Anniversary - Seven Year

Happy seven year anniversary! Another crazy year of running this brand full-time. I had to search the previous blog to see what year we were on; I guess it's been that long, and I can't even remember anymore. My 2 guest bedrooms, 2 hallways, and garage have finally met their limits, as we have to stock some of our overflow inventory in the back of the shopping mall locations. This year, we put a down payment on our new dream home that should be finished in summer 2024; where we'll have the entire basement to work out of and plenty of room for everyone, being 3 stories. I am super excited about a proper workspace and having everything in the same general area with more than 600 sq/ft. This year felt like last year, balancing work and personal life with Violet becoming a toddler. However, that all changed on October 17th when we had our second daughter, Everly, 2 weeks after Gatlinburg. This year, we had similar growth month over month, product variety, more significant collaborations, and more shows stateside. Even with the state of the economy, we found ways to grow around that and overcome new obstacles. So much has happened this year, so I'll have to break it up month by month again.

December - Static club collaboration, Basic Clique collaboration, Slammedenuff [Daytona Beach, FL]
January - Errors collaboration, Luminous car battles, steering wheel release
February - Mini FW23 collection, Vegas, Valentines giveaway
March - Members-only shirts, Panorama, Slammedenuff [Destin, FL]
April - Blessed collaboration, mega giveaway, 420 sales, Riverside [Chattanooga, TN], Off Kilter [Miamisburg, OH]
May - Senseless collaboration, Mini SS23 collection, Driven [Calgary, AB], Scrapefest [Farmington, UT]
June - Mini June collection, Sumospeed [Virginia, VA], Driven [Edmonton, AB], Driven [Saskatoon, SK]
July - Down payment new house, San Diego store, Slammedenuff [Charleston, SC]
August - 3 weddings, Weekend of Fire [Fairfield, OH], The Kickback [McHenry, MD], Lowered on the Lawn [WV], Tunerspirit [Calgary, AB], Matsuri [Calgary, AB], Redline Sorority [Calgary, AB]
September - Foundry contract, Save the Scene [Wilmington, OH], Driven [Regina, SK]
October - New baby Everly, costume contest, Slammedenuff [Gatlinburg, TN], Klean Exhibition [Myrtle Beach, SC], Slammedenuff [Charlotte, NC]
November - 9 new wordmark logos, Luminous car battles, BFCM sale, Klean Expedition [Greenville, SC]

To start the business year in December, we worked on our Skate Shop collection with Static Club and No Air collection with Basic Clique. I've been talking business with both brands for years, so I'm unsure why we waited so long to develop a collaboration. We boothed Greenville, SC, and Daytona Beach, FL, for our final shows of 2022. We then worked on another collaboration with Errors from Toronto. I have been trying to do at least one collaboration piece every few months with brands we have become close with. In January, we did an Instagram car battle contest with Luminous. We dropped 100 steering wheels in suede and alcantara from 2019 with Ovrdue. The wheels sold out in a few days since we haven't had these in stock for 4 years. February began with a mini collection drop and a quick trip to Vegas for our cousin's bachelor/ bachelorette party. We ate well, lost a lot of money gambling, and finally got a break from all the work at home and cold weather. I took a quick ski trip with my family to Panorama, BC, in March. It's nice to get away from work, relax, and refresh since it's so easy to get burnt out these days. After making the $1000 members-only design for a meme, I finally put it onto a shirt, actual card, and sticker to make a mini collection. If you know, you know. If you don't, it's meme marketing and causes mass confusion outside of the brand; Gen Z marketing at its finest. We boothed Destin, FL, and Chattanooga, TN, for our first two shows of 2023 and did a pair of collaboration shorts with Blessed SC. In May, we had another mini collection drop, collaborated with Senseless, and boothed our first local show since the weather started to get nice out again. June and July are when the show season starts to kick off, so our USA staff were back up and running at full force. Virginia Beach, VA, Edmonton, AB, Saskatoon, SK, and Charleston, SC, were all back-to-back weekends.

In March, we discovered that Cameo was pregnant and expecting our second daughter sometime in October. We realized how tight we were on space working from home and having Violet take up her room, so we started looking at a new house. We put in our down payment, and after a few months, we customized and finalized our dream home to suit exactly what we wanted. 3 story, 4 bedroom, open concept, bonus room, with a rooftop loft and oversized covered deck. The builder gave us a rough finish date for July 2024, so moving our personal belongings, furniture, and the workspace across the city will be fun. When we bought our townhome in 2017, having a full bedroom was way more than enough room for all the merchandise coming from my old workspace in my parent's basement. Now, our house is overflowing with merchandise and kids' stuff everywhere. It's crazy to look back and reflect on the growth you've had over the last 6 years. Patrick from Ovrdue got us in contact with his friends in Escondido, CA. They run a shopping mall location near San Diego, so I got to put a couple of orders into their store and have a physical presence on the West Coast. August was probably our busiest month, with three weddings, a bachelor party weekend, and six shows. No sleep and no days off that month. I started preparing for Gatlinburg in mid-August to ensure everything would arrive on time and run smoothly. By the end of August, everything was ready for our biggest show of the year.

This year was a little different for Gatlinburg than last year. Cameo was expected to be due October 20th, so she had to stay home, being that close to the due date. We brought along some local friends this year after telling them how amazing the trip was last year, so it was fun to travel with a larger group. We produced 150 shirts and 150 show-exclusive hoodies for the event, and I shipped down 4 times what we had the previous year. Vaded Mob was kind enough to let us be a collaborator on the official pre-meet after missing out on it last year because it was entirely sold out. The vibes were immaculate at the pre-meet, being one of the most significant state side. The Slammedenuff show was insane, with 8 of us at the booth from 11 am - 7 pm Saturday and Sunday. We had a long lineup at the booth on both days, selling out of almost everything. Between the show and meet, we did a lot of touristy stuff, partying and networking with our internet friends since we only get a few days out of the year to see them in person. After flying back home 14 hours the Tuesday, it was right back to it, catching up on online orders, re-stocking the shopping mall locations, and getting ready for Violet's 2nd birthday party.

October 17th came around, and it was time to head to the hospital for Everly. After a quick 30 minutes of labor, our second daughter was here. She looks exactly like Violet did when she was born. Having your second kid is much easier and less stressful than your first since you know exactly what to expect for the next few months. After two days at the hospital, we settled back home and started to prep for the winter collection. The work-life balance and sleep schedule have been destroyed once again. Our USA staff finished off the year with Greenville, SC. The Black Friday sale went crazy, and I couldn't leave the house the entire weekend. 30% off site-wide for our biggest sale of the year, so you know people would take advantage.

Overall, 2023 was the best year of my life. I say this every year, but each year, you keep on growing and becoming a better version of who you once were. Bigger skill sets, more efficiency, and faster and better time management are a few things I've improved on this year. We watched Violet grow into a toddler, designed customized and started building our dream house. Had Everly, and every day seemed new and different, making it fun week by week. We had consistent online orders and purchase invoices for the 3 shopping mall locations. We met our new and old staff and closest supporters in Gatlinburg, again making sure to have the time of our lives together for a weekend. Various new and unique accessories were sold this year, including rugs, playing cards, candles, dog collars, and the members only design, to name a few of our favorites. Making new products that you would never think we would do is half the fun of being in this industry. 25,000 orders, 3 retail locations, 35 countries, 31 vendor booths, 23 tattoos, and countless friends worldwide. I have no idea what's in store for 2024, but I can't wait. I'm excited to be writing the year-end blog next year in our new house and a workspace that can fit everything correctly. It's crazy to think the brand went from a hobby to a full-time business in this house, fully supporting the four of us. Thank you for sticking along and supporting me these past 7 years. I started this as a kid with an idea, and now I'm an adult with two kids. Every one of you has made a difference in our lives; I would not be where I am without all of you and your continued support. From our family to yours, thank you. 2016- forever.

- Brandon Yuen