A few months back we decided to start a new mission here @clobbercalm HQ (the island in my kitchen)…the mission; to create ‘The Denim Map’. A map that, no matter where your travels takes you, will mean that you’re always able to find the local store stocking badass denim/boots/leather and anything else that’s cool!
Now it’s obvious we can’t do this alone and, also, that would be a little tedious and boring so instead we invite YOU guys to help us build the map! Your words! Your thoughts! Your local store! This project is about #teamdenimworldwide. To kick-start the project we of course went to a fave writer and teammate of ours, Greg Tamura of @denimhound + thedenimhound.com and Greg chose to make LA-based @generalquarters officially the first pin!
The templates for the reviews will vary from week-to-week but to kick-start the features we focused the first 5 questions directly at the GQ team and the second 5 at Greg, as a consumer. It’s not going to be a quick project to put together but it is going to be a fun one so if anybody wants in just let me know? The more the merrier AND better infact!
MEET THE STORE
1. How did the store come to life? What’s the history?
All I’ve ever done is retail, since I was 16, I’ve been on the sales floor selling shoes or clothes, customer-service related things etc. I was living on the East Coast for a couple of years working in a store and realised that’s what I wanted to do BUT I had to figure out how to do it for myself.
I ended up moving back to California and started thinking about ACTUALLY doing it but not really wanting to commit yet, but thinking if I was going to do it what would it look like? This space was here, it had somebody in it but I drove by everyday and thought this would be it if I was going to do a store. I drew it on paper all the time and designed it in my head all the time, thought about it all the time and then one day I just decided to go for it. The space FINALLY came open, I looked at it, I got scared right off…another 8 months went by and it was still open so I met with the landlord again and they said “yeah, you can take it” so that was really it. Started in December 2010 with $4000, that was all, and it’s been open ever since!
I’ve got Brian and Miguel that work here. Brian used to work at a shop on our block and was always shopping in here and always offered to work here if I needed help. About a year and a half in he’d left the job he was at and just came in and decided to start working. I went another year with just Brian and myself and then Miguel came in to pick up some Rogue Territory, we started talking and within about 10 minutes I knew I had to hire him. I just knew he’d be great so I asked him “hey, you looking for a new job?” and he asked if I was hiring so I just said “I’m hiring YOU if you’re looking”. A few weeks went by and then he decided to come on board.
When people say “it just happened”, with us it DID just happen! I had my eye on what I wanted, I knew what I was going to do, I knew what it could be but timing was everything! My closest friends, I’ve met since opening this store…whether Karl from RGT, my friend Arron and a handful of others. It really did bring the people into my life that SHOULD be here. All timing!
I lived just a mile away, worked even closer and when I would drive by I’d just glance at the building and that would be it. Beautiful building, the space is pretty ideal even though when I opened there was nothing in here. There was hardly anything so it was a very empty, vacant-looking space and it finally started filling up as I would sell up everything in the week. I’d be closed on Monday and would go back to my vendors and I’d order more. I’d get it all in, attempt to sell it all and then buy what I could afford. Now, because that’s how we learnt to do it and started out doing it, people know that we have new items in every week and still do. Most of our brands are West Coast brands.
2. What are your top 3 bestselling items in the store? And why do you think this is?
Number one product, hands down is the RGT 15oz SK. We all wear the SK, it’s our favourite fit.
Then General Quarters tees and button-downs, followed by the RGT Supply Jacket or anything Filson.
3. What’s the bestselling brand overall?
We’re so connected with RGT because Karl’s local. We met when he was still a tailor at American Rag. He used to hang out in here, a couple of hour at a time, every couple of weeks he’d come and chill and get to know each other. Realised we had a lot in common and with the way we liked to do things, our style ideas, our personal lives etc All this melded and we started getting more and more connected, as we grew they grew and the trajectory was just huge for both of us. We started to bring in 85 – 90% of what they make and we’ve become a spot where you get RGT in town…if you’re in this area you will generally seek us out to come get it. Mainly, BECAUSE of our long standing relationship with Karl and Leslie and RGT in general.
Greg: That’s really cool because of this part of town, with American Rag and Self Edge and Mister Freedom etc it’s definitely THE area but it’s also cool to know that RGT got their humble beginnings in this area. He was working across the street, hanging out in here!
We are able to offer the space that the brand and any other brands we have, deserve. They really can get featured. You can’t showcase a brand off two pieces but if you can buy deep within a line then you can do a lot of good work with those brands. We take a real sense of ownership with that because we all love it.
4. In your personal opinion what’s the best 3 pieces that you offer? Your favourites?
My personal favourite piece, denim related would BE the SK, but my personal favourite would be the Tellason Fatigue Pant. I wear these all the time, it’s a style I wanted somebody to make and they made the original fabric, and they made the fit the way it should be…respecting the heritage of the look of a military pant but making it updated. Hands down my personal favourite!
5. What the best thing about working at General Quarters?
The best thing about showing up every morning is that its here. That it happened. I still can’t believe that it happened. That I was able to build this thing and there’s dudes that are here, that believe in it…that the guys that are here, believe in it. They all saw what it could be and take ownership in it as well. The best thing is to be here everyday, to be able to be here and the second thing is the people that come in. I like people so much more than anything else. I’m interested in people, but to watch them get stoked on a new fit, to feel good about the thing, to come in and we have the thing they were looking for or that they read about or saw on social media and we have it and can get it to them. That feeling is the best feeling, that is why we do it. I’ve always loved when people get exactly what they want. Being here and being able to show people what they love. Hands down! It’s a hard feeling to explain. Being a buyer is great, being an owner is great, a lifelong goal or a passion…it’s not really any of that for me. I never wanted to do this, I was just in it, was really good at it and thought it was something I probably should do. The buying’s great, a cool by-product, but it’s not the whole thing and it has to be so much more than a passion. Way beyond that! A passion is a hobby for me…I’m passionate about motorcycles but it’s a hobby. This is way beyond that!
Greg: You’re a purveyor of satisfaction. That deep, solid sense of satisfaction that you only get with that perfect-fitting brand new pair of denim and you’re just like “yes!”
It’s flattering to pick something that you believe somebody would like and then when they come in, and love it, and they want to show it and talk about it and come back in and show it with the fades and breaking on it. Then they get another pair because they love them so much THAT beats all of it. The fact that you picked this thing that you believe in in the same way that, the people/brands who are making the denim/jeans believe that they can make it and somebody might like it. It’s the same idea!
MEET THE REVIEWER
NAME: Greg Tamura aka @denimhound
1. How does the store feel when you first walk in? What springs to mind?
A gentlemen’s shop, but not fancy pants. The first time I walked into General Quarters, I was instantly embraced in the rich aroma of burning Palo Santo wood. It was an unconscious thing at first, wasn’t overwhelming or offensive at all. I only really noticed the scent of General Quarters when I got home, my shirt smelled like the shop, and it was a good thing.
I think the first thing that came to mind was my childhood, camping in Northern California, to be more specific. The woody smell, the rugged/outdoorsy vibe, It reminds me of the place a cool young dad would shop. Wise enough to know quality, young enough to put it to the test!
2. Where does the shop’s product originate from?
Mostly if not all US made. RGT (LA made, Japanese fabrics), Tellason (US made with Cone Denim), Sweet Trade Miranda, Filson etc.
3. Describe the customer service?
Second to none. Blair, Miguel, and Brian are welcoming and friendly but not in a salesman kinda way, just straight up good folks that are usually down to strike up a good conversation, unless they are busy… you know… working.
4. What’s the product selection like?
Very selective. Although, in the past couple of years the number of brands has maybe doubled? Blair has a very specific criteria for procuring products for his shop. He pretty much shops for himself, if he is really into it and believes in the brand and what they represent, its probably on the shelf at General Quarters.
5. How are the prices?
Most of the brands they carry seem to have standardized pricing. Pretty much same price at GC as on the brands website.
~ Notes ~
I’m kind of spoiled, I have General Quarters, Self Edge, Mister Freedom, Trading Post (R.I.P. Teddy) and American Rag all in walking distance from where I live. I have to say General Quarters is my first stop whenever I take a stroll though the neighborhood. See you soon guys!!
If any of you fellow blue bloods, like Greg, have a store either close or far that you are enamoured with then feel free to give us a shout. Now that this first feature is out there we want to keep pinning to ‘The Denim Map’, either with a feature like this one or just by adding to the Denim Map page that will be set up in the next couple of days. Hit us up in the comments, through our Contact page or via our various Instagram accounts and stay close peeps.