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…

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. ”

“Hi Mark,

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

“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!”

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

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


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


About bartacker

I consider myself to be in the constant process of mastering the Art of Communication. View all posts by bartacker

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