On Schedule!

Howdy, all!

Just popped in to say, don’t fret; I’m still on schedule!  Production will begin towards the end of the month, and wrap up in approximately 6 weeks thereafter.

OVERTHINKING

Lately, I’ve been more active on Instagram.  I’ve been reluctant to share my thoughts lately, as I’m under tremendous pressure.  I have a whole other life going on inside *my head*, and I tend to retreat there whenever I’m freaked out!!  It’s far easier to share a photo and jot a quick note on IG.  But, as always, I’m maniacally focused on the end goal, so no worries:-)  I’ll keep you all posted…stay tuned!!

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
http://instagram.com/houseofoneculture
mark@houseofoneculture.com


The Year Everything DIED!

1/6/2013…
After all, real life is known to throw curves into a plan. But if all continues as is, then we are good to go!!”

5/10/14…
I ran into Roy Slaper a few months ago while I was driving in Downtown Oakland. I hadn’t spoken to (or seen) Roy since before he launched his line, so I pulled over. I was on my way to Two Jacks Denim. He was walking to the local YMCA for a swim. It was really cool catching up. I’ve been off the grid for quite some time. I’d given him a brief rundown of what’s been up with me, particularly over the course of 2013: the year everything died.

Miraculously, I’d received a few emails last year from people looking for denim. And in my response, I’d promised to update my blog “soon” with a full blown explanation of my absence. I’ve been putting it off, as I really don’t like discussing the events of 2013. But anyway, as promised, here’s the belated rundown for what happened…

72597_10151576753483125_521991280_n

January opens with a BANG! If you can remember, I’m feeling great, as I have a production planned for June/July. I begin shipping denim to my manufacturer. Jimmy C. (from the SuFu denim forums) and I had put our heads together and banged out great artwork for my leather patch. I’m so very ready to jump back into the market!! And then I get a phone call. It’s still January…

It’s my aunt “Cat”; ‘the bearer of bad news’. She tells me that my mom has a massive stroke shortly after her birthday. She’s in a coma. Making matters worse is the fact that I hadn’t spoken to my mom since 2001; hadn’t seen her since 2000. Long story short…we’re both stubborn! Anyway, that no longer matters. I’m off to my mom’s bedside…

I’m still in competitor mode at this point though. Time to get patches pressed! But then I find out that the (local) company I’d been dealing with had disbanded their patch pressing operation and sold all their equipment. Bummer! I eventually find another place, but it’s A LOT more costly–bummer to the 2nd power!!

Then my car dies! So, for the first time in my life, I have to buy a new (newer) car…which means car payments! My fighting spirit is beginning to wane at this point. But at least I’ll have air conditioning, lol! But I can sense eminent financial issues…

Sure enough, in April, my wife tells me that she’s moving out.  Our relationship had been broken/dead.  But it *SUCKS* knowing that I’m now going to be responsible for 100% of the household expenses.  I’m strongly questioning my July production now…just holding onto hope.  I’m in denial…

A week later, I get a notice from the Franchise Tax Board.  Yep, one of those–$$$–letters!  No more hope.  No more denial—production is officially DEAD!  I can’t afford it along with everything else (car payment, taxes, household expenses).  Plus, keep in mind that I’m still visiting mom at the hospital.  She’s *still* comatose, although showing signs of life.  She’s aware that my step dad and I are present.  It’s all so mentally draining though…

Empty Apartment

On May 31st I arrive home after work to an empty apartment—my wife is officially gone.  Unfortunately, all the furniture was hers!  The next day, I go and retrieve my materials from my manufacturer…defeated.

A couple of months later, on August 28th, my mom slips away.  We were never able to make peace.  And still, all I want to do is produce my line.  That’s it.  But I can’t.  The pain is practically unbearable.  Thankfully, I don’t own a gun, LOL…

Then I learn that my favorite aunt, the most instrumental person in my life, has cancer.  She’s the one responsible for keeping me involved in the arts as a kid, among other fun things.  And now she’s sick.  W…T…F!!!

20130803_111550

Table Top

I throw myself into decorating my empty apartment.  It provides a *much needed* creative outlet.  But then that soon gets expense, so, after one wall, I stop, lol…

And, later, my only remaining uncle dies.  So there you have it, folks!  This is the last time that I’m sharing this story.  2013 was the worst year of my life.  That is, until…

20140419_131946

In November, during a random trip to the bank, my project was funded completely!  So I’ve been quietly back at work, getting my line ready.  With regard to social media, I’ve been a ghost.  But I’ve been wearing my Pulsar Slim-Taper sample & making my rounds among the local denim shops.  It works wonders on my spirit to see how enthusiastic people are about my impending return.

And by the way, my (ex) wife and I are in a great space now. There was never any bad blood, but along with the pressure of everything going on in my life, our relationship had gotten ‘Flavor Flav’ ugly in the end, LOL! But we’re friends, and I sincerely wish her all the best. I’m looking forward to the future…

Production is slated for July–*for real* this time!  I just ordered the last of my fabrics.  I’m using all Japanese selvedge (four different kinds) this time out . My hardware is done *finally* (took forever!).  Sampling has begun, and once these few pairs are complete I’ll begin sharing (more) photos.  I created an Instagram account last Saturday.  Those of you who are interested can follow here:

http://instagram.com/houseofoneculture#

And once I’ve officially re-launched my line, as usual, I’ll do a blown out post in order to share the ideology behind this latest edition of Pulsar.  It’s been a long time coming.  Until then…

…Stay tuned!

 

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com


1/6/2013: Good To Go!!

Happy 2013, you guys!

I haven’t shared my thoughts in a hot minute, I know.  But now’s a great time to play catch-up.  For the most part, I’ve just been trying to get my life together.  Financially, I was a mess.  But, as posted on my Facebook page, I recently became employed.  No more temp agencies–HOORAAAYY!!!  I’m in a much better space now:-)

Prior to landing a job however, I was in really poor shape.  oneculture, despite my good intentions, had become nothing more than an unattainable day dream.  Anger, anxiety and despair best describe my mental state during this time.  Without going into detail, things had gotten really rotten.  I keep a separate diary that more intimately chronicles my struggles.  Eventually, if I’m able to build oneculture into a company that matters, my intentions are to share the good, the bad and the ugly; subject matter to which every starving artist can relate, I’m sure…

But, again, things are back on track now.  Unfortunately, during my first few weeks of work I had to place all things denim on hold in order to attend to more urgent needs, namely, new work boots, front tires and a laptop ($$$).  Furthermore, my poor car is literally falling apart.  But it’ll have to wait.  For the first time in a long time I can afford to focus on the thing that I love the most—denim.

I’ve already ordered half the fabric I’ll need for production.  I visited my manufacturer yesterday in order to check in (it’s been a while, lol!) as well as to cover a few final particulars.  They’re doing so well nowadays (busy, busy, busy) that they’re actually turning brands away.  The plan is to produce my line sometime during June or July.  Sounds good!  Right now I’m just paying rent, buying groceries, saving and buying supplies. That’s it. The June/July schedule gives me time to get everything done on my end…

…perhaps, lol!  After all, real life is known to throw curves into a plan.  But if all continues as is, then we are good to go!!  That’s it for now.  If you have any questions, just shoot me an email.  I’ll keep you all posted.  Stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com


8/27/12: Certain Elements…

Hey, you guys!  Just popped in to fill you all in on the latest…

Okay, when we last left off I was faced with the challenge of trying to reach retail buyers.  Since then however, I’ve had a change of heart.  I had a long talk with an associate of mine.  She’s a local artist and former senior designer for Levi’s.  She suggested that I skip retailers altogether and simply “go it” alone.  It’s a huge risk.  But after giving the idea considerable thought, I’ve decided to do just that!

So now I plan to re-launch oneculture by launching my own official e-commerce website.  (*light bulb*) It makes perfect sense!!  After all, I had a blast with my makeshift “webshop” back in 2010/2011.  And at this point, rather than sell exclusively to retailers, I feel that it’s more important that I continue connecting directly with my customer base.  No sales agent will care as much as I do.  And as such, it is—as it should be–my responsibility to reintroduce my product.  For me, this is not about “sales” so much as it is about gaining a greater understanding of my market.

The downside here is that it’s going to take longer to get things up & running, as I’m going to have to rely on my own dime in order to fund the project.  In addition to production expenses, I’m also going to need a website; a real one, not a blog.  And for those who don’t know, I’m living paycheck to paycheck!  So again, progress is going to be slow-going.  It is what it is…

On the upside, editing is cheap:-)  And since I’m rather obsessive about my product I continue to tweak certain elements, and plan on doing so all the way up until the last moment–show time!  For instance, I’d decided to tackle a back-burner project: the redesign of my leather patch.  I commissioned Jimmy C. from the superfuture denim forums to help give my idea a graphic life.  I’ve always admired the work he did on the Dry Bones collaboration a couple of years ago. Anyway…after some going back & forth, we’ve just put the finishing touches on the second version of my patch.  Sweet!!  Just understand that whether my blog is updated or not, I’m still active.  My goal is to deliver a most superior product—a serious upgrade from the last Pulsar, for sure.

By the way, with regard to my initial plans, I still plan to pitch my brand to certain retailers when the time comes.  But again, I think it best at this point to serve my base directly.  Anyway, that’s about it for now.  Should anything noteworthy happen between now & then, I’ll keep you all posted.  Stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com


6/30/12: There’s always something…

Okay, believe it or not, I am working on things…sorta.  I mean, everything’s done on my end.  Samples—check.  Line sheets—check.  I’ve even secured funding!  However, surprisingly, sales have proven to be a tough nut to crack!  And I’d thought that this would be the easy part.  Hmph!  Go figure…

I’ve been contacting denim shops via email to no avail.  Yeah, I know.  Go ahead and laugh; I deserve it.  I now realize that I was rather naive (to say the least) to think that I could conduct sales in this manner.  So now I have to figure out how to make buyers aware of my brand.  There’s always something

I’ve worked feverishly over the past few years, testing the market in order to perfect my product.  I’ve even garnered a modest cult following in the process, independent of either the denim forums or the bloggesphere no less!  I share that to say that I’d hate to be derailed at this point, especially on any silly technicalities.

Anyway, I’m going to be meeting with Howard Gee of AB Fits soon in order to pick his brain.  It’s highly likely that I’m gonna have to somehow get myself a qualified sales rep.  In any case, I’m looking forward to hearing what Howard has to share.  I have lots of questions…

By the way, just thought I’d share a few photos from a recent shoot.  I’ll reserve the details for a later time.  The samples shown are made from 14.5oz Japanese selvedge.  I also have some Cone Mills White Oak fabric on its way.  I plan on taking lots & lots of photos this time out!

I’d gotten this old Consumers Distributing catalog (1978-79’ season) some months back.

Man, I used to LOVE looking through these as a kid!  My favorite departments were the jewelry and the toy sections.  I remember badly wanting (but never receiving) one of those gold horn necklaces; I would’ve been the sexiest second-grader ever!  The catalogs seemed to contain endless amounts of stuff.  I’m talking everything from TV’s to transistor radios, patio furniture, clothes, appliances…you name it; they sold it!  As you can see, for the low price of $2.75 you could’ve had yourself a sporty denim bag back in 79’—woo we!  Haha…

Anyway, you can expect a quicker update next time.  I’ll keep you all posted…stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com


2/19/12: Almost Dead In The Water

Good ART makes people *feel*

Hey, you guys—happy Sunday!!

Okay, wow…where do I begin? Some interesting things have happened since my last post, most notably, oneculture was almost dead in the water. Yep, everything that I’ve worked so hard on over the years was, in an instant, almost no more…finished—kaput! Just typing that makes my hands shake. But let me back up a bit…

I have a helper now, thank goodness–(big sigh of relief) WHEEW!! I can’t do this alone. I’m the visionary of this venture. The very soul of the brand stems directly from my imagination & intuition. From the moment it was conceived I had a crystal clear vision of what the company could become, if managed properly.

There may be a few so called “purist” types out there who don’t respect what I do. But without a soul a brand is nothing more than a collection of generic objects/products. Apple, for instance, would’ve been just another computer company without Steve Jobs. He didn’t write codes or do any of the quote/unquote “real work”. He provided the ideas that set Apple well apart from its competitors—he was the very soul of the company! Without a soul you’re just selling stuff to consumers. And that’s NOT the oneculture way. That’s NOT what I’m about. I didn’t get into this to be safe/average…

Having said that much however, I know that a company—in this case, a denim brand–cannot exist on heart alone. That’s just the beginning. About three and a half months ago I received the following email:

Hey, Mark!

I am the owner of one amazing pair of One Culture jeans! Bought them over a year ago, been wearing them on a very regular basis, and am loving every minute of it. You might not remember me, because I’m using a different email. I used to live in WI and you made me a pair of 1970s Pulsar.

Anyways, I quit my corporate America job and bought a one way ticket to San Francisco about 6 months ago. I love everything about this city and the people. The style here is amazing, and it’s great how style is accepted here as individual and unique rather than conforming.

One of my goals in moving here was to get involved with a company like yours. I am extremely passionate about men’s style, and I think what you do is incredible: truly allow people to express their creativeness and uniqueness, and doing so at an incredible quality and great service. I want to get involved! I do follow your blog and have noticed you haven’t been producing/communicating as much, and I want to see how I can be part of the team and we can jumpstart this again. I want to offer myself as your intern, and I’m happy to do anything that is needed: all I want is to learn from you and be part of what you’re doing.

Enter: Deckel! He’ll be handling the things that I’m not good at, namely, the social stuff like sales, etc. My blog will always be my own voice. But anything else is his lane. The great thing about Deckel is that he’s a genuine fan of my work and is just as passionate about the brand as I am. However, there’s an added bonus in that he’s not as emotionally connected. oneculture is my child, and I’m the father. Deckel then is more like an uncle and, hence, tends to be more level headed about matters that concern my kid! He also looks great in my product—bonus-bonus! Okay now, fast forward…

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, oneculture came *this close* (finger & thumb pressed together) to becoming extinct. My manufacturer has gotten rid of ALL the smaller brands (like mine!) in order to accommodate the more well-established lines that have recently taken root at the premises. Furthermore, they’ve raised their order minimums considerably. oneculture was the last little brand to be shown the door! But I won’t let anyone kill my kid—NO WAY!!! Not now; things are just getting good…

I’m completely confident that I can meet their new order minimums. Pulsar V4 is a great product! It’s a direct response to any negative critique that any of its predecessors has ever received. Again, with regard to Steve Jobs, it was said that “Steve loved to delight the customer”. I can totally relate. Regardless of large or small orders, money or no money, web popularity, blah, blah, blah… in the end, providing my customers with a great product is all that matters to me. Anyway…

So I scheduled a meeting with my manufacturer and, after Deckel and I presented the case for oneculture, they agreed to treat me as a brand new customer, i.e., give me a chance to show & prove. So here we go…

Now…I still have yet to do my production samples; that’s next on the agenda. Once those are complete Deckel and I are gonna hit the track running for our lives—haha! Seriously, it’s all or nothing now. We must sell, sell, sell the V4. So if you guys are interested in getting oneculture into a denim shop near you, please drop me a line and let me know what the hot shop is in your area. Thanks in advance…

With regard to sampling, I do have V4 samples on hand. I’ve been letting them go at a bit of a discount slowly and quietly, offering them only to private, repeat customers. Currently, there are 5 of us—myself included!!–walking around wearing them. The response has been quite positive, to say the least. This is the result I’ve been working so hard to achieve over the years. I won’t go into detail about the new edition until we’re in production. Right now it’s all about preparing for sales. And I’m aiming to hit store shelves during the fall season. For now, I’ll let the feedback tell the story:

Charlie, Pre Med Student, San Francisco-CA
PULSAR V4, Slim-Taper (sample)
Size 31
14.5oz Japanese Selvedge
001 or “1978” Thread Reference

Mark,
These jeans are ridiculous. Perfect! Do you still have the size 31 in straight leg? If so, I’ll buy them if they’re on sale. On my way to do some shoe shopping at Unionmade. I’ll put you on shout :)

Woody, Princeton-NJ
PULSAR V4, Slim-Taper (sample)
Size 31
14oz Japanese Selvedge
001T or “1978” Thread Reference w/tonal details

Mark! Yes! They’re AWESOME – these things fit SO well. Obsessed with the look.

Ron, Sacramento-CA
Pulsar V4 straight leg (sample)
Size 36
14oz Japanese Selvedge
001T or “1978” Thread Reference w/tonal details

I got them today and they are very nice. I knew they would be. I just put them on a few minutes ago. The fit is really good and somehow they do seem to hug the butt better – its quite interesting really, I cannot remember putting on a new, raw pair of jeans that fit my body this well. Usually they need a few minutes to a few hours (sometimes a few days) to loosen up a little and stretch out a bit before they start to fit this well. And the slight taper does look nicer. I really like these a lot! Thanks again Mark!

That’s about all I’ve got for now.  These next few months should be really interesting, to say the least!  In any case, as always, I’ll keep you all posted.  Stay tuned!!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com


12/25/11: Just About Ready

Happy Holidays, you guys!!

I just dropped in to let you know that all is well.  Progress has been slow & steady, but most importantly…satisfying.  2011 sucked!!  But after suffering numerous set-backs I’m almost current on my bills–HELL YEAH!  And the V4 is just about ready to show.  I’m currently waiting on rivets.  Once they arrive, I’ll bang out one more round of samples.  This last round will be sales-ready.  I know that I’ve said this before, but sometimes things don’t pan out as planned.  In any case, once sampling is complete I’ll be off and running!  I can’t wait to step back into the arena…

I’m still trying to determine which denim shops I want to pitch, and how.  I’m a bit leery of putting myself out there as I’ve noticed that, as with any industry, the playing field isn’t quite level.  I’m just hoping that good work will prevail in the end.  I’m completely confident in my work; that’s for sure!!  Anyhoo…

That’s about all I’ve got for now.  As always, I’ll be certain to keep you all posted.  Until next time….stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com


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