To my knowledge, you’re the founder of Veece…what’s the story behind the creation of the brand?
I’ve always wanted something of my own. Basically I was tired of working for people that I felt were incompetent. I was selling a good amount of clothing and accessories for a guy who had no idea what he was doing but he was still making money. So I figured if he can do it, a guy that has no creative mind and little business sense, then I can do it. So a long time friend of mine and I decided that we wanted to start something, but we had no money. At the time there was this big belt buckle trend going on so we jumped on it. With a 50/50 partner I found a manufacturer that would give us net 30 terms for the samples and production and I went out and booked about $50k with small and national chain stores. With the mark up we had on the accessories it worked out good. After that we were in business…
Where does the name of the line come from?
We had to come up with a name that was easy to trademark, and we thought it would be cool to have a name that meant nothing so we could put the meaning behind it. So we thought up Veece.
What’s the biggest inspiration behind the line’s designs?
The things we see and hear everyday, from music, to traveling, to the things we all love most in life good and bad, things like beautiful women, skateboarding, to the bad like politics. It all comes together and hits each individual in a different way. The designers we have are some of the best, and we are all on the same page when it comes to the direction of the line. I want people to be happy when they look at Veece, happy to know that there are people that don’t take life to seriously and still want to have fun. Our clothing can bring out that inner child and help make life fun again.
As a founder, you have to deal with the line that is usually drawn between both the business and artistic aspects of the company’s endeavors. Fashion often allows lines to transcend that line often without consequence…has there ever been a time where Veece wasn’t able to produce a certain design for business reasons?
Absolutely…..I have about 20 designs off the top of my head that we can’t do because of industry politics. People get offended very easy. When we launched the clothing line with our licensee; Fresh Rags Clothing, we wanted to make a big impact, we wanted to make graphics that slap you across the face. We figured one of the best (and coolest) ways to do that is sex. The bottom line is sex sells. So we made some designs with explicit Call Girl ads and another tee with 2 chicks holding each other, pretty much a whole line of tees with girls, and they started to blow out, selling out quick, people caught on fast so we went with it. Now you see images of girls in everyone’s line and I think it’s awesome. Even though it may have worked in our favor there was still some really good stores that wouldn’t carry anything with girls on it. The bottom line is you need to figure out who you want to be, and where you want your line, and go for it. We have actually been surprised that some stores don’t mind the images of girls and they do well with them. I think the industry was hurting for something like Veece, when I can walk into Nordstrom and see an aqua Veece tee with a girl on it next to Diesel jeans it makes you feel like you’re doing something right. No matter what you do you can’t make everyone happy, you just have to make what you believe in and not worry too much about offending someone. The images of girls are definitely not our backbone, some companies are known for just doing graphics with “skulls”, or “tattoo art”, or whatever…I think that’s lame, and we want to be as diverse as possible.
What are some of the more important factors behind the scenes that influence the creation of the finished product?
Basically whatever is selling…..It’s really hard to be creative and stay in the realm of what is really working in the stores and what the buyers want. You have to figure out what’s selling and come up with your own pieces. In the end it’s your product that gets pushed out the door so we try and make sure the quality, look and fit all come together. Our Creative Director Keith and I are pretty good at trend spotting and forecasting, a lot of our time is spent trying to figure out what’s coming next. Our skateboarders are real creative guys as well; we call them the “Veece Vandals” they usually come up with some really good ideas. Most of the trends in general come from what the big high end companies are doing, they can make something so outrageous and crazy but market it right and get a big celeb wearing it, and boom! It’s on…it’s kind of like a trickle down effect. By the time it makes it to our hands were mixing it up and making our own recipe for a tasty treat.
I heard that one of your designers got hit by a car, is he ok?
Yeah that’s Keith, he’s cool, just a little bumped up with bruises and scratches. The story is crazy….I actually saw it on the news the night it happened. He was eating at IHOP in LA after a Halloween party and walked out of the front door and BAM! A car runs right through the front door of the IHOP. He dove out of the way but still got hit a little bit. Crazy shit man…you never know how fast your life can be taken from you. But he is back at work designing fall 08′ he had to take a few days off to re coup. You can check out the photos on his blog: http://blog.moodz01.com/Does it ever get boring…the whole clothing line thing?
It never really gets boring for me, I’m involved with too many different aspects of the company for it to get boring. I deal with the major accounts, I manage the skate team, I help with designs, so I’m never doing the same thing. I love it, if I didn’t I would be doing something else.
What do you dislike about fashion?
There isn’t much I dislike about fashion. Fashion is cool because it can be anything you want. I always compare it to music, no one likes every type of music, but everyone likes some type of music, it’s the same with fashion. There are a lot thing’s I dislike about the industry….
How would you describe your style of dress?
Comfortable and clean….I’m a walking contradiction in a way I guess. When I go out it depends on my mood, whether it’s my dancing shoes or sneakers, fleece to leather jackets we’re always out to impress one way or another.
Are you pursuing other avenues besides fashion?
No not really, maybe someday I’ll sell and manage some properties or make some babies. I was thinking of becoming a professional golfer, I figure if I start now I could be a senior pro in about 20 years..hahaa. I have a couple inventions I always wanted to try and do something with, you never know. I’m really happy with what I’m doing for now. It’s definitely my calling.
What do you believe has been your biggest obstacle so far? How did you get past it?
Haters….People trying to hold me down and fuck up my game. It really sucks man, nobody wants to see you do good. When I see someone doing good and working hard I get psyched and give them props. It’s not everyone but there have been a few that have tried really hard to put me out of business. I just mind my own business and keep working as hard as I can. What has been the pinnacle of Veece’s existence as a brand so far?
Probably signing the licensing deal with Fresh Rag’s Clothing. They have been awesome…they are a huge part of the reason we are where we are. They run all the day to day operations and still give me creative control. The basically deal with all the stuff I never liked dealing with, production, receivables, shipping, etc. I get to focus on sales, design, and marketing. I love everyone I work with, I work out of the FRC office and we’re all like family here, its fun.
Any people you wanna’ shout out?
Sure, Will & Erica Sanchez, Joann and everyone at FRC, Keith Kabalican, Patrick Melcher, my Dad for his continued support when everyone else said it was impossible, my biz partner Dave, Kevin Jean, my family, 80spurple.com, Teresa at Metropark, Ryan at Nordstrom, both for giving us our first shot in those more than great stores, all the skateboarders that have helped us, Markovich, Nuge, Ragdoll, James, Gareth, Max Barerra, Rick Eusey, ol Dirty Hollywood high hood Marcus!!, Alf, DJ, Danny G, Edgar, photoman ronysphotobooth.com, Matt and Eric at Transworld, John at VICE, Drench Magazine, The US soldiers in IRAQ dealing with all that bullshit, those are the real heroes! To everyone that has helped us along the way!!
Can we get an idea of what the ’08 line will look like? Descriptions of pieces, etc..
A little more simple, cleaner stuff, good graphics, way more cut and sew, and accessories. The line is building and so is our sales team. Look out for an awesome line for the Ladies as well. You’ll have to wait for the descriptions!
What do you believe is your greatest goal for Veece? The one that will be the hardest to accomplish?
$100 million sounds nice.
Where is Veece available? Any websites or shops you can namedrop for us?
METROPARK, NORDSTROM, BUCKLE,
These are some of the better known national chains, check a store near you, if they don’t have it you better let them know they need it!
Any final statements to add?
Thanks for checking us out and your continued support to all!
Peace in the Middle East!!!!