From 2006 - 2008 there were a lot of interesting things happening in the Streetwear industry and there continue to be exciting announcements. Collaborations and experiential retail situations allowed brands and artists to reach new audiences and customers.
There was a company headquartered in Virginia that stood out and had reached several loyal customers and celebrities like Trey Songz, Lil Wayne, and Jay-Z to name a few. The product started with screen printed T Shirts with odd placements. Later it expanded into more detailed cut and sew apparel and footwear. Two friends Todd Askins and Josh Malbon created the brand called Shmack.
It was culturally relevant and gained notoriety for pushing the limits with design. They filled a void that the market was not serving and increased market share as a result. Todd tells the story of the original run of shirts as well as how he transitioned from this industry to a world that was completely opposite, the tactical industry. He shares the common things that made him successful in a fashion career and also in e-commerce. We explore topics like photography, direct to consumer brands, and the future of consumer behavior.
When speaking with Todd, I got a good idea for what has driven him for so many years. It is very similar to what drives me. The thing that we have in common is that we both enjoy the climb, the process, and building up. He has been so successful by staying excited about his vision and executing. He shared his early days when he promoted through stickers, wheat pasting, and grass roots fashion parties.
By the end of the interview we went into the transition of Todd’s company and the realities of the retail business when dealing with massive order quantities in a business to business environment. He gives his praise to the backers and partners that helped him get it to the upper levels of the industry.
We talk about the new world that he plays in at Tactical Distributors. Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook are topics of discussion as they are enormous communities online where relationships must be developed and nurtured. Even though these platforms get most the love the email list is still held sacred.