Talking To Entrepreneurs: Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani, Frank & Oak

Talking To Entrepreneurs: Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani, Frank & Oak

Lifestyle | Posted by - August 17, 2016 at 1:00 am

“ ’This is day one.’ It’s a phrase we’ve been repeating for two years now, and it’s something that’s become a fundamental part of our team’s culture. What started in Montreal as a team of two handling everything from photography to clothing design, and quickly grew to a team of over 100 who strives to help a generation of men dress and live well. It’s still day one, though, and at the core, it’s all about our customers, it’s about creativity, and it’s about the entrepreneurial journey.  - Hicham Ratnani

Pictured above: Frank & Oak co-founder Ethan Song, CEO and Hicham Ratnani, COO


“This was the original team, back when we were probably five people. Now we’re over a hundred. This photo is great because you can see that it feels like a group of friends—it’s intimate. Quite a few of these guys are still on the team, so it’s nice that there’s continuity. It’s a real family and a real team.”  - Hicham Ratnani


“This shoe box represents the heart and soul of the first days of Frank & Oak. Here you see early, early customer feedback and comments. These guys would take the time to send us something fun, personal or creative—that’s the relationship that we build with the customer. This box is a reminder of how much the client cares and how much we care about the client.” - Hicham Ratnani


“To make this cable knit sweater, we worked with Carraig Donn, a knitwear company based in Ireland that’s been around for generations. The heritage-inspired design symbolizes that it’s important to preserve the past while creating the future.” - Ethan Song


“Dieter Rams is one of the greatest industrial designers in the history of the world. One thing we’ve learned from him is that less is more. As you can see from the space we’re standing in, the way our website is designed, and the minimal branding on our clothing, this idea is at the core of our design philosophy. Whenever we add too much, we go back to this book to remind us that more is not always better.”  - Ethan Song


“Every day I spend my mornings reviewing clothing designs with our design team. Here I’m working on one of our shirting collections with Catherine, one of our first employees.” - Ethan Song

“We gave these mugs to all of our employees for the holidays in 2012. It was amazing for us to be able to give something special and branded to all of the people who make this place tick.”  - Hicham Ratnani


 “You can see a lot of Dieter Rams’ philosophy in our space. Most of the furniture is mid-century, and reminds us that we can create designs that will last and stay relevant.” - Ethan Song


“This bike is from a collaboration we did with local Montreal company Vélo iBike. It sits on the wall in the Atelier, and represents the modern man: simple, sophisticated, and always on the move.” - Hicham Ratnani

Tags: ethan song, frank & oak, hicham ratnani, mens lifestyle, montreal, profiles, talking to entrepreneurs

David Curleigh
David Curleigh is a freelance advertising, fashion and portrait photographer based out of Montreal – well-regarded for his lighting, patience and ability to make any subject comfortable. Please click here to see more of his work.