Meet Raan Parton, the Genius Behind Free Market
Raan has been a customer of George & Willy for a while now and we love how he has used our products in Denver's Free Market, a continually evolving collective that develops and markets curated products, services and experiences.
Raan is a creative force, overseeing the branding and creative strategy, product development and design for the socially motivated menswear label Apolis, which he co-founded with his brother. He joined the CFDA in 2014 and Women's Wear Daily named him a '10 of Tomorrow' in 2017. On top of all that, along with his wife Lindsay, he created Alchemy Works, a home and lifestyle retail concept in 2013.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you get up to?
I try and begin every day with a surf at Malibu followed by a coffee with Linsday, then I'll head to Apolis and meet with my brother and Apolis co-founder, Shea. In between meetings and in the evenings I'll work on events, marketing and overall brand building for Free Market and Alchemy Works.
We love the look of Free Market, tell us a little about the concept?
Free Market was founded in 2018 with the idea of combining retail, services and food/beverage that was complementary to each other; reinventing our version of the lost department store or a local bazaar. Our first iteration opened in Denver this past spring and is still finding its full personality but it's been refreshing to see how bringing people under one roof adds to each other's momentum and can be a success! It includes nine retail concepts/brands + one barbershop + one restaurant / cafe.
What was the inspiration behind the fit-out of the Free Market (we love it!)?
We wanted it to be gallery neutral so that any brand coming in would have a similar aesthetic and feel from the outside, as well as be seen through the glass walls into other shops so it all needed to flow seamlessly. Their decor and design inside the shops are unique to their style and customer but all complimentary to each other.
What do you like about the G&W aesthetic?
They match our interior design aesthetic of white glass walls and hard lines to give direction to shoppers.
What would be your top tips for staying organised?
Ha. Hmmm not saying that I am, but my wife helps us keep things moving in an organized way for our shops - also we live by Slack as an internal app for the team as well.
How do you stay creative and keep your workplace inspiring?
I would say travel is my main source of creativity. We find every opportunity to see new countries and places to be inspired (this summer was Puglia, Italy and it was unreal!) - I love bringing my toddler and wife along on this as much as we can too since its all in the family business. NZ is next on our list!
Credits: photos courtesy of Kylie Fitts.