Interview by Jenkin Au and Alan Ng
Words by Ryan Goldade and Alan Ng
Photography by Jenkin Au
Please introduce yourselves to our readers.
S: My name is Sheldon, and this is Lucho. We also have a third partner named Daryl. We’re a clothing and accessories brand on the come-up. We’re designers by trade, artists by trade. All our work is based from an originality stand point. Nothing is copied and pasted from the net. Everything is designed from the ground up.
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced so far?
L: We dropped a few designs and accessories but what we’ve been working recently is solidifying the image of the company. Also, focusing on the business aspect of the company. Anybody can print a shirt and anybody can make a bracelet but if you don’t know how to market and sell your product, you will die within a couple weeks.
It seems like a lot of clothing companies start with graphic tees, whereas you guys started right away with bracelets. Why did you choose to go that route?
S: We always want to be the ones who are pushing the envelope and setting trends. Everyone’s using the same regular pattern to start up their business. My business partner Daryl came up to me and showed me a few ideas. We designed the concept for the necklaces and the bracelets and we hit the streets with it right away. We wanted to start off with something different purposefully, you know?
L: At the same time, we’re reaching an era where it’s acceptable for men to accessorize. It’s kind of the perfect time to drop something like this. We’re still just a couple of kids with a dream so we need to make a name for ourselves and this is easier to market. The feedback we’re getting from the people buying it is HYPE.
Recently Mac Miller was seen wearing one of your bracelets. Do you plan on connect your brand to artists and celebrities?
S: In terms of working with artists, we want people that can establish our brand in the way we want our image to be presented. We always say real recognizes real. There are only a handful of artists that we would really support wearing our stuff. We’re not opposed to other artists wearing our stuff, we would just like certain artists to put it on before we start marketing it to everyone.
L: We would much rather have an artist recognize our work and rock it because they can actually relate to what we’re doing than put it on someone to put it on blast. We’re just trying to keep it original and keep the essence of the company behind it. We just want recognition for doing good work.
How did the brand name come to be?
S: It’s basically the essence. The essence of style. We have a general statement where we think simplicity is key in our design. We also think the essence of hip-hop culture has been lost recently. A lot of hip-hop heads know exactly what that statement means. So what we’re trying to do is bring back the essence and remix it. Now it’s Esency, you know?
What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced with the technological side of things?
L: My phone. I have an old Blackberry and I don’t even have a data plan. Our workspace and everything is all online based. It’s called Project Space. Meetings and everything get sent through e-mail so I need to upgrade my phone and get full data. I need my lap-top so go and access my e-mail.
L: Technology has definitely opened the doors for up-and-coming businesses to promote themselves. Twitter, Tumblr, websites, etc. all help to get your business out there.
S: Everything starting up now is about social networking. For us, it’s just a matter of harnessing that and using it to our advantage.
As you progress with the hand-made products, you’ll face the compromise between quality and cost. How do see yourselves balancing between the two?
S: We always thing about that. If I put my name behind something, I want to make sure that I’m giving the best quality for the price that I’m charging. I don’t want to sell someone something and have them come back to me and say “you’re product is garbage.” I want people to look at my product and say “it’s well designed. It looks nice and fits nice.” We want them to come back and keep buying from us.
Behind every successful brand, there’s that character that the brand owners encompass and create. What are you individual backgrounds and skill sets that you have to offer for the brand?
S: I’m multicultural. I look Asian but I’m actually Guyanese. I have six different races behind me. I’m black, white, native, East Indian, Chinese and Portuguese. I think that will always play a factor in my life. Not only in design, but everything I do. That will obviously play a factor in our diversity, image and message.
L: Same with me. I grew up in Peru and I’ve been living in Canada for just over eight years now. I grew up in the surfing culture. I grew up five minutes from the beach and used to surf every day. I was involved in skateboarding and a bunch of other extreme sports. I skateboarded for years and years until I hurt myself and I couldn’t skate anymore. I started listening to hip-hop. I caught it right away and fell in love with the music. I just have a blend of a bunch of different lifestyles and that something we bring to the table. What I like about it is the diversity in what we do. It’s not like we just selected a target market. We’re just trying to relate with people from different cultures and different lifestyles that recognize real work done by real people.
What’s do you have in line as far as goals or projects in the coming year?
S: We’re definitely trying to put together a winter line. We have a new website design coming. Videos. The whole business media thing will come out very soon. For clothing accessories, we’ll have a whole new roster for the fall/winter.
L: We’ve worked with a few local arists [musicians] but our short term goal is to just solidify the brand. Once we’re ready to blow it up, we’ll move it to Montreal, Vancouver, Cali, New York.
S: Everywhere! Nothing’s going to stop us but you have to build that base before you can just jump off it.
What is HYPE?
S: HYPE is what drives you.
L: HYPE is what motivates me. I’m HYPE’d about the work I do.