UXC BLOG

Let's talk about MEN.

In the fashion world we tend to think about women and their role in creating and setting trends. They are the majority who shop for clothing on a more regular basis so why wouldn't we focus on their side of fashion more?  However, we sometimes ignore the fact that dudes like to look good too. Today I’m reviewing men's style trends that we are seeing more frequently. This is my take on styles based off what I see every day at our shop, the blogs we read, and when we travel to fashion forward cities like Seattle, LA, and New York. It was nice going to LA last year and see every single dude dressed stylishly; I felt like I needed to step my game up real quick.

BASICS

For spring/summer this year I'm thinking guys are leaning towards a more minimalist look. Whether you’re going for the classic gentleman/preppy look or the edgy/grungy feel, we're going to start sticking to basic tones and colors.  Last summer we were all about the statement piece, whether the bright floral tank top or the crazy patterned button-up. We wanted to be noticed.  This summer it's like we grew up a little and aren't trying to make as big as a statement (even though we are). Click through the photo to link to our Pinterest for some of our inspiration! 

 

 

Denim on Denim on Denim

This is one trend that I'm super stoked on. Denim is back, in all shapes and forms. If you don't already own a vintage denim jacket, you probably will in the next few months. I also love really distressed vintage Levi's; for some reason there's something about really beat up, worn in denim that can actually create an amazing look.  Distressed denim is worn best on a Sunday for brunch- you throw on a white tee and slouchy cardigan, maybe a baseball cap, and you're good to go for that Bloody Mary you've been waiting for all week. Denim button-ups or pearl-snap shirts are really popular right now, too. They’re great in unpredictable weather because sometimes it's nice enough to where you don't need a jacket but not warm enough to just wear a t-shirt. A lot of guys wear denim shirts as work shirts, because they have the front pockets and can withstand some wear and tear, so there’s a win there for utility and frankly, the more distressing the better. Personally, I want to see denim coveralls happen: I think it's time. 

Men's Footwear

When women buy new shoes, it can be a big deal. A lot of times it’s with friends and it's a social event: having moral support is important- I get it. It's like you have your very own cheerleading squad applauding each pair you try on! Sounds horrible to me. I'm not like that: I typically know what I want. Try them on once. Make the purchase. Silently high-five myself and continue on my day. Like a gangster. Last summer we saw Tevas trying to make a come back, but I think Birkenstock got pissed and were like, "No.". I didn't own my first pair of Birkenstocks until this past year.  Not gonna lie, I didn't think I was going to be a "Birk" guy. I'm a "Birk" guy now. And apparently a lot of dudes are these days. I'm glad men are stepping out of the box a bit and rocking the Birks. To some men they can seem a little “fem” but as long as you’re confident you’ll pull them off like a champ. Think like Kanye:

"Yeah, at the Grammys I went ultra Travolta
Yeah that tuxedo might have been a little guido
But with my ego
I can stand there in a speedo
And be looked at like a fucking hero"

Get'em Yeezy. Moving on. Another shoe that will never go away is the good old classic Converse Chuck. What I love about Chucks is it doesn't matter what your style is, there is a pair of Chucks with your name on it.  Whether you’re punk-rock, J.Crew preppy, or the guy who looks like he's an athlete but really just buys trendy gym and street wear, it doesn't matter: Converse has a style for you. Of course there are Nike and their treasure trove of never ending styles. What I love seeing now is more dudes wearing their trendy Nikes with pretty much everything. Guys are walking around in their classic button-up shirt, nice cuffed denim, and then BOOM..Nike all day! There are also the classic boots, both casual and trendy. Clarks have always been killing it and their desert boot wears so well. My Clarks look like they’re some vintage boot that were made back in the early 1900s by some old grandpa. I'm seeing The Chelsea boot everywhere.  Maybe I'm late to the game but it's like every dude who wears skinny jeans, long tee, and a necklace can't walk out of their house without The Chelsea boot. It looks good. Not necessarily my style, but I also didn't think I was a "Birk" guy…

If I Lived In Tokyo

My sister-in-law inspired me today as she’s in Japan for a vacation and bought a neon pink wig and rocked it out in the city. It's not her everyday look, but hell- she's in Tokyo. She can do whatever she wants and dress however she wants. Of course we can all dress however we want but you have to admit, when you're in a different environment where you are a stranger to everyone, you can get away with a lot. To wrap up this post, here are a few looks that maybe if I travel to a different place, I'll try to pull off and see what happens.  

So gentlemen, whatever you decide to wear, wear it well.  

Cheers,

Nick

 

Edited by Anna Mischke

Badwill Market

Today I’m showcasing BadWill Market.  BadWill Market is an event held in Seattle, Washington at an amazing space called The Rhino Room.  One Sunday a month, the bar turns into a market place for local creators and small businesses to sell and showcase various products. You can find a range of things from jewelry to ceramics to vintage clothing to handmade skincare- the list goes on. This being the first market we've been a part of, we've learned so much and have realized how beneficial it has been.  Allow me to give you a little snap shot of what we've experienced:

Ok so the Bloody Mary's are incredible.  If we didn't sell anything, we at least would have some BOMB Bloody Mary's.  We had just met Garret from Shutter Bus Co. , and got our first round of bloody's.  Brooke was very pleased.

Ok so the Bloody Mary's are incredible.  If we didn't sell anything, we at least would have some BOMB Bloody Mary's.  We had just met Garret from Shutter Bus Co. , and got our first round of bloody's.  Brooke was very pleased.

The EXPERIENCE

BadWill does a great job at creating a welcoming and upbeat environment.  You’re in the heart of Capitol Hill, walking into a super sick bar, and there's a DJ laying down the beats while everyone is shopping and drinking mimosas and Bloody Marys: what else could you need? This also isn't a typical flea market; when I think of "flea market" I envision a bigger version of a garage sale: cheap items, extremely basic space and conditions, and opportunities for hagglers to unite. Instead, BadWill has carefully selected vendors that fit with the vibe they are trying to create. Whether it's the music the DJ is playing, the drinks the bartender is serving, or the unique shops that you’re perusing- they've intentionally been placed there to create an experience that allows you to kick back and have a flipping great time! Though it can be insanely busy, it never feels overwhelming. The more people the better! Now, let's talk about all the fine individuals we have met since working with BadWill.

Diamond of Satori joined the market the last time around! We were so stoked to have her next to our booth! And the lovely Anna Mischke came in as back up for us because Nick wasn't able to make the last market.  We love you Anna :) (the dude on the right was just diggin that flannel)

Diamond of Satori joined the market the last time around! We were so stoked to have her next to our booth! And the lovely Anna Mischke came in as back up for us because Nick wasn't able to make the last market.  We love you Anna :) (the dude on the right was just diggin that flannel)

The People: 

Our first visit to BadWill Market was October of 2015, I think- so not too long ago. Since then we've partnered with them three times.  Each time as a part of the Market, we’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredibly talented people.  Let me introduce you to some of them:

I think one of the first gals we met at BadWill was Savannah Columbia.  She is a ceramic artist, photographer, and graphic designer. Brooke and I are really into Southwest inspired pieces so when we saw her earth toned ceramics covered in cacti it was love at first sight.  She is one of the coolest Canadians we know (even though we don't know very many we know she’d still be one of the coolest) and she loves supporting local, small business. She even came down a few times to our actual shop in Tacoma and we ended up collaborating on a styled shoot with her! Turns out she's pretty badass and we are super stoked to have met her. Savannah has an Etsy that you can go and browse her radical creations. Go buy everything!

Next, we have Garret Jon Hystek.  This dude turned a 1976 vintage Volkswagen Bus into a photo booth.  Think about that for a second...yup: A PHOTO BOOTH.  Such a rad idea! His company is called Shutter Bus Co. and they are based out of Gig Harbor, Washington.  He runs the business with his mom and dad.  The concept is so cool when you hop in the bus and start snapping photos with your friends! They do weddings, special events, build custom photo booths, etc.  I was super encouraged to see a young dude, roughly my age, doing what he loves to do in an inventive way. I just personally haven't seen that before and in my head was like, "damn dude, your gonna kill it. Well done".  We enjoyed a Bloody Mary together while we were at BadWill and I'll never forget that. 

Brooke instantly gravitated towards the lovely booth these ladies had. The Moon Bloomers are two mountain girls using flowers to create unique floral arrangements. Their company was created with the intent of getting involved with other small businesses, venues, and parties in the Seattle area and creating a fun, fresh, and local community. From dried flower crowns to lush floral arrangements to fresh wreaths during the holidays, these girls have got floral on lock and we can't wait to see them at another BadWill Market!

 

The Customer:

Brooke's hustlin right here.  We would have to step out of our booth for most of the event because there were so many people going through the racks.  Super cool.

Brooke's hustlin right here.  We would have to step out of our booth for most of the event because there were so many people going through the racks.  Super cool.

This part of the blog is really interesting to me because it's crazy how different the Tacoma customer is to the Seattle customer.  Don't get me wrong we love Tacoma!  That's why we call Tacoma home; it's the best!  Still, anyone who knows the vintage industry knows that selling vintage in Tacoma is not easy, especially if your trying to make a living off of it.   After our first market, we were shocked at how well we did! Our prior experiences in pop-ups like this was mainly a lot of the time for networking and promotion: we never expected to come out with tons of sales.  At BadWill we were able to make some solid sales, network like crazy, and promote our shop: it felt insanely good!  The craziest thing is, everyone who came by was super encouraging and loved our shop. They loved our products and prices and they keep coming back each time we do the market.  We’ve even had a few customers make the drive to Tacoma after they shopped with us at BadWill! What is really great about BadWill is that the customer seems to be coming to support the vendor, not simply looking for a "deal"- which sometimes feels like the case in our Tacoma location. While we love being in Tacoma, selling to Seattle customers has been a breath of fresh air and an encouraging pat on the back.

If I remember correctly these 3 dudes each bought a vintage Levi's denim jacket and rolled out with smiles on their faces! And they were Aussies and super nice. They really liked Brookes "jumper", which means sweater in Australia. Rad dudes.  

If I remember correctly these 3 dudes each bought a vintage Levi's denim jacket and rolled out with smiles on their faces! And they were Aussies and super nice. They really liked Brookes "jumper", which means sweater in Australia. Rad dudes.  

The Captian: Osiris Navarro

We absolutely could not do a whole blog post on BadWill Market and not give a shout out to the creator of the event! Osiris Navarro started BadWill Market back in 2010 and since then, they've been featured in The Seattle Times, Seattle Metropolitan, Capitol Hill Blog, NW Source, Seattle PI, King 5, and Evening Magazine. She has created a network of creative, young, talented people and has been able to bring them together once a month for the last six years!  Being a business owner myself, I know how hard it is to throw events- especially once a month and it's definitely not easy to create a unique experience every time you throw the same event. However, Osiris found the sweet spot and has created something that is so special! She makes it worth the time for the vendors, creates a fun and unique experience for the customers, and I'm sure The Rhino Room just loves having her throw these events in their space!  Brooke and I are very thankful that Osiris reached out to us. We look forward to joining her and the rest of the vendors for years to come! 

That's A Wrap!

4/17 12pm-5pm!  BE THERE!

4/17 12pm-5pm!  BE THERE!

 

All this being said, come join us this Sunday at the next BadWill Market! We will be at The Rhino Room from 12pm-5pm!  Come meet all the great creators and vendors, enjoy the music, and sip on some Bloody Marys!  I know this blog is super insightful (wink, wink) and you already have a clear idea of the market but experiencing it for yourself is way better than reading this post.  

Come say hi, bring your friends… and a lot of money.

Cheers!

Nick & Brooke

 

 

Edited by: Anna Mischke

 

 

 

 

 

Rebranding: Why?

Photo Aug 06, 4 01 18 PM.jpg

UrbanXChange -----> UXC

The idea of re-branding has been floating in our "idea box" since day one.  When we took over the business in 2013, we were contemplating changing the name entirely.  Start from scratch with a new, more current name.  Mind you, we had just become business owners for the first time in our lives.  At the time, I was more qualified to take care of school aged children (not to sound creepy, I managed before/after school programs for the YMCA) and Brooke's professional experience was within the realm of styling the latest fashion trends (working for Amazon & Nordstrom's studios).  So, coming into this new business we thought it might be best to change EVERYTHING.  I remember sitting down with my buddies, Adam and Luke,  sippin' on some Rainiers and  brainstorming new names for the shop; Brooke and I wanted something super simple but catchy.  We were convinced this was the "right" thing to do.

I think this was the first time we used "UXC" in one of our ads or Instagram posts.  I downloaded some font off Font.com. Lame.

I think this was the first time we used "UXC" in one of our ads or Instagram posts.  I downloaded some font off Font.com. Lame.

Sometime in late 2013, a buddy of mine invited me to join him on the porch with a bunch of seasoned entrepreneurs/successful business dudes.  We drank whiskey all night and talked sports, whiskey, and business: my sort of night.  These guys were all well above my experience level when it came to managing a business, talking business, or owning a business.  I was just a baby in their eyes and I saw an opportunity to soak up some knowledge.  Long story short, Jason Gordon (whiskey lover/people person/very insightful dude with a killer resume) gave me his two cents on our potential change of name and location.  You have to really understand that Brooke and I were BUSINESS OWNERS.  We have a UBI NUMBER, EMPLOYEES, BIG TIME TAXES...all for the first time.  The real deal.  Not to say we weren't capable but it was like throwing 2 mice in a maze with the cheese at the end; might take us a while to find that cheese, probably get lost a few times, get into some fights, but YOU KNOW we'll find it.  Even now, we're still looking for it.  

Back to the porch. Jason asked these questions to the group of guys:

1. Have you ever heard of UrbanXChange? YES.

2. Do you know where UrbanXChange is? YES.

3.  Have you been to UrbanXChange? No.  

Maybe after a few glasses of whiskey I might have glamorized this moment but for whatever it was, it stuck with me.  At that point I realized that the shop had two things going for it:

1. "URBANXCHANGE" (the name)

2. the location.  

I took all this back to Brooke and we discussed the idea of whether to change the name or not: it just went back and forth. However, after our first holiday season down on Pac Ave in Tacoma, WA., we realized that we had a GREAT location and that we weren't going any where.  Now, do we change our name or don't we?  Those of you reading- if anyone is reading- if you know me you know that I'm a very careful/strategic type of person when it comes to decision making.  I'm a "To-Do List" type of person and Brooke is a ....well...she's great I love her, she's the best. I naturally start researching "changing names for your business", "benefits of re-branding" just everything that has to do with this type of transition.  Honestly, depending on who's writing the article or producing the percentages, it's kind of just a judgement call.  I mean, we definitely knew the store needed to be updated, it needed to adapt to adhere to the current trends (not just the clothing but the all around experience).  As I was researching other companies and their re-branding I saw something interesting.  You see, in my head, I had this dramatic re-branding idea.  If we were going to do this we had to go BIG.  We had to change everything, right?  And then I saw companies do simple additions not necessarily changing, but adapting.  I saw "URBAN OUTFITTERS"  go to "UO", or "Abercrombie & Fitch" go to "A&F" (and introduced the color black into their releases), or from the local bros, Imperial Motion, go to the famous Cursor "IM". It's this concept that these brands aren't changing entirely, but they are growing.  The "IM" for Imperial Motion represents GROWTH.  I worked for those dudes back when the cursor "IM" came out and I can tell you that the cursive logo "IM" changed that company for the better.  All of a sudden, people wanted the Cursor hat but didn't even know who or what the company was but it just looked sick!  With that came change from a skate/snow board brand to a lifestyle brand and the Cursor was vital.  We found ourselves in a position that we knew needed change and we needed to grow the business to continue. This is where "UXC" was born.  

Don't get me wrong, "UXC" isn't this genius idea or the next NIKE swoosh, we know that.  But it's pretty cool. I dig it.  The best part of it is, it's catchy.  It looks better on our tags,  business cards, Instagram, shopping bags, basically everything.  It looks like a legit brand.  It's just more appealing to the eye than "UrbanXChange" was.  Now that we have had "UXC" as a concept, we had to bring it to life and give it some character.  That's where Chris Ballasiotes came in.  This dude is a buddy of mine from high school who's turned out to be kinda awesome.  He's super talented and creative and has made a living at painting with watercolors and re-branding for some top-notch companies/individuals (Maxim, New York Magazine, Radical Kids ;) 

Cool thing was, Chris created a font called "The Estadio" that I could purchase and use however I wanted.  It came with shapes and numbers and just... everything.  I was able to play around with it and make my own sort of branding come to life.  After a few different logos or ideas, we found that the "UXC" can be used however we wanted as long as the "UXC" was there.  It's kind of like the "iPhone" idea (iPhone, iTouch, iPad, iWatch), with "UXC" we can do "UXC Home", "UXC Vintage", "UXC Locals".  It gives us an opportunity to do a variety of different things that we haven't had the freedom to do in the past.

So why re-brand?  One word: GROWTH.  Brooke and I are trying to grow this business for a few different reasons:

1.  We do this full-time.  It is our sole income for Brooke, Rio (our pup), and me.  Obviously we are trying to expand the business so that we can pay bills and eat.

2. So many people ask Brooke and me, "Why don't you move your shop up to Seattle? It's a better market!", and honestly sometimes I think "what if?".  But we LOVE Tacoma so much and we want to build this business to be an attraction for Tacoma.  We invest so much blood, sweat, tears, and well, money, to keep our business authentic and unique.  Not just for us, but for our customer! I can't tell you enough how rewarding it is when a customer comes in and walks out saying "Wow, you have a great shop!".  Being small business owners, those words are pure gold.  

At the end of the day, if Brooke and I can do what we love, work side by side in the city we adore, and meet new people every day, what else can we ask for?  We are going to keep working our asses off to provide our customers with the best experience we can possibly give them.  As we grow, all we ask is for you to come and say hi every now then :)

That is all for today.  Thanks guys. 

Cheers,

Nick

Edited by: Anna Mischke  

Day 1 of Forever.

New branding. New photo studio for our online vintage shop.  New problems. New adventures. New ideas.  All of these things are crazy exciting for Brooke and I and the crew at UXC.  This BLOG will be our way of giving you a better idea of what's going in our day to day lives as we try to build this business and try to be as creative as possible.  Sooooo here we go.