The lifestyle behind Poler is simple: it’s outdoor stuff made cool; camping made fashionable. Their aim is to not only better your outdoorsy-times, but to carry over that nostalgic camp experience to the other parts of your life as well. Their hashtag is #campvibes and their second location in Laguna Beach— which just opened this summer— is exactly that.
With couches covered in Pendleton’s infamous print, tents atop 4WD Jeeps, teepees that you are encouraged to hang out in, and a (real) baby orange tree right smack in the middle, it’s more than just a retail space, it’s a living space. Brandon Smith, the store’s manager explains, “We want to sell the entire brand. The retail is just a small square footage of who we are. The space is an advertisement. It’s a fun experience. We want people to come, have a cup of coffee, hang out on the couches, climb in a tent, shape a surfboard… just feel free to hang out.”
Other than the obvious reasons, the Portland based company, which was founded about four years ago, chose to open their sister store in LB because they wanted to create more of a surf presence. The brand is already heavy into the motorcycle, skate, and snow industries, and picking a location on South Coast Highway, literally across the street from one of Orange County’s most pristine beaches, definitely helps the case.
They wanted a space where they could showcase their products. Somewhere their customers could see the products in action— an extension of retail. Hammocks hang from the ceiling, motorcycles and custom-made bikes sit on the floor, and there’s a shaping room where you can watch famous shapers make your new board.
Poler carries playful and functional gear for the outdoorsman or woman. Suitable for both urban life and wildlife, their line of products includes everything from hats to jackets, tents to surfboards, backpacks to wearable sleeping bags. (Yes, it’s a thing!) The colors are vivid, the patterns flashy, and everything is fun, which is perfectly in line with the brand’s vision.
Theirs is a vision that incorporates other companies successes in addition to their own. They don’t see other brands as competition, but as collaborators. They serve Stumptown cold brew coffee on tap and Salt & Straw ice cream (both from Portland) in their cafe, and they are converting their top level into an area where they can host pop-up shops where small, complimenting brands can come in on a monthly basis to showcase their own products. Additionally, they have an in-house art gallery where they feature art by local and inspiring artists. They plan to host launch parties, singer/songwriter nights, movie nights with beach chairs and picnic baskets, and of course, BBQ’s for no particular reason. Why? Because it’s fun. Why? Because it’s refreshing. Why? Because life.
For Poler, life is about enjoying the moment. It’s about being outside and creating experiences. Life is a journey, and one that we all grow up in and take together— just like that community baby orange tree of theirs. Now it’s only three feet tall, but with each year its branches will spread out further and it will grow taller… bigger… eager to fill out the space and see what Poler becomes. And we’ll be there, decked out in the most fashionable camping gear there is, waiting to take on life and tackle all its adventures. Total #campvibes.
Lindsay DeLong is the Managing Editor of The Fullest. If she’s not hiking up a mountain in head-to-toe Poler gear, find her at her computer (in head-to-toe Poler gear) at firstname.lastname@example.org or on social media via @lindizzaster.
Photographs by: Marielena Verdugo.