Montreal entrepreneurs Zach Macklovitch and Nate Gannage, the creators of event promotion and artist management company SaintWoods and owners of venues Apartment 200, Suwu and École Privée, represent a whole new way of tastemaking, and with that comes collaborative efforts with international heavy hitters. From working with artists like PARTYNEXTDOOR to clothing brands like PLACES + FACES, there's seemingly no limit to what these homegrown heroes can do. I wanted to dig a little deeper into understanding their brand and the lifestyle it embodies, so I made my way to their workspace to discuss what it means to collaborate with artists in the music & fashion industry, what it’s like to throw the hottest parties, and how they define their taste.
It's clear you have an impact on streetwear culture and you’re providing people with an in demand lifestyle. What does this lifestyle mean to you?
Zach: We'll never say no to checking something out, as much as we spend time together we also spend time apart and we'll often link up after long periods of not seeing each other. When we go to Miami it’s not about going to LIV, it’s like what’s the cool underground locals bar that people are going to. We're often looking to find what's next. No matter who I talk to or the artist I bring in, as simple as when I brought in Taco, it’s like who do you have next? I’m asking everyone that I know who is an influencer or who I think has a good sense of taste, what do you think is next whether it be fashion or music because we have a lot of friends who work in fashion, a lot of friends who work in music, friends who work in art and I think we get a real kick out of asking what’s next and really trying to digest that.
Nate: It’s being students of life; pick whatever your tastes are, always be searching and hungry for what’s next and what’s inspiring and driving you. We'll never think we'll know everything, it’s about stepping out of your comfort zone because you’re going to learn something.
How do you go about working with brands like PLACES + FACES?
Nate: I would say the first time we did a party with them was two years ago, they were making some waves and we liked what they were doing we thought it was cool. Like yo this is similar to what we're doing except they’re different homies, let’s bring them in for a party, similar to the guys from Pigalle or Le Pompon in Paris. We see what they're doing, it either alines with what we're doing or we're inspired by what they're doing. Regardless of what the motivation behind it is, they seem cool, they seem dope, on a similar wave length, let's bring them in for a party, and that’s kinda how it started. We were an events company first and then we opened the bars so we had the opportunity to continue with that.
What is the creative process behind this collab?
Zach: We approached [Imran] Ciesay about it, he's been Nates contact for about 2 and half years and I asked if he wanted to do a couple pieces together. Then we sent him a couple of ideas, he was feeling them, we picked the one we liked the most and we went from there. A collab can often come together in a couple of different ways and when it came to this one we just got lucky that there was something we both liked in the first set of designs.
It seems like everything is starting to become routine for you in terms of bringing artist to great venues. Building on what SaintWoods represents, how do you break out of that routine in search of innovation?
Nate: At the end of the day it’s like what would I rather be doing to pay my bills, would I rather be working a corporate job or traveling? We're highly motivated individuals, we have goals we want to reach and it’s going to take a lot of hard work and effort to get there. People have sacrificed more to get to those positions, just be thankful for what you have, keep working for what you have and exceed that. In terms of inspiration, we do a lot of traveling trying to say educated, and obviously the internet, everyone has access to it but it’s how you use that tool, how are you going to use that to your advantage.
We’ve talked about what inspires you, but with this platform and lifestyle you inspire others. How would you enlighten an audience if you were in a mentorship role?
Nate: Everybody is different everyone has a different path, it’s about working your ass off. Its cliché, but the things you hear about business that are cliché, they're fucking true. You're going to go through shit times and if you just quit you'll never make it. Anybody who's been successful, they've been in the gutter. Perseverance and sticking to your own script or path is important. Every person is unique so every person has something to bring to the table, so it's trying to identify what that is and put that into whatever you're doing whether that be music, clothes, or art. Seeing what your advantages are, your taste, your network, your upbringing.
Zach: We get a chance to talk to a lot of younger kids and I think it’s about perseverance, it’s about staying humble and staying nice. If when we opened Suwu, which was our first spot, we got big heads and decided we were better than everybody we would have never gotten the chance to open Apartment 200. If the first time an artist wore a SaintWoods t-shirt we started thinking we were big shit we may have never built relationships with [Imran] Ciesay and all the other collabs we have coming. Stay polite and humble and answer all your emails.
Looking to the future – where will SaintWoods look to next after you’ve solidified yourself in music, art and streetwear culture?
Zach: I appreciate you saying that but I would argue that we're not there yet. So I would say we actually want, in a global sense, to solidify ourselves around the world as tastemakers. I think that's something that we work on daily. The decisions we make have impacts around the world, we're looking to expand the product side of our business whether that be continuing with the SaintWoods collections or launching a vodka. We're looking to expand Apartment 200 to a couple of markets in the next 12 months so we're really excited about that.
Nate: We still have a long way to go, we got to take a step back along the way and say damn we came a long way, remember it's the journey that counts. You can’t get too far ahead just looking at the future. Take a minute to be thankful and see how much growth you’ve had. Take a minute to be thankful, and see that there's still a lot more out there.
Zach: It’s going to be 4 years since Suwu opened, its funny to look back on, to see how we've grown and how our partners have grown, the way everything has changed in that period. I remember when we opened Suwu I was tripping out because 40oz and Cory Shapiro showed up and now we have everyone coming in from Rihanna to Travis Scott, Nas, and Mac Miller. The amount of people we’ve had come through our doors, see our lifestyle and the experience we are trying to push is such a blessing.
Nate: We don’t have these question that often, it’s nice to just talk through shit sometimes. People are just not asking those question in a general conversation, and it forces us to think and take an outside look at what we are doing and what we've done.