• San Francisco I Love You

    Every year I get to travel to San Francisco and L.A. for the Renegade Craft event.  It's a little vacation for me and I get to spread the word about our awesome handmade products.  We started in San Fran.  Next weekend is L.A.

    I stayed with my friends Rob and Kat.  Rob was my sales assistant this year.  We saw BATMAN together.  I got a little emotional at the end.

    ... and their dog Millie.  Millie is a little-big-dog.  Lots of personality in a little package and wasn't fru-fru.  Millie did get into the chicken coup behind their house and ate a bunch of chicken feed.  Please note chicken feed includes gravel that aids in digestion.  This did not aid in Millie's digestion and so she threw up all over the house... and my super awesome jacket!  No picture needed for that one.

    Assembling the riveters for the custom belts we will make during the show.

    Mostly setup.  Not as fancy as our East Coast setup, but pretty good considering we shipped most things... and dove dumpsters for the rest.  No joke.

    Awesome Safeway sandwich!  One of these fed the two of us.

    After the San Fran show fellow crafter friend and I, Kelso, went to Six Flags magic Mountain in L.A.

    This was disturbing. The park parade people were not that enthused to be doing their jaunt through the amusement park.  Six flags should stick to roller coasters and not ruining my memories of Bugs Bunny.  How is it that Disney manages to get such upbeat people walking in their park parades and Six Flags cannot?  The answer is most likely that Disney bumps them all up with cocaine before each show.  I know I am going to regret that statement in the future when Disney calls to collab on some projects.

    Dear Disney, does it help that I can sing most of the songs to the Little Mermaid?

    Kelso of Kelso Doesn't Dance.

    Onward I say.  To the next adventure!

  • Adventures in Being a Dodo

    I am in Cali for a full week of shows, and my birthday (I'm going bungee jumping here).  I'll be 33... so, you know, old.  I shipped all our t-shirts and belts out to Cali for the Renegade Craft shows. The first first show is in San Francisco.  The second show is in L.A.  I shipped all the packages to L.A.

    Ok, let's review this again, in case you didn't get it.  My FIRST show is in San Fran. I shipped all my packages to L.A. Holy CRAP!  I was sitting in my rental car punching in the address for the FedEx when the GPS unit told me, 'Hey stupid, there is no Wilshire Blvd in San Francisco."  I was so focused on the FedEx location where I would drop off my boxes after the last show in L.A. that I just had that address drilled into my brain.  Have you ever done that, got something so locked in your brain that nothing else registers?  Maybe the closest example is having a crush... a crush that is no good for you.

    Did I know someone in L.A. that could bring them up?  Could I piggyback them on a prison transport or horseless carriage?  Nothing was panning out.  So the day I get into San Fran I head straight to  L.A. to pick up my boxes and crash with my buddy, Matt, for 5 hours.

    What follows brings us to the present...

    Drive 7 hours to L.A. listening to Jeff's new mix tape.  I know none of the words but that doesn't stop me looking like a fool trying to sing along.

    Pickup 7 boxes of merch.

    Drive back to San Fran.  This phrase looked amazing.  I wished it was the musings of a mentally challenged graffiti artist, but it turned out to be a down home song by Tom T. Hall. Eh, not my pace, but I now have a hankering for watermelon wine.

    Stopped at In-and-Out Burger for a Double Double animal style with a chocolate shake.

    Stopped off at Ikea on the way back to buy this.  I'll drill a few riveters into it so I can make belts at the show.

    I was going to treat myself to Batman at the famous Renaissance Grand Lake Theatre, but I was 20 min too late.  The ticket guy and the usher were awesome.  "You sure you want a ticket?  It's 20 minutes past the start."

    "Bound to be a lot of previews?" I asked.

    "Noooo, only about 7 minutes and you DO NOT want to miss the beginning"

    "Yeah, you don't want to miss the beginning," reaffirmed the usher.

    Batman, will have to wait 'till later in the week.  Now I prep, then sleep, then sell t-shirts and belts.  Thennnnnn... Richard Branson will notice my talents as a CEO and ask me to run his space program.

    End scene!

  • Workshop Buddy!

    Humphrey has been staying with me for the last week while my friends Patrick and Lauren are in Paris.

    Behold his cuteness....

    Humphrey getting ready for work.

    Humphrey in the Grand Caravan on the way to the workshop.

    Humphrey does not like sharing the workshop with Francis, our display dog.

  • A Trip Down Memory Lane

    I was stalking myself through Facebook and came across some old photos of the early days, you know, back when I had an iPhone 3G.  I came across an old pic from 2008 of my setup during the holidays. Check out how sparse everything was.  No sense of cohesion.

    And now...

    We've come a long way since 2008 with the help of awesome folks like Jeff Ball and Keith Lane.

    In the four years since that pic was taken (8 years since the start of the company) we've moved the operation out of my parents two car garage, made Jeff a full time employee, expanded the reach of the operation (DC, NY, and numerous traveling shows around the country), and opened up a much larger full manufacturing facility in Washington, DC.  Tell me, when was the last time you heard of something being made in Washington, DC?  Now you know we make awesome products in our Nation's capitol.

  • Rechargeable Batteries

    It's easy to forget now and again that we all have rechargeable batteries.  Sure, we get older and loose a little capacity over time, but we can take on a lot of living as long as we remember to live.

    A week ago I got a text from my best friend's wife inviting me to come out to Seattle as a surprise.  It would be a big surprise because I don't travel for much other than business.

    Normally I hem and haw, thinking about all the dozens of things I would like to get done for my clothing company, and convince myself I don't have time.

    But this time was different.  Life was beginning to well up and I could feel the tears brewing behind my eyes, trying to claw their way out.  It was clear I needed the recharge.  Funny that all it took was to see good friends, sit down to a meal instead of eating on the go, and share the happenings of our lives.  The simple stuff is often the most profound.

    I wish I took more photos, but I was too busy enjoying the company.

    I got to see my best friends Jacob and Mindy and their new baby James.  He's a super happy kid and I was actually excited to hold him.  I still think puppies are better than babies, but James is converting me.

    My other best friends Brian and Ericka.  It was Ericka that flew me out to surprise my best buddy, Brian.  Seen here prepping the July 4th roast.

    We also saw the Sedro Woolley 4th of July parade.  Sedro Woolley was an old logging town on the outskirts of Seattle at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains.

    And being a logging town of course they have a log carving competition.

    I liked this one because it reminds me of our Howl T-shirt.

    And then there were Shiners.

    Now I'm back on my game, recharged for the next set of challenges to come.  Owning a business ain't easy, but I love it.  I just need to remember that it's the small things that make the big things run, like just checking in with your friends and the simple pleasures of asking about their days.

  • NEW Zombie Belt Preview

    The latest installment in the Zombie belt series is almost here... Zombies Under the Sea.  It is the epic tale of the Atlantian's last stand against the toxic waste infused Zombie horde.   The surface world has been overrun and this is earth's last bastion of civilization.  Will we prevail?  It has Zombie Mermaids in it!

  • Lil' Buddy Visitor in the Workshop

    We had a little buddy in the workshop yesterday.  His name is Humphrey and he is adorable.  As you can see he was a big help in the workshop, making sure the belts didn't go anywhere.

  • New Cheese, Not Old Cheese

    I am so excited about the new 'Three Mouse Cheese-Moon' T-shirt.  It's an homage to the classic 'Three Wolf Moon T-shirt' except our t-shirt deals with inner city wildlife... mice.

    Look at their cute little faces.  They can't help but howl at the wheel of cheese that mysteriously found it's way to their alleyway home.  They are at the footsteps of mouse-heaven.

  • New 'Classy' Lifestyle Photos

    I am so friggin' excited to have the new lifestyle shots up.  It was a long-time-coming personal project of mine.  My goal was to make the photos looks as cheesy as possible; subpar photoshoping, overexposed images, slightly awkward model poses.  If I was transported back to the 80's or 90's I could have made it big as a second story photo studio... you know, above the dry cleaners.  The models really got into it and hammed it up just right.

    A lot of the time was spent recreating the brandy snifter and laser background.  Save them to your desktop and make your own elegant images.  Just do me a favor and tag me in them so I can track the inevitable viral trend that will ensue.

  • Gettin' Classy

    Saturday Night Live was comic gold as a kid.  There wasn't a lot of television diversity in the early 90's, back when they had the Cable Ace awards because no one was taking cable programming seriously.  For a little kid the 11:30pm start time was at the edge of my ability to think rational thoughts.  I was hyper as all get-up but as it approached midnight, with still an hour to go, my eyes would start to burn of tired.  Oh, I laughed so hard!  SNL most definitely had a hand in my early mental development.  In the year 2000 I was still in college, having kept up my tradition of watching SNL as much as I could.  One Saturday night that year Alec Baldwin ended the show with a sketch called "Lasting Impressions" about a New Jersey-esque photo studio specializing in classing up your photos by super imposing them on brandy snifters.   Now I get to class things up a little around here.  I spent a few nights setting up this brandy snifter shot so I cold super impose my own elegance!  These are just a sneak peak.  Keep a lookout for the finals on the homepage very soon!

    This is Humphrey (dog) and my friend Patrick.  Humphrey is modeling one of our FredFred flame pattern leather dog collars.

    Some more "no-joke elegance" of Humphrey wearing his awesome FredFred flames leather dog collar.

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