What is your current strategy to keep busy and continue surviving given the current economic conditions? Has your philosophy on business changed?
Our current strategy is still very similar to what it has always been; I like to run my business lean. I cut out a majority of the fat years ago, meaning: print advertising, trade shows, and stocking excess inventory. For us, trade shows are a complete waste of money. The Internet is the new trade show, and it’s free of charge. Print catalogs have been replaced by PDF’s, the postal service and phone bills have been replaced by emails, magazines have been replaced by blogs and so on. Basically my business philosophy hasn’t changed, I have always been able to see through the facade of the “corporate presence” in this industry.
How do you approach risk-taking in this environment?
I don’t. If I have one iota of an item sitting on my shelves after ship date; I simply do not manufacture it. I produce what I can move. To be able to predict selling trends and so forth comes with 20 years of experience, however, I understand this is risky to newer companies who have not seen the re-birth, repetition and reoccurring themes of certain trends and items over the years.
What sort of lasting effect will the current situation have on your business/direction down the road?
That is hard to determine. My brand has always been very politically aware of what is going on in the world as a whole. The recent economic crash does not surprise me given the horrible foreign affairs the USA has consistently practiced over the years, that in which this economic meltdown is a direct result of. Unfortunately, for the entire world, the effect will last for a very long time; however, it will not change our direction, it will only make our brand more appropriate.
What sort of positives can you draw from this economic downturn if anything?
That is also hard to determine, and far too early to say. I see a lot of one sided media bullshit. Things will get worse before they get better. I guess a positive would be an actual revolution. A peoples government. When people get desperate, when they are starving with no jobs they will begin governing themselves. Their government has let them down and they will take control. That would be a positive.
Have you been more keen on certain types of advertisement or more willing to open up?
The complete opposite.
Do you feel that there’s a need to create a more commercial style to be successful rather than being innovative and pushing the envelope?
Not necessarily. However, I do feel the need to re-size the collection(s). Less pieces (items) with more potency has proven to be successful for us. As for pushing the envelope, we have always pushed the envelope; to release commercially “safe” items would be the death of my brand. My brand name itself is not commercially safe to begin with.
How has your manufacturing process changed? Are your products still created in the same areas as they were 12-18 months ago?
We have always and still continue to produce our products in California however the SSDD line is produced entirely in Japan.
With many people stressing that through hard-times emerges new creativity and opportunity, how true is this?
Very true. It’s the process of weeding out. I believe the truly strong and creative will be able to adapt and survive. It will make the brands that survive more socially and politically aware; very much like the 70’s during the DIY punk era. It will be a true test of the brands character.
For small start-up brands, do you have any suggestions given both saturation and economic factors breathing down their neck?
Don’t start a brand. Only a highly delusional person would start a brand in this financial climate; not to mention the over saturated nature of the industry. Very bad decision.
Although a relatively general question, what has had the biggest impact on you from a business and personal perspective?
I would say fighting so many battles my entire life, has in turn taught me how to chose my battles and make decisions and maneuvers to be victorious at the end of the day.
Any closing notes you’d like to finish off with?
Yes, I would like to address the economy discussion further, being that is the subject of this feature. I feel the people need to educate themselves on why the world is “running out of money”, to me it seems the U.S economy is held ransom by the military, its industries and the faux wars the government perpetrates around the world, thus creating an economy reliant on war and the manifestation of war and conflict. The countless arms contracts, munitions and technological deals benefit the wealthy capitalists who employ numerous people, who grow reliant on this industry as a whole. The U.S is continually creating enemies, manufacturing reasons for more arms deals. It is time to wake up and rise up. Have a look at were your tax dollars are going, you will be shocked and appalled. Thank you.
Stolen from Hypebeast