Last weekend we set up shop in Richmond at one of our favorite venues, Strange Matter, off Grace St. near the Village Cafe. Presented by Black Liquid, The New Juice Crew and the Onassis Music Group, FaceMelt Friday VI is 2011's "last hoorah" for the FaceMelt series, and we were lucky enough to present new Grape product to crowd. Shouts to Black Liq - yall might have noticed there's been a hiatus of his weekly blog posts... and we are fine with that. There's no one working harder than him right now, straight up.
While searching "streetwear" on Google and Twitter, we constantly come across something amazing: a brand named Gearbottle. We immediately started submitting stores into their database from all over Virginia, and got in touch with the founders to pick their brain for 100% Fresh.
Below is a press release from Gearbottle for the world's first streetwear locator on the Android market, and an interview we conducted with founders Magic Mike and Nick Peacock. Streetwear junkies unite!
"Gearbottle has officially released the world's first streetwear locator on the Android market. This phone application will assist streetwear and sneaker enthusiasts with locating shops where ever they are in the world by searching with city, state or zip code... The search database consists of a variety of stores: from the one-off hidden brick and mortar shops to the more recognized chain stores. Whether you are on vacation in a new city wondering where the exclusive shops are, looking for that shop you've heard of but could never find, or just want to see what's out there, just search, find your spot, and get your fresh. The Android application allows users to search with city, state, or zip code, and will also allow its users to push on any address for direcytions to that shop from wherever theyre standing. Simply search "Gearbottle" on the Android market and let this app make your streetwear shopping experience easier. iPhone users can expect the application within the next month as well."
Grape's interview with Gearbottle founders Nick Peacock and Magic Mike:
With so many brands being created daily, the streetwear scene seems to have really sprouted lately. New boutiques are popping up so often it's hard to keep up. Is this what inspired you to launch Gearbottle.com? Did you know from the beginning this is what you would be creating?
Magic Matt: Gearbottle actually started from a trip to a trade show in NY...
Nick Peacock: ...when we were leaving Dunk X Change in 2010. We're walking through SoHo, trying to find Flight Club...
Matt: So I Google'dFlight Club, which is a huge sneaker dealer with dope kicks. It gave us an address of a street we were actually walking on. We walked to the address listed and the store number and store were nowhere to be found. After that we hopped in the car and drove home. We were both pissed about the whole thing so we were going back and forth about, "what if there was a site where you could just find shops right there," and things along that line. At that moment we both agreed and said "let's do this". After that we started developing Gearbottle.com.
Nick: Later that week we met at Hooters to really make Gearbottle come alive. We began writing names for this concept down on a napkin. Matt came up with the name "Gearbottle" and it just flowed.
How important is it for start-up streetwear brands to attend or vend in trade shows?
Nick: I'd say very important - tons of exposure and you never know who you might meet.
Matt: For brands just beginning it's CRUCIAL to attend trade shows. They should make it a major point to attend them. Many of the larger shows cost a lot to attend but if you do your research you can find a lot of other smaller shows that would benefit your brand and whatever style it caters to. Shows are a great place to meet people and do business. Someone there is bound to like your brand and where you're coming from.
Did you know from the beginning that Gearbottle.com was what you would be creating?
Nick: We knew it was going to be a hard task, and I also knew there had to be millions of people out there just like us who've faced the same exact problem.
Matt: Yeah, we pretty much knew what Gearbottle was going to be from the jump. Over the past few months, though, it has evolved and we will continue making it better. We also have some things in the works that are seriously going ot change the way people shop and find streetwear with Gearbottle. It's going to be something wild.
We are really looking forward to what's on the horizon. What other steps do you think boutiques could take to further their internet presence? Not effectively marketing online will sometimes deter the consumer, right?
Nick: As long as boutiques have Twitter, Facebook, a website or blog, it's a good look for them. Without marketing, online consumers may not even know what they're in for, so it's a good idea to give consumers a feel for your shop through the internet.
Matt: Well, these days if you have a clothing storefront you definitely should have some sort of online website. Whether you sell your clothing products through it or not, it's a great thing to have so customers can get better insight for your shop, what you carry, your shop's aura, etc. I find it more helpful if a store has a site - even a blog that shows some of the products they have or what type of dudes run the shop.
How has the feedback from streetwear fans been thus far? Is the public ready to report to you on a regular basis?
Nick: The feedback has been great so far, and with more innovation I feel that it will only get better. We have a few shops that are going to help us out with our Android promo, and we're sending big mail packages to each store very soon.
Matt: We've been getting a really good response from everyone: stores and streetwear enthusiasts both, and everyone is pumped about the concept. We're still reaching out to more shops and getting the word out about Gearbottle and what it can do to help make finding these stores easier. We're still rolling.
[Type in the zip code for the area you want to search]
What are the primary roles each of you have in maintaining your brand?
Matt: If I had to label each of us, I would say I'm the more creative type when it comes to Gearbottle, and P is the marketing genius, haha. And when we put our brains together at the same time we come up with dope stuff collectively, too. I do more of the designing: logos, flyers, catch phrases, short vids, things of that nature. That was always my style as a young dude, and it still is, when it comes to Gearbottle. And P tears it up with the marketing and getting it out there. I'll let him elaborate more on that.
Nick: Exactly what he said. I may come up with something, and hours later I'll have a visual of my thoughts right before me, thanks to Matt. I'm usually up real late into the night emailing, adding/removing stores, researching, marketing, making connections. It's really smooth because we simply don't interfere with each other and we also understand each other's roles in Gearbottle.
[find store locations in the surrounding areas]
How long has Gearbottle.com been running and how did the relationship between you both begin?
Matt: Gearbottle was officially launched back in February of this year (2011). But before that we were working on the site and basically digging up every shop we could find all over the globe, and that itself took a while. Me and P actually met about a year before Gearbottle was launched.
Nick: Our friendship/partnership began back in 2010 at Applebee's.
Nick; We live in a small town, and I saw that he was doing something different from everyone else in this area. That really stood out to me, so I had to meet him.
Matt: He liked my brand and I liked what he was doing with his site and what music he represented. He hit me up about it so we met up after and basically chopped up game and how we could work with each other and help each other's sites.
Nick: After meeting at Applebee's, and discussing future collaborations, we went to a Statik Selektah and Bun B concert out in Boston that following weekend and have become cool ever since.
Matt: At that moment Gearbottle wasn't even in the equation or a thought of any sort. It took a trip to NY and a disappointment not being able to get some dope gear to create that.
What are some of the dopest boutiques you've encountered in your cross-country adventures?
Nick: I gotta say Bodega out in Boston, Mass. It's ill on the outside seeing the actual bodega look, and then once you open that door, it's a store. Mad clever. There is also a shop I heard of out in Germany by the name of AFEW that has a glow in the dark look. Gotta check that out eventually.
Matt: Oh man, there are so many shops I would love to check out, and will eventually. There are some pretty dope boutiques in New York City. The Bape store in SoHo is dope and extra clean. I like how it has the sneakers upstairs in square glass display cases. There is also a boutique in Miami called ATC (Air Traffic Control) which has its sneakers going around the store on a conveyor belt: I think that idea is brilliant. But there are so many other spots I need to check out: LA, Tokyo, London, and I'm sure there are hidden gems all over the place I'd love to see in person.
[Tap the shop for specific contact info, and also get directions to and from]
You currently have a promotion running with streetwear journalists The Akcolades. How did you link with them and what's the promotion all about?
Matt: One of the dudes who started The Akcolades (Chris) was a friend of P and myself. He started The Akcolades recently and the promo is to kind of get them a little more recognition and fans to their social networking sites as well as Gearbottle's.
Nick: The Akcolades is our fam! I've known Chris from The Akcolades since damned near elementary school, and met Mike of The Akcolades about a year ago. The promo is a T-shirt contest where participants can tweet "@GearBottle" and "@TheAkcolades" with the "#GetGear" hash tag to win a free Gearbottle T-Shirt along with a T-Shirt from The Akcolades.
In turn, we're going to send out a tee to a random person who likes The Akcolades on their Facebook fan page HERE. We think they're doing a cool thing with The Akcolades and we're always down to help people out who we feel are doing something dope.
Where can the public go to get more info and see the shirts involved in the promo contest?
The homie Austin Beck-Hill, the A&R rep who linked us withJoe Cool and put Grape on the back of San Francisco 49ers safety Reggie Smith, has blessed us with another amazing talent in the form of We Stole The Kids. This song is dope as a bitch!!! FYI: THIS IS NOT A HIP-HOP BLOG. Enjoy!