Name: Matt Hamilton
Title: Owner and Entrepreneur
Organization/Business: Wallace Hamilton
What do you do and how did you get here?
I own Wallace Hamilton and we opened up here in Gastown six months ago. We are a classic heritage style men’s clothing shop with a focus on quality, and location, with the majority of items in store coming from North America or Europe.
I didn’t start out this way. Fashion and retail is a new path for me as my career was originally in marketing. I was nearing my 40th birthday and no longer felt a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from my work. I felt I wanted to create something that I could be proud of, both now and later in life, and to have others be a part of this, through sharing the experience and building a community of customers and friends.
What inspired the name and concept?
Hamilton is of course, my last name, and Wallace is the last name of my mother’s side of the family. Hailing from Vancouver since the turn of the 20thcentury, the Wallace’s first arrived here when my Great Grandfather came over from Scotland. I felt that it was a name that’s been part of Vancouver for over a century and when I added my name to Wallace, it created this classic character representative of what we’re about here.
If you had 15 minutes only, in Gastown, how would you spend it?
Probably eating and drinking! There are a ton of great places to do both in Gastown. La Mezcaleria is my local hangout and often after work I’ll swing by and grab a quick bite and a drink. I love the food and I’d spend all of my 15 minutes there for sure!
What do you love about the neighbourhood?
I like the diversity. It’s a neighbourhood where everyone is kind of doing their own thing and each venture and idea is different from the next. Often, I find that a lot of places are homogenous and what’s nice about Gastown is that it is unique. There are business owners bringing in new ideas and are willing to try something different. I think that is what’s really cool about Gastown.
Can you recall a particularly happy moment or experience in Gastown?
I grew up in Vancouver and one of my early memories of Gastown is going to The Purple Onion. I can’t say that’s my fondest memory but it is what comes to mind.
More recently, it was opening up the shop on Columbia Street. It was my first experience spending a large amount of time in the neighbourhood. Right away I was welcomed by some fantastic people who were very supportive of what I was doing. In particular, the guys at Strike Movement have been very helpful. They have cheered me on and want me to succeed. I’ve made some great friends and I feel pretty lucky to be here.
What’s your definition of a good life?
Do what I want to do. I am fortunate to be living the kind of life that I have wanted to live and to follow my passion and dream.