Posted on February 27 2017
Today as a part of our Behind The Seams with A.K. Rikk's series we’d like to introduce our President, Jim Murray. He has been a part of our family for eleven years. Jim has traveled all over the world collecting A.K. Field Notes and understands the importance of appreciating where you live. He explains, "Many people ask me why we do not have a store in New York City, Tokyo, Atlanta, or Chicago and the answer is - we're proud to be in Grand Rapids. Not to say we won't have other stores at some point but every store we will ever open will be a part of the community that it lives in. That is what makes the store special." Get to know what holds the most influence on Jim's perspective through a series of questions in our Behind The Seams with A.K. Rikk's interview.
How did A.K. Rikk's come onto your radar?
When I was in college my good friend Greg Paton and his father Don recommended I apply at A.K. Rikk's seeing as I was already a manager of a retail store. I remember I interviewed with Rick, the owner of A.K. Rikk's, in October and I did not get the position. A few months later another position opened up at A.K. Rikk's so I interviewed again and this time I received the job. My first official day was February 14th 2006.
Where do you find inspiration that holds the most influence in your life?
Now - everywhere, but that is a trained behavior. I used to only find inspiration in inspirational things such as an inspirational movie, book, or a professor. Then I began to look for inspiration in other things such as architecture or food. Then I started really understanding what it took to create which led me to find influence in people, in mastery. Some of the greatest people in most industries have dedicated themselves to a very small concept of mastery. Once you have enough information and know enough about a subject, you then can play with it and change it but you're doing it with authority because you've mastered it first. You've given to it before you take from it. Now... I can find inspiration in almost anything.
You recently returned from Men’s Market in New York City. What is your feeling about what you saw from the designers?
Casual, comfortable, and knits all day! This is the first time I’ve been to Market and it feels homogenized for men’s wear - meaning a fashion house from the uber luxe world is showing the same pieces as an introductory luxe house but with different content. One house shows a cashmere sweatshirt where as another house shows a cotton sweatshirt but the point is they're both showing sweatshirts right now. Sometimes fashion reflects who we are as people and sometimes fashion pushes us to who we should be as people, I am willing to say that people are more confident in who they are today so they don't feel the need to overdress or overcompensate.
What was the first designer piece you ever purchased? Do you still own it?
I was brought up with humble means but was surrounded by people who cared about fashion and designers. I would wear Ralph Lauren quite a bit when I was in high school whether it was brand new or a hand-me-down. I remember people would always ask me why I was so dressed up - I just loved clothes and the way they made me feel.
Many would call you a foodie - What restaurant is on your bucket list?
Geographically - Alinea in Chicago. I think it has a great story - the chef, Grant Achatz, I love how he didn’t stop pursuing his dream even after losing his taste buds to cancer. I would like to go there because I believe that we are entering a sphere of experience, and whether it is retail, dining, or theater, I believe we have to serve people better. Experiences are the way to do that. When you ask somebody for their money that they have worked very hard to make, you need to give them something - you need to always give more than what you're taking and experience is the other way to do it. Globally, I’d like to go to Faviken in Sweden with Chef Magnus Nilsson. Faviken is very interesting because geographically they're located a few hours away from nowhere. For people to journey to this restaurant makes no sense whatsoever but they do, and they do so for the experience.
What is your style motto?
It's contrary but if you're not confident, don't wear it. I believe the worst thing you could do in fashion is be close-minded and think you're a certain person or can only wear a certain color. You have to be open-minded, continuously learning and educating yourself on fashion and the idea. I think there is a difference between fashion and style. Fashion repeats itself, style does not. Fashion is inclusive and style is individual.
What events are you excited about this year?
We are bringing back Runway For Charity this summer which is our biggest party we do all year. In the fall, we’ll be celebrating our 30th year anniversary. So, not only will that be a grand event but we will be bringing in designers to Grand Rapids. I believe the fall will be an amazing conversation for A.K. Rikk’s in the community.
That concludes our Behind The Seams with A.K. Rikk's interview. Next time you shop with us make sure you say “Hi” to Jim!