Who else has been loving the return of the rainy season?
It’s a lot easier to welcome the chill and increasing amounts of rainfall when you’re properly geared up for the weather!
And thanks to innovators and creatives, Coco Lien and Chris Worgan, there is a truly versatile, high-quality, and affordable rain jacket out there for you to take home.
But not just a rain jacket, it’s a rain poncho, the ‘Legacy Poncho,’ to be exact.
This is what brings us to their rainwear company, San Poncho—an island based business that launched in November of 2020 over the pandemic.
“The whole business started when we were looking for rainwear ourselves and we found that everything that was…truly waterproof and breathable was really expensive,” Worgan told Victoria Buzz.
“We felt that if we could find the fabric and fashion it into a super simple, no frills, no fuss garment—similar to a poncho—then we would stay just as dry for a lot cheaper.”
If you’re curious, Worgan shared that the name San Poncho, comes from a legend about a Spanish explorer. After a shipwreck, he tore up his sails to make individual ‘ponchos’ for his crew in order to hike out to safety.
Lien shared that the idea came to them in 2018 while they were at a music festival in Vancouver during a really wet and rainy weekend. Virgin Mobile was sponsoring the event and handing out plastic ponchos.
“We were just thinking, ‘God that is so much waste.’ These are only going to get used once,” Worgan said.
And although they didn’t start diving into the details until a couple of years later, it was there that the idea for a sustainable rain poncho was born.
Worgan said it was Lien that really pushed the idea of taking a class to start designing an actual blueprint, so they both signed up for Chris Falcon’s pattern crafting class at Vancouver Sewing School.
“I was going to take it no matter what,” Lien said, laughing.
“And then Chris said ‘Okay, I should too.’…and [Falcon] was so supportive.”
There, under Falcon’s instruction, they honed in on perfecting their design—including the addition of sleeves and pockets to really add to their want for utility. It became an ultra poncho!
The next step was going to be figuring out the quantity needed for their trial run as well as advertising. Luckily, Worgan’s main career before San Poncho was in the film industry, and he was able to lean on that community to help him with the initial launch.
200 ponchos were ordered and quickly gained traction as more and more people began purchasing and leaving positive reviews. Their trial run was a huge success and they even ended up selling out!
Lien highlighted the importance of ensuring their product would meet people’s expectations first before making the big choice to order bulk. So, it was a huge relief and proved to both of them that their idea was a good one and success was possible.
“Once the concept was proven, then we could muster up the courage to finance a bulk order…that was our big gamble, and it’s going strong.”
They realize that manufacturing products adds to the world’s environmental impact and want to take responsibility for that, so they’ve placed extra care into creating a durable, long-lasting, and breathable jacket.
“We want to make the best product possible…The reality of making things from synthetic materials is that it’s hard to do it in a fully sustainable way,” Worgan confessed.
“The best thing you can do is make a really long-lasting, quality product and then people will consume less over time.”
Lien explained that they do this by prioritizing sturdy and useful over stylish or trendy, avoiding the fast-fashion model and going for something that will forever carry a purpose in everyday life.
And because it’s a poncho, there’s a lot of excess fabric that allows a lot of room for multiple layers. You can fit your thick wool sweater and puffy jacket underneath.
“We size by height…so whether you have a 26 inch waist or a 48 inch waist, if you’re 5”5 to 5”8, you’re going to be a size small. It’s size inclusive,” Worgan said.
In addition, if for whatever reason you’re unhappy with their product, it’s no longer needed, or something breaks, to avoid the jackets going to the landfill, they have a really great repair and upcycle program.
“We want to be responsible for the product all the way until its end of life,” Lien said.
As stated on their website, if you no longer need or want your poncho, you can bring it back to them and receive 20% off of your next purchase and then the used jacket will go on to a new owner.
When we asked where the ponchos have been donated or upcycled so far, they both chuckled and were happy to say that no one has returned any yet, but they’ll be prepared if they do!
They shared a video from when they first launched and wanted to bring this iconic scene back to life. Check it out below:
As part of their growth, they’ve decided to add some more garments to the list! You can grab yourself a waterproof hat now, and they’re in the process of developing rain pants to go with your favourite San Poncho rain poncho!
There will also be a ‘Pro Poncho’ released at some point that will be quite feature heavy and robust—specifically designed for customers that have to be outside for work such as construction workers, trades workers, and more.
If this sounds like the perfect fit for you or you want to learn more, check out their website. They’re extremely transparent about where they get their materials from as well as their environmental responsibilities.
Although they don’t have a storefront, they have many retail partners that you can find here.