IN CONVERSATION WITH THE FOUNDERS OF PAL, PENNY ROS-RAHIMZADEH & POYAN RAHIMZADEH
Interview by Diamonique Oseana
Dedicated to creating exquisite sportswear and leisure collections that transcend generations, Palmer and Lola Sporting Goods aka PAL aims to inspire families to discover the joy of sports together. This exclusive interview offers a glimpse into the story of the founders of PAL Sporting Goods, shedding light on the visionaries behind the brand, alongside that we gain insight into their upcoming collections and future ventures.
Preview the visuals and video here of the upcoming AW23 collection, and the exclusive Frat 3.0 drop to be released this December.
Both of you have an extensive background in the fashion industry. What motivated you to venture into running a fashion brand together?
Penny: I always had an extreme admiration for Poyan. I come from a very ambitious background and his unique ability to just show style was something that amazed me. Anything he touched. During our relationship, we kept working together and always supported each other. He really supported me as a strong ambitious woman so I knew for me a business journey together would be with respect and staying in your own lane.
Poyan: What’s better than having your brand structured just like my wife does with my life. I’m an obvious mess in my head and that translates for the good in our creations, but every creator needs an enabler.
Can you share some of the challenges you faced when establishing the brand and how you overcame them?
Penny: Every period has its challenges. Last year I went through a phase of trying out new content with new designers. It was hard but thriving. I think growing slow and steady is always challenging when a product is loved.
Poyan: Building the brand from a business point of view takes a lot of time and needs to be built with stability throughout the growth that we make.
As a couple, how do you maintain a balance between personal and professional while working together?
Penny: It’s hard. Just trying to keep this transparent. We also have a little 2-year-old together, and Poyan’s 14-year-old. I mean try being that fun mum, the wife, cooking 6 days a week because we like to be healthy, partying is in our nature and then have a workout session. For me, it’s this: Saying you’re busy is boring. So stop saying that to your friends. Be positive and keep it fun. Be honest if you need less or more of each other. Forget the rules and don’t compare yourself with other couples. We see each other a lot. Needing space is necessary. Also: Laugh and make each other laugh. Don’t be too serious all the time.
Poyan: I can be cliche and tell you we leave business in the office, but that’s just a lie. We’re so incredibly passionate about PAL that we obviously take this home and that’s not easy. Personally, I’m learning to create more time to spend with each other and the kids, but also alone. All time is growth.
What led you to concentrate on sportswear apparel over other clothing categories?
Penny: We wanted to give something where it’s not all about looks and vanity but fun family times and quality.
Poyan: We make inspired sportswear with a better quality and wear for the market now and to come.
What drew you to incorporate the American sports style into your brand?
Poyan: It’s not only American, but I’m also just very fond of American quality, ads, design, and quotes. I have always been; my family migrated to LA from Iran. So, I am very drawn to that style from a natural background.
For your AW23 collection, what is the significance behind the theme of ice skating for this collection?
Poyan: We try to dive into forgotten sports, the people who still are so passionate about it and what it does to the nature they play in. This collection was beautifully set in Norway and its retro feel with a new young twist felt perfect.
Why was this chosen as the source of inspiration, and how is it reflected in the collection?
Poyan: I also just really like Blades of Glory!
Penny: You would get it if you met him haha. For now, all I can say is, just look at the visuals and then look at the styles. They match 😉
As you prepare to unveil Frat 3.0, what sets this collection apart from previous editions?
Penny: This collection is based on our yearly Frat collection. It’s our more simplistic line where we work with one or two tones. This year it was a real celebration for us to unveil Frat 3.0. Not a lot of people know this but we have been sued by the skate brand P for the past few years. This started with our first fraternity jacket and continued to the frat designs. As a starting family-based brand that could have been a rough hit. We like to believe we are extremely authentic and we were blamed for snatching designs. As for me, it became really personal to the point they questioned my children’s names. Because we won the case, we celebrated with our first wool cable knit cardigan. Poyan came in hard with the triangle victory logo. This collection stands for victory. And that’s what you will feel with any player that wins a championship in the NFL.
Family is an integral part of your brand. What other core values do you aim to convey through your brand and these new launches?
Penny: The quality of our garments is really a high value in our brand. Don’t throw away your clothes after only wearing them for one season only. Be duration, be long lasting, and love items more than just for the aesthetics.
You have emphasized the significance of selecting the right fabrics and materials for your products. Why is this a fundamental aspect of the brand?
Poyan: We don’t want to be the 12th in the dozen. Let them do what every other brand does, we like to create from cradle to the grave.
As PAL Sporting Goods expands its presence, can you elaborate on the strategic approach to entering the Asian market, and how you envision meeting the unique preferences of consumers in these regions?
Poyan: Asia has always been so supportive of PAL. We are looking at how to grow steadily at our own pace in this market. Fitting in collections etc. Of course, there is more we’re re-entering the UK and Germany with partners that understand our roadmap. PAL is for the world; we’re just expanding at our own pace.
Are there considerations for building future partnerships with athletes, influencers, and key stakeholders to enhance brand visibility and credibility in new markets?
Penny: Every season we try to look at what fits into the collection. I do however from a marketing perspective. It has to fit, and can never be forced. People have to love us and wear us and then we’ll talk about commercial purposes.
Looking at the long-term vision for PAL Sporting Goods, how do you see the brand evolving over the next five years and what key milestones or achievements are you aiming for during this period?
Penny: For me, I would love to make ‘House of PAL’ a real concept. A warehouse thing. Store on the bottom, maybe a school or trainee sorts after that, atelier, little cafe, expo, community. A House of PAL’s.
I would love it if we have a more exclusive tier that Poyan can expand into with his designs. Though also dive into the Kids and Homeware markets.