Originally launched as a brand for made-to-order exclusive pieces, Yaito has been on the New York scene for a hot minute. If you’re only recently familiar with the name, it’s likely because of the new bags they’ve been dropping, and selling out of, every single week. Founded and led by Carlton and Tulie Yaito, the two have stayed busy on the grind while finding different ways to enjoy the new normal. Just in time for their final summer drop, we caught up with them to learn how they’re finding inner peace, staying with the flow and accepting whatever comes their way, and their best quarantine shopping finds. Read Up.
Please introduce yourself. Describe what you do for a living and how you are adjusting to the new normal.
Carlton: My name is Carlton Yaito, I’m the founder & creative director of Yaito LLC. I’m a designer & I’ve been adjusting to our new way of living pretty well. We’ve always been an in-house brand, so we worked from home for years since we started the brand.
Tulie: My name is Tulie Yaito. I am co-founder of bespoke clothing brand Yaito LLC and an accessories designer. At the end of 2019, I was terminated from my previous job and decided to start working full time on the Yaito brand so adjusting to the new normal has been a seamless transition for me.
How do you typically start your day? What daily rituals keep you balanced?
Carlton: I normally start my day at 7am. Well, I always wake up at that time but I don’t really start my day. I get up and look out the window to see what type of day it is. If it’s sunny or raining, that normally tells me the mood I’ll be in. I check my emails immediately before anything else (it’s a bad habit). Depending on what emails I receive, I always go back to sleep for at least an hour & wake up at 8am (which my alarm is actually set too).
Tulie: My days are usually spontaneous because I am trying to keep sane during this time (lol), however, my daily ritual consists of creating and self care.
What accomplishment or new project are you most proud of?
Carlton: For us as a brand, we’re really proud of how our accessories have picked up. People have gravitated to our knot bags & they’ve been selling insanely well. It’s been beautiful to watch & we’ve been honored to witness how much the public loves them.
Tulie: Our newest project is the Keijō leather bags and that project is very sentimental to me. I am most proud of it because of how we were able to breathe life into the project during a time when things were so up in the air. I’m also really proud of our collaboration with Awake New York x Milk Studios and the Life Water campaign.
Are you planning to do any social distance friendly activities now that some states have opened back up?
Carlton: Since New York has opened up, I’ve been out a few times. Hanging around mostly close friends. Going out to eat, sitting outdoors. It’s been kind of lovely. Makes me feel like New York City when I was a kid. I spent most of my time outdoors on the streets. Although it’s a pandemic, that vibe has quietly come back to New York.
Tulie: Honestly, I am not too eager (for socially distance activities), but if there is a close friend or family member celebrating birthdays, etc then I will indulge.What advice would you give to someone who’s struggling during these times?
Carlton: I would say take your time to find what truly brings you joy. There’s no rush to accomplish anything. The only thing is finding & keeping your internal peace. It’s easier said than done, but if you can find your inner balance, you’ll make it through. Everything else will follow.
Tulie: To never lose faith and to be consistent in whatever they choose to do.
What have been your favorite quarantine fits?
Carlton: My favorite quarantine fits are my everyday looks. A tee shirt & sweats. I like to be comfortable. I spend a lot of time working so i like my clothes to be relaxed. Being that we’re home, I’m in relaxed/cozy wear all the time.
Tulie: I would say my Hender Scheme but we don’t wear shoes in the house (lol). I’m usually in an oversized vintage tee paired with my Eric Emanuel shorts.
What has been your most unexpected quarantine purchase?
Carlton: Oh, that’s easy. I found a pair of Ato Matsumoto trainers from 2008. I haven’t bought a pair since that year. I found a rare pair, brand new. I had to purchase them. It brought back so many memories for me.
Tulie: I bought three different color pairs of Julian Hakes heels that happen to match our Keijō leather bags. It felt like I lucked up, like it was meant for me.
What are you most looking forward to once this is over?
Carlton: I’m most looking forward to normal interaction. Being able to hug my loved ones. Be able to just feel comfortable & at ease. I think it’s something we all took for granted, but I now see the value in something so simple.
Tulie: I’m not looking forward to anything because when you expect something is when you get disappointed. I’m just flowing and staying open, I am very curious to see where life takes me.
How are you staying close to your loved ones/keeping in contact with people right now?
Carlton: Honestly just through text & calls. I try to stay away from family just in case. So I just call as much as I can. I miss them though. I can’t wait to see them when this is over.
Tulie: Whether it is a phone call, zoom calls, or social media, I try to stay connected but also not over bear anyone.
What have you learned about yourself during this time? Will you integrate that knowledge into your day-to-day moving forward?
Carlton: I’ve spent a lot of time seeking knowledge of self. Having an understanding of who I am as a man & what drives me, what molded me to be what & who I am. Finding internal peace like I mentioned before. It’s been my main focus, sometimes more than the brand. It’s something I’ve been working on before COVID. and it’s something I’ve come to master during. I have applied it to my everyday life & it truly has brought me so much joy. Just learning more about myself. It’s a blessing.
Tulie: Wow I have learned a lot about myself over the last few months. So much to improve on but one thing that resonates the most is that I must continue to be fearless. Yes I will integrate that into my day to day moving forward because that will always propel me to take risks and dive into the unknown no matter how frightening that may be. It is the first step taken towards progression.