Treya Klassen on how to create the best company culture possible

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DH Vancouver Staff Feb 16, 2017 10:32 am 1,390

Amazing things can happen when you combine your passion with an entrepreneurial spirit.

Just ask Treya Klassen, the vice-president of product and brand at RYU Apparel and a nominee for Canada’s most influential woman in business.

Klassen has been a leader in the apparel industry for almost 30 years. In the late 90s she founded A&k Apparel, a garment manufacturer and design lab for companies in Canada and Asia. She worked at the upper levels of companies like Performance Textiles and Polartec, and has almost 20 years of coaching experience.

Klassen will be sharing some of her experiences from her years in the clothing industry at Real Talk Summit on March 18.

To give you a taste of what she’ll be talking about, we’ve asked Klassen a few questions about her time in the industry, and her thoughts on how different companies can succeed.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from your 28 years in the apparel industry?

I have worked with, mentored, and coached many brands over the years – and there is a clear theme to why companies fail.

It’s always due to a lack in building a foundation. Creating a business is so exciting and we can get so caught up in the creative process that we don’t build it to last, let alone perform.  Building a business is like building a high-rise, foundational structure is everything.  Getting a clearly defined vision is the most important structural building block. It tells everyone why your business exists.

At RYU, we manage our brand, create products and build our culture all to cause what we exist for.  High performance teams operate with a clear defined mission. They always know exactly where they are going and how they are going to get there.

Why is having a strong company culture so important?

Business is people and that’s it really. If you want great people you must create a space and a culture that attracts them. We have a pretty defined culture at RYU. It’s not for everyone and it shows up as that for people when they look at our company.

If you create a clear culture, you will attract the kind of talent that wants that as well. If your DNA and your culture are well defined, you won’t have to manage much because it becomes the way it is. I always say no one ever manages people at the library to be quiet. The structure and culture of a library is so set that you just do what you know to do. It calls people to be that.

In your positions, how have you helped create that?

It’s everything I do every day. I have been leading teams and training people in high performance for over 25 years. When I was a young designer and product manager, I started to get interested in human performance and people development.  Business is people. So if you don’t understand people, you can’t understand business or grow people.

I trained myself, took on myself first. I had my own personal and professional coach since the day I started my own business. I became a leader and I have never stopped learning and growing. Because you can never take people where you have not gone yourself.

What advice do you have for people who want to use their company culture to make a positive impact on the greater community?

Close yourself in for three days, take some mentors and leaders with you, and create your company from the end. When you are no longer here, what legacy do you want this company to fulfill on? What do you want people to say about your enterprise? Then create everything you do to fulfill on that. You will love your job every day if you do this critical work.

Why did you decide to participate in the Real Talk Summit?

I love what Connor (Beaton) is up to and have a soft spot for the work he is doing in ManTalks. I have mentored many men starting companies and what he is up to will serve the world. I also have a personal commitment to cause the tipping point for mindful leadership and transformation in the world through business. So whatever I can do that serves business, what develops people, and cares for people – I am in.

What other insights can people expect from you at the Summit?

That everything you want is possible and frankly, very simple. The only difference between someone who has the business of their dreams and the one that doesn’t is a conversation. Word creates World.


Treya Klassen will be speaking at Real Talk Summit on March 18 about all these things along with other leadership topics.

You’ll also get to hear inspiring and down-to-earth talks from other entrepreneurs, leaders, and professionals as well – including Gary Vaynerchuk, Brian Scudamore, Al Jessa, Danielle LaPorte, and Giovanni Marsico.

Tickets to the Real Talk Summit are available online, and early bird tickets are $199 until February 28 (the regular price is $249.) Daily Hive readers can get a $50 discount when they use the promo code dailyhive.

For more information, follow Real Talk Summit on Twitter and Facebook.

Real Talk Summit

When: March 18, 10 am to 6 pm
Where: 1055 Canada Place, Vancouver Convention Centre West
Price: Early bird tickets $199 until February 28. Regular price $249. Get $50 off when you use the promo code “dailyhive” online

Daily Hive is a proud media sponsor of Real Talk Summit


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DH Vancouver Staff
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