In November of 2016, we received an email from a gentleman by the name of Hiro Sato in Japan interested in purchasing Orange & Park products wholesale. He mentioned distributing a few products in Japan from California icons like Rainbow Sandals, John Elwell, and Linda Benson, and worked with hip Japanese retailers like Beams. He was coming to San Diego and wanted to meet up. I was game.
I was to meet Mr. Hiro at the Orange & Park warehouse in Coronado. I was outside on the street waiting for him when he rolled up in a van driven by Linda Benson herself.
Linda’s a legend. She was the first woman to surf Waimea Bay in Hawaii (in 1959) and she surfed competitively during the entire decade of the 1960s, racking up titles like World Champion and U.S. Champion (five times) along the way. (Our friends over at Liquid Salt have a great interview with Linda, check it out here.) Hiro-san, also an experienced and respected surfer, has been distributing Linda's Rail Grabber in Japan for years.
I showed them a bunch of O&P artwork and Linda shared surf stories, using the San Diego Surf and North Shore prints for reference. I made sure they both went home with a stacks of posters, shirts and other O&P goodies.
Since then, Hiro-san has coordinated collaborations between Orange & Park and Relume as well as Beams (coming spring 2018). We wouldn’t be big in Japan without him. :) Thanks for everything, Hiro-san!