Tonight, in response to this, Ben and I specially invited 50 people from all over the Southland (and beyond) to The Hundreds Santa Monica for an impromptu Q & A session. Not broadcast, no livestreaming, no online viewing, this session was intended to be exclusive and private – solely for these fans and supporters who took the effort to participate in the selection process and trek out to the venue.
What was the purpose of this discussion? Well, for them, it was to ask us questions about building a brand, our thoughts on Streetwear, how to gain exposure, giving back to the people, maintaining relevance in the Internet age, our favorite restaurants, biggest regrets, and other queries relating to our careers and history with The Hundreds.
But in secret – the reality – Ben and I organized this talk to ask questions of them. To gauge their perspective on not only what we do, but the world around them, their hopes and dreams and aspirations. We wanted to connect with our audience. That’s what it was really about. To build a relationship beyond the afterglow of a computer screen, but further and more meaningful – face to face, and experiential. One of our mantras is “People before Product.” The Hundreds is the world’s first social merchandising brand – it’s not merely about a fresh pair of denim or a crispy snap-back or some limited-edition sneakers. It’s about the people who build this brand, drive this brand, and wear this brand.
And so, for close to two hours we shared and discussed with this room of bright minds, hungry hearts. When we asked how many had their own brand or were attempting to do so, most raised their hand. How exciting is that!? To see young people in the throes of a dream, pursuing a passion project that is daunting and maybe insurmountable and seemingly impossible from an outsider’s view. Planting and nurturing and exploding a brand are no easy tasks. The chips are stacked against them. There are too many reasons why it won’t work. Yet, all they see is an answer, success, achievement.
Tonight, someone asked what encourages us to continue and push on. It’s this right here. Knowing that the next generations are pushing forward, figuring it out, fighting back, re-thinking tradition, upsetting setups, and making stuff. They keep us on their toes and they are our biggest inspiration. Thank you to everyone who came out tonight, we are grateful to have you with us.
(p.s. This is Daniel from Cocoa Beach, Florida. Actually, Daniel’s not even from Cocoa Beach – he’s from a neighboring town that’s so obscure, he tells people he’s from Cocoa Beach. Where he’s from, no one’s heard of The Hundreds, or Streetwear for that matter. He found out about us through the web and now he’s started his own brand called Wikosa. On Monday night, he got the email that he had been admitted to tonight’s session, so he booked his plane ticket and now he’s standing right here, asking us pertinent questions, resting his head at a Holiday Inn, and otherwise being a tourist in a strange city. Because when you want it bad enough, you do it, and you don’t weigh the options or second-guess or distract yourself with doubt. You do as Daniel, and you go. Please support Wikosa. Support Daniel.)
Keep working hard. If you want it bad enough, you will make it happen. Life is yours to decide. Choose to succeed.