9/11/11: Progress

HEYYY, YOU GUUUUYS!!

I hope all’s well with everyone:-) As for me, well…all is well as can be expected, considering my circumstances. The good thing is that I’m currently making payments on my final credit card—YIPPIE!! Progress, however small, still feels pretty damn good, haha! I can now see a light in the distance…

However, I plan on sitting this year out. I’m in no rush. I mean, I am but, then again, I’m not. Like the old saying goes, “Haste makes waste”. This journal—“Evolution”–is not about my sharing seasonal looks, stocklists and other company information as is common with most other brand run blogs. If you’ve really been paying attention, the oneculture story has been about a guy with the tendency to take on tasks by jumping in feet first, making lots of mistakes, and struggling toward stability. Every so often I’ll read some of my early journal entries and cringe, like, “What in the hell was I thinking??”—hahah! Seriously, it’s just downright embarrassing!! But like I always say: this is real life, folks! This was a private journal before it was ever a “blog”; my start-up story. I’m just hoping for a happy ending…

Having said that, rather than surrender to my impulses, at this point I’m much more concerned with tending to the critical steps so as to get things done correctly. So in addition to paying down my debts, I’ve also been fine tuning certain elements of the V4.

With regard to the industry/market as a whole, I feel like a kid recovering from a severe leg injury, sitting in a wheelchair at the edge of a park, staring through the chain-link fence at all the other kids playing ball & having fun. And while it sucks to have to sit this season out, I find comfort in the fact that my cast will be removed soon. I promise to keep you all posted at every critical step along the way. Stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

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


Long Overdue

What’s up, you guys!

I’ve been getting quite a few emails from people inquiring about Pulsar V4. I know that I’m long overdue for an explanation. And I’ve been meaning to update my blog. But as one month turned into another, and so on, I started feeling guilty about not sharing my thoughts, or rather, about not having any note-worthy thoughts to share! You see, it’s like this in a nutshell…

The V4 Pulsar iz complete! It has been for about a month now. However, I won’t be ready to go into full production on it until my bills are paid off. The end. And there’ya have it, folks: the complete story!

Paying my bills down however, has been rather slow-going to say the least. I make a sucker’s wage at my night job! Consequently, I’ve been seriously considering completing my degree. Additionally, unfortunate/costly events keep popping up, further hindering my progress. Most recently, my car broke down! So now I’m forced to spend money (that I don’t have!) in order fix it. Additionally, I’ve had some recent relationship issues. Women–ugh!! Aside from oneculture, which brings me *the greatest joy*, my life has been littered with one mentally draining distraction after another. So, needless to say, that I haven’t exactly been in the writing spirit. So please put yourselves in my jeans for a moment and try to find it in your hearts to forgive my near 3-month silence.

I like to write when I’m focused. And today I got my morning started with eggs, toast, coffee and 150 push-ups. Honestly? I feel like fighting! Seriously, haha:) But I’m in great spirits and completely energized—>let’s go!!

So, as stated above, Pulsar V4 is complete. However, I don’t plan on sharing any photos or details about my work until I go into production. Just know that Version 4 will be the final edition (for now). After three years, I feel that I’ve finally composed a near perfect ending to the Pulsar story. I’m moving onto developing other styles after the coming production. I have the course mapped out and I’ll begin working on those items when the time comes. My next move may shock you!

I’ll be heading back in for sampling shortly. These next V4 pairs will be sales-ready samples, my “demo tapes”, if you will. And once those are complete, moreover, once my financial plate has been cleaned, I’ll begin shopping my “demos” around to various boutiques. Having said that, for those who wish to grab a pair of Pulsars (current edition), just let me know. Those pairs can be made during my next round of sampling.

So until next time, I’ll keep you all informed. Stay tuned!!

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com (To order, contact me directly)


2/6/11: More Than Ready!!!

Howdy, All!

It’s a beautiful Sunday here in the Bay Area; sunny and mild thus far, although it’s supposed to warm up as the day progresses.  I’ve just had my coffee and now I feel like talking:-)  First things first…

I’ve decided to scale back on the web shop productions for the time being.  As stated previously, I’m in the process of updating my line and I have to allow time in order to get my own samples completed.  I’m doing another web shop production toward the end of the month but these orders will be the last group produced for the time being.  However, I’ll leave room for one additional pair to be made along with my own samples each time I go in to produce.  So I’ll continue to take orders on that basis; one at a time.  Just email me…

One thing’s for certain, however: the web shop productions will shut down in the coming months.  Again, the web shop idea was merely a way for me to prove my brand’s worth.  And, having just completed my taxes, I noticed that my business doubled in 2010!  For some reason though, I still have NO money–go figure!  Anyway, with regard to proving myself, my makeshift web shop seems to have been well worth the effort/headache.

The mini-productions were also a way for me to provide consumers with options on an on-going basis, i.e., various fabrics and thread color references. And as a result, I better understand the possibilities. But my sole goal for the year is to get my line into more shops.  I’m more than ready!!! I’ve spent the past two years testing the market, editing and getting prepared for this point. The 4th edition of Pulsar should be near perfect…

The pattern (1st draft) is done and ready for sampling.   I’m currently considering fabric and thread color options for my next large scale production.   I’ll first select the fabric and then choose whichever thread color reference best compliments the patina of the denim.  This, to me, is the fun part!  I used to be an Intern Project Engineer for Swinerton, Inc. some 11 years ago…

I worked on the Gap Embarcadero Project.  Yes, believe it or not, I helped to build that place (sort of)—ha ha!  There was NO building there when I came on board (1999).  The bulldozers were still excavating so the site was just one huge, muddy hole.

Anyway, I recall when it came time to review the material samples; fabric swatches, light fixtures, wood samples, etc, etc.  I still have one of the sample marble candle holders—it’s on my book shelf.  I particularly recall how excited I felt when the materials would arrive each day.  I too recall how powerless and discouraged I felt that I had NO input what so ever…NONE!  The architectural aspect of the project was what interested me the most.  Conversely, the engineering work was dull and didn’t provide any creative outlet.  And that’s precisely why I’d dropped out/flunked out of UC Berkeley’s school of engineering—UGH!  But that’s a dark, painful story.   Lesson learned: never, EVER chase a paycheck! Follow only your heart’s desire…

Anyway, selecting denims, pocketing, threads, etc. is no different from any other material samples review process.  But with oneculture, I get sole input!  So in that regard, the process is both exciting and satisfying!

With that said, here are a couple of the pairs from the last web shop production group.   I find Ed’s pair to be of great interest because, for whatever reason, the “1970” thread color reference is rarely ordered.  However, depending on the denim fabric, I think that it’s a great option for those who prefer a more toned down look.  Of course, along that same line, one can always order the “East Bay MUD” thread reference. But in addition to being toned down, the “1970” color pallet is also rather unique looking.   I think it works really well with the 13oz. Cone Mills denim. Great choice, Ed!!

By the way….doing the web shop has also made me aware of what sells the most; sizes, styles and thread color references.   I’ve sold sizes 26, 28, 30, 32 and 36. I’ve even sold a couple of 38’s.   But I find it odd that I’ve never sold a size, say…34, for instance.  I don’t even recall having sold sizes 29 or 31.  Go figure!   By the way, “1978” is by far my best selling thread color reference. Interesting…

Anyway, as always, I’ll keep you all posted with note-worthy items.   Stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com (To order, contact me directly)

WEB SHOP INVENTORY

1827 Union St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 346-4280

1409 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 656-7898

2210 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-5326


12/19/10: Beyond The Blues Jean Bar

Hey, you guys!  It’s a rainy Sunday here in the Bay Area; very ideal for sipping coffee and sharing thoughts.  So allow me to bring you all up to speed with what’s been going on…

Web Shop
During my 2nd web shop production I found myself taking late orders even after the orders were closed.  And this worked pretty well.  So what I’ve decided to do from this point on is to simply continue to take all orders as they come.

Pricing: Then and Now
Initially, what I tried to do was to offer high quality, high concept art pieces (in this case, jeans) at below $200.  However, due to economies of scale, that’s not quite possible anymore.  In short, production costs have increased by $20/pair.  I, thus, have no choice but to pass that increase along to consumers.  The price/pair will now be $195 for the Cone Mills selvage and around $210 for the Japanese selvage.  With regard to the Japanese fabric, the price will fluctuate with the cost of the denim.

Economies of Scale
Long time visitors to my blog may already know that my line is cut & sewn at a reputable sewing contracting facility in my area.  They produce lines for lots of well known, high end brands (it was once a Levi’s production facility).  The woman who sews my jeans has been sewing for well over 30 yearslonger than some of you have been alive–so my product is in *great* hands:-)

However, the facility is set up to accommodate large orders ONLYThat’s how they make money.  And as such, they don’t typically do small orders on a back-to-back recurring basis.  They’ve been accommodating my makeshift web shop set-up simply because we have a history.  They’ve seen my progress and they believe in my brand and want to see me succeed.  However, they’ve been handling my small orders at a loss for the price that they’ve been charging me.  I was recently made aware that I haven’t even been paying the standard price.  The cost is actually $35 more than what I’ve been paying!  However, the manager increased it by only $20 for now, as a favor.  We’ve agreed to simply continue and see how this goes…

Fairness
Having said that, fairness has been the foundation for my price range and, considering what’s out there, I still consider $195 – $210 to be very fair–not to mention the offer of free shipping.  Additionally, I could have simply raised the price and not addressed it.  The reason that I’m sharing is because I feel it’s important for consumers to understand why clothes cost what they do.  I’m a consumer too!

My Inventory
Please understand that the pieces in my inventory were made at the previous cost, so the price/pair is as it was previously; $175-$185.  So if you see anything in your size that you’re interested in, just drop me an email.  These pairs are ready to ship!  Click here to view my inventory.

oneculture Pulsar Review
I noticed that someone recently found my blog by searching for “oneculture Pulsar review”.  You don’t hear about my brand in the denim forums.  Although I work very hard at what I do, those guys don’t typically value design and concept development.  As I said in my Denim Debate interview, my customers are more “middle-of-the road” than “denim snob”.  The bulk of my feedback comes directly to me from consumers who have purchased my product.  So for those of you who seek reviews, here’s some recent feedback:

“As for how I discovered onecultures, there is a small but strong concentration of denim geeks in Richmond Va, which is where I reside. So it was mostly word of mouth. I have to give my sister credit as well who linked me to an article on the denim debate a few months back urging me to get a pair. A couple of friends of mine also just received pulsars of their own, which they were stoked on. Finally, through discussions with the owner of a local denim shop here in Richmond called Need Supply Co. So it was due to multiple sources. I hope that helps you with your pinpointing, and know you do have a growing following in Richmond. ”
Edward

“Hi Mark,

I just wanted to let you know that I received the jeans yesterday and
they fit PERFECTLY. Thanks so much!”
Christopher

“your Japanese denim description got me though. And I ordered. And I’m glad I did. The fit is really great. I wore them all day yesterday – just over 12 hours. Not too bad for a first wearing. And you were right about the fit with boots, works very well.

I have a slight obsession with raw denim – especially Japanese denim. My collection is out of hand but I love almost all of the jeans I’ve purchased over the last 3 – 4 years. I tend to like heavier denims to lighter and have several of the 20+ ounce denims in my collection. It started with Samurai and continued from there with Iron Heart, Pure Blue Japan, Somet, Jean Shop, 5EP, Momotaro and many others. Since my collection has gotten massive, I’ve been trying to scale back and look for even more limited exclusive items or collaborations and your jeans seem to fit in perfectly with my new criteria. Of course this means I do not have many really broken in and faded jeans, but I really like the look of new, raw denim so that works for me. But these fit really well, so they will definitely be worn a lot!”
Ron


Beyond the Blues Jean Bar
A couple of months ago I received a random, unsolicited email from an executive with the Project trade show.  In it, she said that they’re all fans of my line over there.  I received the message on a Friday and it was a great way to start the weekend!  I’ve never contacted Project before.  And I most certainly would never have guessed that they had heard of oneculture.  It just goes to show that you never know who’s watching you!  I must have read that email eleventy million times—LOL…

It was the same proud feeling I got when I received my very first order from Randy Brewer (formerly of Villains/Villains Vault).  It was the sort of feeling I got when I received a random email from a guy named Ryan Plett, offering me an invite to what he then referred to as a “Denim Challenge” (which later became The Denim Debate).  I share this to say that I’m now confident enough to consider life beyond The Blues Jean Bar.  My goal for 2011 is to increase the accessibility of my brand.  And this means getting more accounts…

But, and I’ve said it before, it’s very difficult to get orders when buyers are unaware of your brand.  Buyers/boutiques/denim shops are in this business to *make money*.  And as such, they don’t typically take chances on unproven brands.  But that’s exactly what I’ve been trying to do with my little makeshift web shop–prove oneculture’s worth!

The web shop is definitely not a money-making operation at all!  On the contrary, it’s a way for me to provide constant access to my product for those consumers who enjoy my work.  Again, it’s ultimately a way to establish and prove my brand’s worth to buyers and/or potential investors.  And with that, I’d say the fact that I’m continuously taking orders during a terrible recession with nothing more than a blog is proof that oneculture has great potential.

So, in addition to continuing running the web shop, my immediate plans are to begin working on the next version of Pulsar (version 4).  My focus lies solely on doing good work and providing a great finished product.  But as usual…despite my best efforts, only time will tell what obstacles lay ahead in 2011.  I’m excited!!

In any case, I’ll keep you all posted.  Stay tuned!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com (To order, contact me directly)

WEB SHOP INVENTORY

1827 Union St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 346-4280

1409 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 656-7898

2210 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-5326


12/12/10: Web Shop Inventory

Hey, you guys!  It’s been a rough week, but I’ve finally added 13 pieces to my inventory.  You can check out what I have on hand here:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/56963671@N07/sets/

As for the “rough week”…for now, I’ll just say that there will be some changes made with regard to my makeshift web shop.  I’ll cover the details later–>I’m beat!  In addition to a rough week, it’s also been a long day…

By the way, the guy in the fit pics for the following pair (below) stands 5’8″ tall and weighs 130lbs .  And his waistline measures roughly 30.5″.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/56963671@N07/sets/72157625586042192/

Stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com (for all inquiries, contact me directly)

Available @

1827 Union St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 346-4280

1409 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 656-7898

2210 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-5326


12/05/10: Editing

Hey, you guys!

I’m still in the process of editing photos, but I promise to post the pieces that I have on hand this week (approximately 12 pairs).  To be honest, even after all this time of keeping an online journal and posting photos, I hadn’t anticipated what a chore this would be…

First off, and I’ve said it before–>I’m no photographer!  And photographing denim can be downright difficult if you don’t know what you’re doing (and I don’t!).  I do understand however, that overcast skies are ideal for taking pictures.  So in an effort try and get the colors as close to true life as possible I’ve been taking advantage of the rainy weather we’ve been having here in the Bay Area .  The results?  Eehh…close enough, I suppose.

Second is the task of sifting through what seems to be a million photos in order to consider what details to share.  The objective is to have people get something from the image that they’re viewing.  So that’s sort of what I’ve been doing.  But again, I’ll have everything up sometime this week.  Hopefully you’ll find something that fits your frame.

In any case, I’ll keep you all posted…stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com (for all inquiries, contact me directly)

Available @

1827 Union St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 346-4280

1409 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 656-7898

2210 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-5326


11/28/10: Inventory Coming

Stay tuned!!

Join me on facebook

Cheers,
Mark
oneculture
For those who love jeans
mark@houseofoneculture.com (for all inquiries, contact me directly)

Available @

1827 Union St
San Francisco, CA
(415) 346-4280

1409 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 656-7898

2210 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 248-5326


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