Brag Garden

Brag Garden Store Coverage
Words by Alan Ng & Jenkin Au
Photography by justalilhype! Crew

Brag Garden, as Tony explains it, is a place where he wants individuals to be able to come and “brag” in a happy, non-cocky way. That’s why you see the chocolate drips – it’s to symbolize that people are bragging so much that it’s actually overflowing! Tony also explains to us about other concepts within the store, such as design and the overall store itself. Read on!

Please introduce your new store, Brag Garden, to our readers. Why did you call it Brag Garden and why is it a guerilla store?

Actually, we never thought of opening another store; it was supposed to be an office. The difference between renting an office and having this store wasn’t that big and Superbored had way too much stuff – too much stuff, packed! Then we went, “Why don’t we open another store?” But what should we name it? Brag Garden was a name that we came up with very quickly. That day, I was joking around with Angela and talking about names for the store. Brag Garden came up. We thought it was pretty funny and we decided to call the new store Brag Garden. I personally like the word brag. In Chinese, there is no word for brag. It’s not a hateful word and it’s funny and silly. The first time I saw this word was on the game Sims. In this game, other than “love”, “hug” and “talk” buttons, there is also a button called “brag”. This way, brag is equal to love, hug and talk in terms of importance. It’s a good thing because you’re just chatting and you’re not being cocky – bragging and cockiness isn’t the same. If there was a studio where you can come together and just brag together, then it will be a positive thing. Even the person bragging will know that it’s just something to make fun, not really trying to be cocky. With Brag Garden, it’s like a garden where you can brag. In a garden, you’re supposed to be growing things. In a brag garden, you can brag more and more and more, like pride. The store is coloured with chocolate drips, but the concept of it is like the store is overflowing with bragging and pride. This is the theme.

Oh, I see. To me, I see teeth when I look at these walls. This is a totally different concept from what I saw.

Yeah, that’s good too. I don’t like to give too many definitions because people have different interpretations – whatever you see is what it is, that’s fine. I think its cooler.

The store is called Brag Garden. It’s undeniably similar to the cafe, Bread Garden. Have you been to Bread Garden?

Yes.

Are you a fan of it?

No.

(Everyone Laughs)

The stuff there is so boring and old. Bread Garden, Tim Hortons and Starbucks, I think Starbucks is the best. Bread Garden seems so old and dirty, I don’t know why.

Before, we were reading your blog and read that you were planning on starting a cafe. Can you tell us more about this project? And will you name it something similar to BragGarden?

We’re in the planning phase. We’ll definitely name it with the same theme. There are a lot of people that ask, “Why didn’t you call your store ‘WrongWroks’?” We didn’t want to be within that frame. People ask again, “Why didn’t you call the store ‘Superbored’?” We didn’t want two stores called ‘Superbored’. There was the opportunity to try something new and I wanted to do that. With the cafe, it will be with the WrongWroks theme and it will have a lot of the WrongWroks characters, maybe even big ones.

Many people open new stores to expand and reach new territories. Why did you open a store so close to Superbored?

That’s probably the first question that most people I know ask.

Yeah, definitely. Last time, we said we were going to go check out the new store and I was expecting to have to drive again. Then you said let’s walk and I was bracing for a long ass walk.

Yeah. The closeness of the stores also goes along with my own personality of wanting to be the opposite of what people normally expect. People tell me to open far away but I say, “No, it’ll be really close.” If you think about Vancouver as a city, it is very small. If I were to open one, where would you do it? Burnaby or Richmond, right? Then no one would come to my Superbored store, right? There is only so much traffic available and Vancouver definitely isn’t New York. Why don’t we open a store that’s close? When you’re up here at Superbored, you can go check out Brag Garden because it’s close and the stuff we sell is different. This place sells stuff like Stage and Fantasy. I think that if you do things that are really different, people will wonder and be really curious about it. Why is it called Superbored when it’s not boring? Why is it called Brag Garden? Why do you open it so close? I really wanted to open up a Mickey Mouse cafe because I really like Mickey Mouse, but it is way too expensive. $3 million dollars! If I had that money, I would do something else!

Can you tell us more about that square hole in the wall at this store? What inspired that idea? Is this idea inspired by Spongebob?

No, it is for people to pay for their goods. It’s pretty funny if I stand there and I’m paying into a square hole.

Did you know Spongebob has something similar? Right behind their cashier at the Krusty Krab, there is a square hole where Squidward tells Spongebob what to make.

Really?! Wow, I didn’t know that. You know, I have this philosophy. Between knowledge and imagination, what is more important?

I don’t know.

Albert Einstein said that imagination is more than knowledge. Personally, I don’t have a lot of knowledge and I’ve never taken business. When I think of something, I think, “What if I did it?” I’ve never taken interior design or read on how to do business, but I really wanted to do it. Therefore, I think about how to do it and I get to where I am. What I do is usually abnormal, like why would you have a window in your store to pay for things? It’s not really good or bad, it’s just weird. When I was designing this store, I suddenly thought, “Why don’t we have a hole here?” and now we have a hole there. It’s a high hole too so when kids come to buy things, it’ll be pretty funny because they are looking up at the guy. The person that will be managing this place is called Willy, so we call him Willy Wonka.

(Everyone laughs. Willy was not at the store at the time.)

We’ll be making chocolate, too. It’s just something to do something really different and not being so bored with it. A lot of things that we do aren’t for money, it’s for the experience. I think if I have the chance to do this and that, I should treasure it and just try it. What happens if I fail? You have nothing to lose. Right? What do you want to do? (Points to Jenkin)

Jenkin: I’m graduating this year and a lot of people ask me this question. I want to pursue justalilhype!

Why do so many magazines start off really well and then end up bad? I think it’s because they don’t believe. If you stand strong and believe that you will do the magazine, then someone will support you. You don’t have to depend on ads. Why does every magazine end up the same? Money. But if you strongly believe in your cause, then the end product will be very different. Remember this. There is nothing to lose – the most that will happen is you close up the project but at least you get the experience. What about you? (Points to Jarvis).

Jarvis: I want to do business and management.

Then do it. What about you? (Points to Alan)

Alan: I want to do this magazine as well.

Jenkin: We share this passion and aspiration.

That’s good. I see the passion and belief in this. There is nothing to lose, only the experience if you don’t.

Thank you. Going back to the store, there are is an open area in the back that you showed us the first time we came to the store. Can you tell us more about this garden?

It’s just a shared common area. I like this place though. A lot of people were asking us how we found this place. One day, we were just driving around and we saw it. Everything for me happens like this. To me, I really believe in fate. For example, you just finished school and you don’t know what to do. There a lot of times where you just don’t know if what you’re doing is right or wrong. It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about doing it. What you picture in your mind is what you do, but why you do it is something that you can’t explain. Everything needs consideration but throw a little spice into it and make it random. When I rented this place, there were no cars, no people; it was pretty empty. Now, there are plenty of cars going in and out, and many people walking back and forth. I thought it was pretty good and peaceful here.

With this store, how long are you planning on keeping it open?

A year and a half.

The stuff you buy for this store is limited. When you close this store, your patrons might be really disappointed. Would you keep it open if people ask for it?

If people really like it and are asking to keep it open, then I will just re-sign the contract and keep it open. You never know.

What is most HYPEd up about Brag Garden?

With Superbored, it was my first store so there were a lot of things that I didn’t know; it did turn out pretty well though. This is like a second chance to do another store. The first time that you do things, there are a lot of things that you didn’t do very well. With a second chance, I get to do different things. The other store was so restrictive because of the district. Even the polka dots that I put on the windows needed a permit! Because there aren’t many people around here, they aren’t as aware in this area, so I have a lot more degrees of freedom and I can paint it like I have now.

Interview with Willy (Brag Garden Store Manager)

Please introduce yourself. I hear you have the nickname “Willy Wonka”. Tell us how you got it.

Willy Wonka came from Tony. I think it’s a joke and it’s funny and his personality is like that.

How did you get involved with WrongWroks?

Before, I didn’t know much about the brand, but I knew Tony through someone close to me. After knowing Tony, I found out about WrongWroks.

What is your favourite product from WrongWroks?

I like the heart shirt. It looks like a shirt by Comme Des Garcons but instead of black, it’s red. In Hong Kong, the original shirt is very common – everyone is wearing it. With Tony’s version of it, it’s a lot more special.

What is your favourite aspect of the store?

The painting and the whole environment. In the back, I have the office and in the front, I have the store. I really like this.

As a store manager of Brag Garden, what can you bring to the customers, personally?

I can make them feel really comfortable when they are at the store. I want them to make them feel at home and I want them to just come and they don’t have to buy anything. I just want them to have fun and enjoy the brand.

What is the most HYPEd up thing about the store?

The store hours. This store is only open for a very limited time within the day and that is the most HYPEd up thing about the store.