From a young age, Breanne Harrison-Pollock always knew she was destined for a career in fashion after falling in love with clothing at an early age.
“I always loved clothing,” Harrison-Pollock said. “I used to sleep in my closet because I was obsessed with my dresses. I grew up sewing and creating stuff, so when I discovered that you could go to school for fashion design it was a revelation for me.”
Her journey has taken her across North America, first from her childhood home in Saskatoon to New York, where she attended Parsons School of Design, and now to her current home in Los Angeles.
Ateyo wasn’t the first design venture embarked on by Harrison-Pollock, as she and business partner Rachel Feinberg initially founded clothing line DAMNsel, a New York Fashion Week feature worn by the likes of Beyonce.
However, after discovering the gaming community while still living in New York, they shifted their focus to an esports-wear company.
“We fell in love with the community,” Harrison-Pollock explained. “Then we figured out that no one was really paying attention, or making clothing designed just for them.”
The research and development process was long and tedious for Ateyo, being one of the first clothing lines designed specifically for gaming.
“It was probably three years of research. We would talk to every gamer we could find, and get our hands on,” she said. “We would sew things on our home sewing machine and take them back to the gaming cafes where they would try them, and give us feedback.”
Despite those humble beginnings, Ateyo’s trajectory has mirrored that of esports, gaining in popularity as competitive gaming does so as well. A 2019 Forbes article went so far as to call the company the ‘Nike of esports.”
“Even more so in the last six-to-nine months, while we’ve all been in this global pandemic, I think people who weren’t gamers before are now playing games,” she said. “People are starting to consider themselves gamers. It’s definitely becoming more mainstream, which is really exciting.”
Despite the success that Ateyo has been able to enjoy, neither of its founders are resting on their laurels.
“I think we still feel like we have so much work to do, that it’s so nice to have the recognition, but, for us, we’re only five per cent of the way to where we want to be,” Harrison-Pollock said.
And their determination to get there is still as strong as it was on day one.
“Hopefully, someday, there’s an article written on some new company and they’ll call them the Ateyo of blank,” she said. “That’s the goal. We think this is the next generation’s lifestyle brand.”
Their work ethic continues to pay off for the women as Ateyo was recently named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list.
“If I would’ve told my 10-year-old self that I was running a fashion company with my best friend in Los Angeles, and I was driving around to factories and events, I mean, it’s a dream come true,” she said with a smile.
As for any advice she has for the next wave of up-and-coming entrepreneurs, she said you need to be ready to get “comfortable with being uncomfortable” and do things that are terrifying or that you’re not quite sure that you’ll be good at.
“But once you get to that space, it kind of feels like that’s where the magic happens.”