As 2015 came to a close, Hypebeast published Bobby Hundreds’ op-ed on the faltering state of Streetwear as it essentially evolves into its own antithesis. But something strange is happening this month. The founder of Fairfax’s CLSC, Josh Vides (@clscjosh), is unveiling a project day-by-day that might just reintroduce Streetwear to its communal, exclusive roots. Using only Snapchat with the account MY.CBL, Vides is taking viewers along for the ride as he builds his new brand, C.B.L., over the next 30 days, pulling back the curtain for an intimate look at every decision he makes before the brand’s launch on February 1.
From developing a logo, to sourcing a screen printer, to filing a business license, to opening your doors, “How to Start a Brand in 30 Days” is Josh Vides’s step-by-step tell-all master class—and Snapchat followers only have a 24 hour window to view the lessons before they’re gone forever. “C.B.L., when we launch it, is only going to be available for one hour. And if you get it, you get it. If you don’t, you don’t. That’s it, it’s gone. So the kids who get it feel like a part of something again.” As an extension of the Snapchat, Josh is also publishing a same-day blog piece on mycbl.us that covers anything he may have missed on the app. Similarly, each post will also be up for only 24 hours.
Although the first snap on January 1 has come and gone, it’s not too late to catch up, since new uploads are strictly Monday through Friday. You can follow MY.CBL on Snapchat and @my.cbl on Instagram.
Yesterday, we briefly got to sit with the man behind this project, Josh Vides, to get to know his motives, methods, and goals a little bit more. Here’s a clip from our conversation below.
THE HUNDREDS: Can you tell us more about C.B.L., the brand you’re launching at the end of “How to Start a Brand in 30 Days”?
JOSH VIDES: It’s like a graduated streetwear, like me. I’m fucking 27 now, I have kids. I don’t really wear huge Plastisol graphic T-shirts anymore. [C.B.L.] is really simpler, and more exclusive. Like I was telling Red, when we started CLSC, it was because we liked how small Streetwear was and how hard it was to get shit. There was this demand and exclusivity and hunting. That’s why we started CLSC. Then life happened, I had a kid, I got engaged, I had to get a house, I had to get a Prius because I gotta drive to L.A. So now this business grows in the only way that we knew, which was wholesale. Because of what we learned here [at The Hundreds] and through other people.
Now, CLSC is a 250 door thing, it’s making money, thank God. Now, fortunately, I’m able to start this new project where I can do whatever the fuck I want and I can create that exclusivity again and that want. CLSC still produces exclusive goods for the shop and online for true supporters, but most of our collection is designed and produced for wholesale.
For example, C.B.L., when we launch, it is only going to be available for one hour. And if you get it, you get it. If you don’t, you don’t. That’s it, it’s gone. So the kids who get it feel like a part of something small and exclusive. It’s like a club for a handful of people and wholesalers aren’t allowed in. Super direct-to-consumer as opposed to opening up the doors because that’s the only way we know to grow.
It’s a pretty big risk because I’m probably going to sit on inventory, but I have the opportunity now to get a different consumer to mess with my idea… It’s being able to tap back in to, “Hey, there’s this one thing, and if you want to be a part of it, you can.” There’s not going to be a lot of people that are a part of this.
“[WHEN I STARTED CLSC, I THOUGHT] I DON’T KNOW HOW TO WIN OVER THE INTERNET, I’M NOT FUCKING DRAKE. I’M THIS RANDOM ASS KID THAT NOBODY REALLY KNOWS IN THE INDUSTRY. WHAT WAY CAN I GET MY NAME OUT THERE?”
What types of design cues inspire C.B.L.? Like, if C.B.L. were to have siblings, who would they be?
That’s a tough question. So it’s designed already, the collection, there are four pieces and they’re done. If I show anybody, I’m hoping that when they see it they’re like, “This doesn’t look like anything else.” I really dug deep into my mind and just, “What does Josh want to do?” I didn’t look at anybody else’s shit. Which is really hard to do because it’s all over the place, but this was really digging deep and, like I said, it’s a passion project. It’s not like CLSC where we design things like, “This is going to stand out in shops,” or, “This color does really well for us.” This is more just like, “I’m going to make 25 shirts and I’m going to make what I feel at the moment on that T-shirt, and if people get it, they get it, and if they don’t, they don’t.”
Do you feel like during the first couple years of you doing CLSC, you had the same sentiment, but then as you became more of a “businessman”—
I mean, for sure. Well, first and foremost, when we started, we didn’t know what the fuck we were doing. I know how to build a brand now. So when we started, it was like, “Hey, let’s be really hard to get like The Hundreds.They have this cool store but shit’s always selling out then I go on the website and shit’s gone because that much wasn’t being produced.” I wanted to retouch that again. If I were to scale CLSC back to that idea, I’d be living back at my parents’ with 2 kids and working for another brand again. No way.
CLSC started that way, but I was working and doing that at the same time. I’d come to work every day like, “This fucking sucks, I just want to go do CLSC full time. How am I going to do that?” I don’t know how to win over the Internet, I’m not fucking Drake. I’m this random ass kid that nobody really knows in the industry. What way can I get my name out there? Wholesale. So I started going to trade shows, started going to stores and getting into stores. I wrote about it on Friday, most of the brands that got big—Diamond, The Hundreds, Crooks, whatever—60-70% of that business is wholesale. That’s the only thing I knew how to do. So CLSC turned into, “Okay, well let’s get into as many cool doors as we can. Still be selective, but let’s be on every continent that we can be because that’s the only way we knew to make money.” Keeping inventory shallow and closing that window of opportunity only meant I’d probably always have to work for someone else to pay the bills.
So you basically became more conscious of catering to your audience as your brand grew.
For sure. At this point, it’s like Netflix, we have this amount of data. We know black T-shirts are our best selling, we know pocket hit and back hit are our best type style. And we know gray sweatpants do really well for us—those are just examples. But now we have this data and it’s like when we go into designing seasons, it’s like, “Let’s get us as much of that data as we have and put it into this next collection.”
As opposed to C.B.L., where I don’t have any data. I don’t have anything, I have this information that I’ve gained with CLSC, I’m just going to take that over here and do what I really wanted to do at the beginning, and if I don’t make any money of off C.B.L., who cares? I got to do something that I wanted to do and if worse comes to worst, I still have a really dope brand, CLSC, which I still love and enjoy doing.
I’m trying some new shit out. Fortunately, I can do that. I’ve obviously been wanting to do it for years, but I haven’t really been in the position to have that. But now, for CLSC, I just finished designing Holiday ’16. I have a couple of months before I need to get into Spring and Summer, so I’m utilizing that time to work on this project.
How did the idea behind it happen?
Christmas Day I was drunk and I was like, “Oh, I just thought of this idea.” And I called Bobby [Hundreds] because if anyone is going to tell me this is a good idea, if anyone’s going to tell me this is terrible, not to do it, or do it, it’ll be him. I was like, “Look, I have this idea,” and I told him and he said, “It’s brilliant. Go for it.” I was like, “Okay, cool. That’s all I needed.” Then that turned into me hitting up Highsnobiety and Hypebeast to see what everybody thought about it. So far, everybody’s like, “That’s a rad idea.” It literally has yet to be done, so.
I don’t think anybody’s done anything like this before.
Technically, it’s just giving out a shitload of information for free. Like, it’s not like you have to pay to follow that Snapchat. There’s a mom probably following MY.CBL on Snapchat right now—I don’t know what the fuck she’s watching it for [laughs].
What do you currently have up on the Snapchat right now?
So I did it on Friday, I think I did it from 2-4PM. They’re gone. I personally saved them for myself, so anyone who signed up yesterday missed that. So it’s like another feeling of exclusivity of following this thing and getting on before you miss information. People this weekend were like, “Yo, I’m following this shit, where is everything?” It’s gone. “I told you to sign up on Friday morning.” What I did on Friday was at the end of it, I was like, “Hey, so I feel like I missed a little bit on brand identity, I’m going to go now on www.mycbl.us—onto the blog—and I’m going write everything that I think I forgot. And that will be gone in 24 hours as well.” So Friday, I went in at 9 o’clock and wrote like a whole essay. I wrote, “This is going to be deleted in 24 hours.” 24 hours later, I deleted it. So if I miss something, they also have it in writing, but only for 24 hours.