What a roller coaster of a year 2017 has been. We, as global citizens, have been feeling the effects of a society in the midst of significant change. With what feels like a world in total disarray, we have also seen record donations to charity, witnessed millions of people marching for human rights, seen our state and local governments resist and fight unjust executive orders, and have supported all of the strong women and men who have shared their experiences with violence to fight for justice and equality.

Poketo is not known to be a political company, but we are inherently political in what we do. Our team of 20+ individuals are gay, straight, men, women, people who run the gamut of ethnicities, cultures, and interests. With all of our diversity, one thing that unites all of us at Poketo is a mutual love, respect and belief in each other and our community. That community is you: it’s the creative and curious individuals we see at our workshops; it’s all of you who walk through Poketo’s doors and support independent businesses; it’s our generous and talented community of makers, designers and artists who never cease to inspire us. It’s all of you who believe in the power of art to bring joy and hope to a seemingly chaotic world.

Not only have we all felt the pressure of the world, but this has been a particularly tough year for Poketo. With the Arts District of Downtown LA gentrifying, real estate changing hands, and rents skyrocketing, we’ve had to move out of our original store and neighborhood home of over 5 years. It was an area that we have been deeply involved with, and one that we helped shape into one of LA’s most important cultural centers. Earlier this year, we had no idea where our next home would be. We hustled hard to find a new location that could support the creative community we have built, and we’ve been lucky to find a new home in Little Tokyo, just a stone’s throw away from the Arts District. Even with all of the challenges of starting over, we’re looking forward to nurturing our community here, and, in the coming months, we’re also looking forward to expanding into a fourth retail location at The ROW in Downtown LA.

As we close out 2017, I want to thank each and every one of you for your continued support. Together, through initiatives like #ArtSpeaks, we have raised money for the ACLU and Inner-City Arts. Together, we have supported–and continue to support–countless independent artists, designers, and entrepreneurs through our retail locations and poketo.com. Together, we inspire learning, sharing, fun, and friendship at our weekly workshops at our location at The Line Hotel.

We’re looking forward to 2018 and everything the new year embodies. It’s about change. It’s about doing better. It’s about the belief that even the little moments of joy in your life can make all of the difference. Above all, we hope Poketo has helped bring those moments to you. If we’ve inspired you, made you smile, and shown you that you can make a difference, then our mission of “Art For Your Every Day” has been accomplished. Like the sun breaking through dark clouds, we hope to continue bringing joy through art, design, and creativity. Cheers to the New Year!

Ted Vadakan



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