Thursday, May 28, 2009
We've been getting loads of bikes coming through the doors of the new Motor Works shop. Some good, some bad. I've forgotten what it was like to have to constantly turn out work everyday, and take in most projects and quick repair jobs. In a way it's no fun, but tit's certainly keeping me on my toes. I've got a great '48 Rapide going up on the lift that hasn't been run in over 10 years. The great thing about Vincents is that they are so god-damned bullet proof. About every other day I boot myself in the ass for selling my Comet. I've still got a nice line on a Comet motor that I want to stuff into my featherbed frame. I'm going to try and work out some horse trading to get that motor in my grubby mitts. The shop is still in the "set up" mode. I swear I'll finish it soon. If all goes well, today I'll buy all of the steel to finish making the shelving that sits over head high (well, my head) . That should clear up the floor and allow me to finish my interior decorating. Because as we all know, the most important part of setting up a bike shop is the interior decorating.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I'm back from Japan for a few days now, and back to the grind stone. The jet lag has faded and it's back to finishing some bikes at the Motor Works, and starting to make the next round of Glory gear. The Flat Head exhibition is always a real kick in the ass. I look at tall of the great stuff that these guys make, and it really makes me wonder what happened to the American clothing industry. It's kind of a shame that the best classic American style clothes are built by Japanese companies. It's even more of a shame that no one in the USA seems to give a shit that there are some companies that only produce their goods here. In fact, I can't really figure out what we produce in the USA anymore. Starbucks? Shit rap music? Who knows?I'm no economist, nor do I pretend to be overly aware of trade policies, but as a normal guy with a small business, it just seems that the American manufacturing industry (or lack of) is a source of the countries problems. We have lost the idea of self sufficiency. Do you really need to buy vegetable from Mexico when there's a farm down the street? Clothing is a great example. The USA was the power house of making clothing not too long ago. If Americans bought more clothing made in America, it seems to me that the once booming apparel manufacturing industry would put a lot of people back to work. This should carry over to all industries. These people have jobs / money to spend on goods. People without jobs have no money. People with no money do not spend money. Simple right?Our industries, however, have to get off of their asses and produce good stuff (I'm talking to you Detroit & Milwaukee). The fact is that at our small level in the denim world, we're able to produce our gear in Los Angeles and still make a decent profit. We can't buy fucking mink coats or helicopters, but we can buy groceries and support our families. Do you think that this bank bailout money will actually open growth capital for small business? Not a fucking chance. All of those billions are staying in the banking system to be traded back and forth between the fuckers that almost collapsed the world. It's disgusting. The GREED of large corporations have literally strangled us all....Sorry, had to get that off my chest.
Japan was great, and it looks like Glory will be reaching more and more shops in Japan. Hopefully next will be our own back yard...
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
The past few days have been spent talking a bit broken through a translator, but I think the point is getting across. The Flat Head has tons of customers all over Japan, and they all seem to really like the Glory gear. The leather jackets are a big hit. They really are killer. We're also seeing a really good response with the Coop shirts. They'll also be available in the US store. Last night I went to dinner with Mr. Kobayachi (Flat Head president), some famous Japanese comedians, some customers, and the entire staff of the Flat Head. It was great. Everyone got really drunk and I taught them filthy sex slang. I even made some new stuff up. "heel juicer" being my favorite new one. It could also make it's way onto a Glory shirt...It's also very funny to ear a Japanese guy say "hot carl". Today is more of the same. It also looks like I'll be back in August for the "Super Weekend" in Nagano. It's a massive hot rod show in one of the stadiums that they had the Olympics in a few years back.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I arrived in Tokyo yesterday afternoon. Upon arrival, the plane was stormed by guys in bio-hazard suits and thermal temperature guns. They were looking for the swine flu. Luckily, mine was up my ass in a balloon. After they released us from quarantine, it was straight onto the train and then to the sight of the Flat Head Exhibition. Unfortunately Aya, my voice in Japan and head of the Glory Japan empire, has taken ill and was in the hospital. I hope she gets better quick! It will definitely not be the same trip without her. The exhibition space is very cool, much better than last year. I also checked out all of the new Flat Head gear last night. Those guys sure do make great stuff. I can't really think of a better company to have Glory associated with over here. After we set the booth up, it was some cheap noodles and off to the hotel. Today is the first day of the exhibition, and I'm ready for the buckets of orders!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Very early Sunday morning, I will be in the air on my way to Tokyo. I'm heading over to the semi-yearly exhibition put on by the Japanese denim company The Flat Head . We started working with the Flat Head last year. Through a chance meeting with Kazoo from Lightning Magazine, I met Mr Kobayashi , the head honcho at the Flat Head. I've always been a big fan of the gear that these guys make. You know how you always hear the stories about Japanese denim companies buying up all of the old sewing machines and looms, well, I was in the room where they all sit. The attention to detail and the love of American denim in that company, should make Levis hang their heads in shame. It's sad that the love of an American icon like denim jeans is being kept alive by a few small American companies, and many not so small Japanese companies. Anyway, these guys make spectacular clothes. you get the picture....
Since last year, the Flat Head has been working as our exclusive Japanese distributor, and I couldn't be happier. They have a remarkable staff and they operate near Nagano which is a few hours North of Tokyo. It's also caused us to dramatically pay attention to the details of our denim as well as lighting a fire under my ass to make new stuff. The Exhibition that I will be attending is only for Flat Head customers ( they have enough to warrant their own little trade show...). So I will spend the next week or so talking through my translator Aya. She has the unfortunate job of not only babysitting me while I'm in Japan, but having to crack the whip when I'm dragging my ass making the Glory goods for the Japanese market. So hopefully, I return with shit loads of orders for Glory as well as buying some of the great Flat Head products to sell in our shop.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Get ready for X-Mas 2009! We've just finished the prototypes for our new range of Leather Jackets. The fist two models that we will be producing are the MANX and the RAPIDE. The Manx sports the red stripes on the front, as well as extra padding on the elbows and shoulders. The Rapide is the in town or touring version with two front pockets and all black construction (except for a few hidden details in red...) We use some exceptional steer hides that are heavy enough in weight, but still very wearable and soft. It was tough to find leather that had the right look and shine, but not be too heavy to ever wear in Southern California. The jackets are made right here in the USA, and I couldn't be happier with the results. The prototypes are lined in Chambray, but I may go with a plaid for the production. Not sure yet. The price is going to land at about $695 for the RAPIDE, and $750 for the MANX. They should be ready for October or Sept. of this year. The first run will be a limited Edition of 50 each that will be hand numbered! These came out perfect, and I'm really happy with them. We'll soon put a link on the GLORY site for pre-orders.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Our long awaited Glory Motor Works shop is finally ready for Los Angeles's sick and tired
(bikes). I've spent a little longer than I should of on the build out, but it's close enough to start working. Obviously, we'll work on all British machines and American V-twins of all eras, but we'll also take in the stray Italian, German or Jap.... Bring it on. The new shop is located at 2467 Fletcher Drive in Silverlake. It's definitely by appointment only, so don't drop by to check it out unless you have coffee and/or chocolate doughnuts. Not all chocolate, but the normal raised kind with chocolate on top. That is very important. We've started it all off with a couple of Triumphs, a 30's Sport Scout and a late 30's HD 45. Call for appointment (323) 270-5679.