Poketo’s first artist wallet series launched in San Francisco along with the first art show where the wallets sold out. We had late nights at Angie’s art school to print the first series of wallets. That first series and art show was such a success, it inspired us to start Poketo. The name Poketo comes from Angie’s Korean grandmother's mispronunciation of “pocket”. Poh-Keh-Toe.
We moved down to LA to focus on Poketo and moved into Ted’s parents’ house. This helped us grow the business and keep our overhead low. More and more of our favorite shops started to reach out and carry Poketo products as our online presence grew.
We eventually moved out of the parents’ house to Echo Park, Los Angeles. We ventured into tees, bags, and housewares, expanding what “art every day” could be. It was still just the two of us, working day and night, doing everything from design, pick, pack, and ship.
Our first big press hit was in NYT Sunday Magazine
as a full spread. “Look, mom, we are in THE New York Times!”
Poketo was invited to collaborate with artists in Australia, Spain, Scotland, and Japan. In each of these countries, we created Poketo artist series collections. We outgrew our home office and moved into a 1100 square foot loft in Downtown LA and hired our first full-time staff. Our new HQ became the space for Poketo art shows and events.
Poketo has collaborated on band merch with some of our favorite bands: Postal Service, Arcade Fire, Weezer, The Shins, Coachella, and more. For our pop up in Scotland, Stevie Jackson of Belle and Sebastian plays an intimate set with friends.
We were on the cover page of the LA TImes business section. Same year, we threw a large art show and our friends, Portugal The Man, played a free concert for hundreds of fans. This year was the beginning of a dream collaboration with Target, we created a 52 piece accessory collection for the retail giant that was sold in over 1700 stores in the USA and Canada.
Growing out of our first loft office, we found a 4000 sqf space in back then very quiet LA’s Arts District and turned it into Poketo’s HQ, a place for retail, workshops, events, and a gallery space. More national and international press like Wall Paper, Monocle, and NYT as well as companies like American Express and Toyota featured Poketo in their national advertising campaigns.
Poketo launched a creative workshops program and since then, hundreds of workshops were held teaching thousands of attendees on everything from Kimchi making ( Taught by Angie’s mom) to calligraphy, to lighting design. The Poketo workshops were all taught by our community of designers and entrepreneurs, including Lotta Jansdotter, Hrishikesh Hirway, Adi Goodrich, Emily Katz, Brendan Ravenhill, Lorien Stern, Chiaozza, Sonoko Sakai, Éva Goicochea of Maude, Monica Khemsurov of Sight Unseen, and more.
Poketo opened its second shop in The Line Hotel in Koreatown, a shop for the discerning travelers where we also took over the gallery installation of the lobby and hosted conversations with different artists. We also popped up at Nordstrom, duplicating the Poketo retail experience inside 8 national flagships across the country. This was also the first year we started holding company retreats. The retreats were a time to celebrate our accomplishments and set our paths years to come.
We continued pop-ups with MOCA, Casetify, Everlane, Baggu, Hem, Dims, Join,
Korea Institute of Design Promotion,
and Urban Outfitters. Not only brands but independent artists Ellen Van Dusen, Lisa Congdon, Ladies & Gentleman, Eric Trine, Will Bryant, Chiaozza, and Sean Knibb had shows and collaborations. We grew to 4 Poketo locations to bring the Poketo community together across sprawling Los Angeles. Poketo created a licensing program and over the years have collaborated with Beyond Yoga, Takenaka, Corkcicle, Chronicle, Thousand, and more. Poketo was awarded the Edge Award by the Los Angeles Design Festival for positive community impact.
Our first book, Creative Spaces
, with Chronicle Books, was published about the homes, studios, and lives of artists, designers, and entrepreneurs. We held a national book tour, hosting discussions with designers in LA, SF, Seattle, Vancouver, Boston, New York, Austin, Denver, and Seoul. We were also invited to speak with corporate teams at Starbucks, Microsoft, and Google. The LA Times featured Ted & Angie’s home, our own creative living space in Los Angeles.
The global pandemic hits. Angie, Ted, and the small but mighty Poketo team roll up their sleeves and fulfill, pack, and ship all your online orders. Without your outpouring of support, we wouldn’t have survived last year. It was a year of change and reset for Poketo, luckily we were able to pivot quickly, allowing us to forge a sustainable path forward. We were thrilled to finally reopen our shops in Little Tokyo & Row DTLA in July welcoming our customers back in real life.
Poketo designed and produced a big project with the Academy Museum, Los Angeles on stationery, caps, socks, bamboo and glass tabletop, textiles, and more. What’s next? Be assured that we will continue our aim to inspire, to bring joy and art to everyday life, and to uplift our community. Creativity, fun and community has been everything to us this past 18 years, we march on.
Founded in 2003 by husband-and-wife team Ted Vadakan and Angie Myung, Poketo has grown from a small startup into a creative hub and online destination. A lifestyle brand born out of the desire to infuse art and design into every day, Poketo creates collections of design-conscious goods to cultivate a creative lifestyle.
The name Poketo (pronounced “poh-keh-toe”) stems from the mispronunciation of “pocket” by Angie’s grandmother. It tied in perfectly with the first product ever created under Poketo: a series of artist wallets that fit right in your pocket—and Ted and Angie just loved the way it sounded.
In addition to its online store, Poketo has two LA-based retail locations in DTLA, and Little Tokyo, each of which hosts art exhibitions, workshops and other events that serve to foster the local creative community. The newest flagship, Poketo Project Space at ROW DTLA, is a concept space with rotating pop-ups by different brands, artists, designers, and makers.
Poketo has worked with brands and companies like Nike, MTV, Disney, Target, Nordstrom and MailChimp, museums like MOCA, the Guggenheim, the de Young, and SFMOMA, and has collaborated with over 200 international artists, creating exclusive products that reflect its philosophy of “Art for Your Every day.”
In 2019, they've published their debut book, CREATIVE SPACES
, a celebration of creatives, their work, and their spaces. With stunning photography, intimate profiles, and unexpected takeaways, the book showcases an eclectic mix of creatives in the spaces that inspire them.
Poketo Project Space @ ROW DTLA
777 S. Alameda St. #174
Los Angeles, CA 90021 (213) 372 - 5686
Open Thursday - Sunday 12-5 PM Poketo in Little Tokyo, DTLA
374 E. 2nd St. Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 537 - 0751
Monday - Wednesday 11 - 5:30 PM
Thursday - Sunday 11 - 6:00 PM