I have a good friend who’s the frontman for probably the biggest rock band in the world. They once had a massive live show situated on a hill. He called out to the concert goers at the foot of the stage, to come in closer. Unfortunately, the crowd at the top of the hill misunderstood – maybe they didn’t hear right or frankly,were just not that smart or sophisticated – and stormed the venue, literally ripping it to pieces. The band ended up paying for the damages and learned a big lesson that day:
You have to consider that not every fan will “get it.” All artists like to believe that their following shares thesame perspective as their own, but the hard truth is thatmany (if not most) won’t.
Like a concert, The Hundreds’ audience is vast and diverse. There are the superfans on the frontlines: they’ve hung onto every word, every t-shirt, for the past decade. They get me. There are the casual adopters: maybe they’ve read my blog before, sometimes they re-up on gear when they need a fresh, back-to-school outfit. There are also those of you who just discovered The Hundreds from a big brother, or maybe your only contact with The Hundreds is because you spilled in off the Popular Page onto my Instagram.
Every day The Hundreds grows just a little bit bigger. The hard part is balancing my performance, playing to both the core and the fringe. Trying to explain myself to people who’ve followed me for 10 years or 10 minutes. Not every fan will get it, so all I can do is be honest and true, like I’ve always done. In my last Comments thread, a girl remarked that 50% of the time I’m cool and the other half, I’m an asshole. Actually, 100% of the time, I’m human. I have an opinion. I fight back. That’s why I’ve gotten so far, and it’s also why I haven’t gone further. But if standing solid means I lose thousands of dollars, Instagram followers, and industry handjobs, then no love lost. I have a brand’s integrity to uphold, I have a staff I love and protect like my family; I thank you for your business, but I’m not a slave to your dollar. The customer isn’t always right. If you’re looking for a clothing company that will massage your ego and encourage your bad behavior just to squeeze another penny from your wallet, please check out one of the many spineless jellyfish brands out there without a soul.
I do The Hundreds because I can’t not. The profits are a sweet bonus. Unfollow me, boycott my brand, tell me to fuck off after I do you a favor, but I’ll still be here, playing to those who get it and whoever else will listen. Even if I’m playing to an empty arena.