show up each and everyday.
Q. What does RYU offer to the health and wellness community?
A: There's an old African proverb that says “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Its a team effort to create healthy, thriving cities and we all play a part to make it happen. We recognized early on that one of the main ways RYU could support this effort was with our space. By opening our doors to the health and wellness community, our stores have become local community hubs that facilitate events, workout classes, workshops, and countless collaborations with the incredible leaders of our communities.
Q. What has been your biggest challenge or adversity that you’ve faced as a local business? How did you overcome it?
A: Awareness. As a start-up with limited access to marketing budgets for ads, billboards, paid sponsorship etc., we had to get creative on how to spread the word about RYU. So we decided the way around this was to get out in the community as much as physically possible and thus was born our 2015-2018 mantra #allthethings #allthetime. Crossfit comps, races, dance shows, training conventions, gym openings, parkour championships..you name it, we’ve probably done it. Slow and steady but it’s so rewarding when that buzz starts to pick up.
Building a brand that truly stands for something bigger than ourselves has been a catalyst to greater awareness within our communities. People truly want to get behind a movement (like our #RYUOneMoreRep for Mental Health campaign) that affects positive change in the world. Not just buy products like look, feel and perform great.
Q: What’s been your biggest accomplishment as a company?
A: Getting recognized on the global stage as recipients of the “Best Customer Experience Initiative” at the World Retail Awards (in Amsterdam!) has been one of our most exciting accomplishments to date. We chose this because it is in recognition of our core values as a company: to create experiences for our Members in which they feel welcomed, respected, included, and part of something bigger than themselves.
Q: What’s been RYU’s relationship with Body Energy Club over the years?
A: RYU has always had a strong connection to Body Energy club. From sponsored prizes at events to tastings and samplings at our workout classes. We are grateful to have a partnership with a brand like BEC who’s values on health and wellness so strongly reflect those of RYU (and we can’t wait to see what we can do next)!
Q: What’s your Body Energy Club go-to-product and why?
A: Amy: Almond Butter Dream - but I also hear they make an insanely delicious cashew latte so ABD might get the bump from #1
Connor: BEC Protein (Isolate) - chocolate flavor. Mixes well, tastes great and is an easy grab-and-go for my post workout routine.
Q: What do you love about Body Energy Club or what it stands for?
A: When we think about Body Energy Club, we think about community and customer experience. BEC supports so many events, classes, and health professionals in this city; with the customer experience you’re sure to get great service from great local people whenever you walk through the doors.