Many people dream to live the island life where everything is easy and light. With shirts and apparel from Free In Saipan carrying designs inspired by the sites and scenes on Saipan, the dream becomes a reality of endless summers and life-long vacation.
Owner Ashley Reiko Pangelinan with her husband Fayce started Free In Saipan last year. The couple lived in Tokyo, Japan and in 2017 the call of calm and stress-free living made them come back to Saipan.
“We love Tokyo but everyday life here is much more relaxing and stress free. Saipan is beautiful, the weather is great, and we really feel ‘free’ to do anything and anytime we want. We don’t have to worry about everyday hassles of city life… Hence the name ‘Free in Saipan,’” she said.
“My husband could not find any ‘tees’ that he really liked, so he suggested that we design our own T-shirts. We came up with a first design and showed it to our local friends who gave us positive feedback and from there, we decided to continue this project on a more serious basis,” she added.
Free In Saipan started as a pet project, according to this Kagman High School alumna, and trying to communicate the idea of “island life” through their designs to locals and tourists is a huge driving factor for Pangelinan.
“We have a very simple principle that we follow when we are thinking of a new design or product, and that we would not sell anything that we would not wear. We believe that if we are happy about the quality and design, the feel on the skin, then our customers will be happy too,” she said.
“The feedback that we have received from our customers gives us comfort as we abide by that principle. We are not trying to compete with other local brands. We are just trying to bring something new and different to the customers,” she added.
Free In Saipan shirts and apparel vary in design and sizes and available for children and adults. The brand is easily recognizable—the name is clearly visible and it features a local bird, the Mariana kingfisher, to complete the tropical vibe. “These days we sell mostly directly to our local customers but our products are also available in Boarderline and All Star Sporting Goods in Garapan and at the souvenir shop of Aqua Resort Club. The managers of both shops have been very supportive since that start of our collaboration,” Pangelinan said.
“Due to COVID-19, all the businesses are suffering because the economy depends entirely on the tourist industry and tourists won’t be back before long and our business is no different. We made some investments before the crisis and we had to slow things down but we found some support from the local community… so we shifted our focus to local customers… Without the local community, our little pet project would not have evolved to what it is today… and we want to thank them for that,” Pangelinan added.
For more information, send them a message on Facebook “Freeinsaipan,” Instagram ‘@freeinsaipan,” or send them an email at email@example.com.