Woah! It’s Monday again and we’re all a week older! Where does the time drop folks? Loads to do and not enough time to do it…
Mine and the missus’s methods for getting the little ones to stay in their own bed all night is still going Pete Tong but I have confidence that one day we will crack it! I’m reading William Hill, not to be an astute business man but to establish confidence in the thought that “one day” I will sleep all night! Sometimes I wonder how we managed to fuck the bedtime routine up so much?!
Anyways, right now I have a good hour to spout my bullshit and cover another addition to the ‘…Brands…’ 10@10 series. This evening we chat to Ben, who not only sports a stellar first name but also holds an integral passion for all things denim. Based on that last sentence it’s obvious this dude is impeccably cool yeah 😉
Based in the Netherlands, @bensonbluelegs is technically still a start-up but I shall say no more as Mr Bluelegs himself addresses all in this totes rad interview…
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Ben (Benjamin Boden)
POSITION: All the positions
BRAND: Benson Bluelegs
ESTABLISHED: August 2016
LOCATION: Kerkrade, The Netherlands
SIZE OF TEAM: Just me
SPECIALITY/COMPANY FOCUS: Handcrafted garments and accessories + custom/bespoke tailored garments, all garments are made from raw and unwashed fabrics, mostly denim.
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company Benson Bluelegs start out? (For people that don’t already know)
I simply couldn’t find the desired fit, jacket sleeves too long, shoulder too wide, jeans rise to low leg too narrow or too wide. I spent lots of money on quality brands which all make great clothes but it just wasn’t what I wanted, so like the old saying; “If you want something to be done right, do it yourself”. Hahaha but it wasn’t that good in the beginning, I did a one year speed class in design and tailoring and I spent 2015 and 2016 studying and making as much as I could. Jeans, jackets, wallets, hats, bags etc, the list is very long. Besides that I read many books on tailoring (everything I could get my hands on) and of course the internet is a great source for learning. Ok I’ll keep it short, in Spring 2016, I went skating with friends and had one of my own pair of jeans on and after a long day of skating I switched pants and then it happened..one of my friends yelled; “Eyo, Benson je hebt blauwe benen!” (Benson, you have blue legs!)
After that I had this name I thought was really cool and something I hadn’t heard before so it sticked with me, from there on it went really fast. On IG lots of requests came in and I was kind of forced to take the next step, I thought about a business strategy and came up with the 4 branch plan.
• Collection (A small core collection with solid timeless designs, items that will stay in the collection and could also be available for stores/retailers)
• Limited batches (Items that pop up for a short period of time, with this I could experiment more)
• Custom-made and bespoke tailoring
• One of a kind items
In August 2016 I finally had it all figured out (that’s what I thought anyway) and founded Benson Bluelegs. Today, 9 months later I’m still learning every day and experimenting and I’m loving it.
2. Tell us. What does a day in the life of yourself look like? What’s your daily work routine?
No work day is the same, usually I get up sometime between 6-7 am, work out, meditation, dog walking, breakfast, daughter to school and then I start my work day. This work day depends on what I’m currently doing, for example currently I’m working on limited batch 06 so most of my work day is related to this batch, besides that I’m doing bespoke orders, making sure my akimbo collection is on full stock, ordering supplies, processing orders, you know a little bit of everything that needs to be done for that day.
3. What are your top 3 bestselling items? And why do you think this is?
Such a good fit, great fading denim, vintage canvas patch, cool thread colour combinations, affordable price.
Hit the road jacket
This jacket is a combination between several jackets from the past (Trucker, Eisenhower, racer jackets), also great fit (not too short, not too long), very cool handwoven yoke lining, copper hardware.
Mostly custom-made bracelets, this one I think sells good because no other brands doing this kind of loop/button selvedge bracelets as far as I know.
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
Bespoke and one of a kind items. Bespoke garments are very time consuming and mostly you really get to know the customer who’s ordering. I really want to craft the piece that the customer has in mind, so usually it’s lot of emailing or phone conversations to pin point an idea so I can transform this into a piece of garment.
One of a kind items are just as much fun to do, there are no limits to these kind of items that’s what makes the production of these so much fun. Sometimes I come across beautiful vintage and deadstock fabrics and hardware and combining them into a piece without limitations of a customer’s wishes and sizes. I must say these one of kind items are made freehand. Which means to me instead of drawing a pattern I draw directly onto the fabric on feeling instead of using measuring tools, so the exact size and fit will only become clear when the piece is ready. I then take the measurements and it goes in the webshop as it is, so these one of a kind items are unique in their way and won’t be reproduced. This is what makes it so cool to produce these items, when I start i don’t know what comes out hahaha!
5. What are your thoughts on the rise of Instagram fashion and the chaps that post their clothing on there to help spread the word of their fave brands?
It’s both positive and negative, such as everything in life is of course. I like that within the denim community most people actually care about their clothing and try to wear them as long and as much as possible. I don’t have the feeling that they post it online to show off how much they have but rather because they like to share their experience about stuff they actually wear and how it’s changing from raw unwashed to worn. I love #fadefriday haha! Lots of these guys are really fun to watch.
Of course, there are some less lovely people aswell and the only thing I want to say to them is; stop asking for free stuff, if you’re asking a one-man company/brand for free stuff you’re not supporting small business nor handcrafted artisans but you’re shitting on that company that makes honest stuff.
Seriously, some of these IG dudes…quote; “Hey man I really like the clothing you guys are making, the quality looks very good, I really like that everything is handcrafted, I have 10000+ followers on IG, why don’t you send me a jacket and a pair of jeans so I can promote you on IG, if not, no problem I wish you good luck in the future.’
Which basically says to me; I only wanna have it if it’s free. Of course I’m very flattered that they choose BB for that haha but that’s my turn to kindly say; no thank you!
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
Yes it does, lots of customers did find me through IG or because some of their friends did post stuff they bought from me. Customers get a honest look at BB products without some ads, marketing agency or brand ambassadors, I don’t like commercials and stuff!
Myself, I don’t buy products if they’re pushed trough marketing strategy, I rather buy stuff from companies that truly believe in their products without screaming it out.
So yes to all my dudes on IG you guys are amazing! Keep sharing your BB products with the world 😉 Thank you
7. Is there any feeds on IG that you particularly like to check-in on regular. What brands are you fond of on there? What menswear feeds to you like to peruse?
Wow! This is a tough one, I can’t name all of them.
My man Angus from @ahwstudio turns vintage watches into beautiful pieces of jewellery
@sashikodenim who’s a handstitching genius
@christopheloiron this dude has such a cool sense of humour I can really relate to
@rogergagnon beautiful travel pictures
@tkohlhaas such a cool dude and talented photographer
@tibberuphoekeren for my daily dose of vintage
@rustbox77 awesome BBQ champ
@kistnerknives one man knife maker
And of course your channel @clobbercalm
Man the list is too long, too much cool stuff to check out but it’s a combination of artisans (or makers) and guys that post cool pics of the dirty F word (Fashion). I’m not liking this word haha but I like seeing clothes being worn in different ways, I also follow a couple of Japanese dudes, their style is so different from European dudes.
8. A quick one about you. Other than the business, what passions do you have in life? What flicks your switch and helps you relax?
Life itself. Take a deep breath, hold it, stop thinking (let go of thoughts) and just be. Meditation is the best valve to release tentions, emotions etc. If I’m totally stressed I do some meditation and I’m calm again, besides that I love being outdoors, that can be walking the dog in the woods, climbing, skating, mountain biking etc, cool thing is I live in the south of the Netherlands which is very close to Germany and Belgium, so lots of beautiful nature nearby me.
I also love music, art, history (like visiting old castles and ruins) and I LOVE books, I’m constantly reading some book, also very cool are audiobooks haha which allows me to work on a piece of garment and at the same time listen to a book. I, also, really enjoy handcrafted goods, from pottery to shoes, woodworkers etc, I love meeting craftsmen/women that make awesome stuff.
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
The fact that I’m responsible for my own actions, good and bad. If you work for somebody you can always put the blame somewhere else, being my own boss I’m the one to blame if something goes sour or the one that gets the credit if something goes really well.
So we’re back at positive, negative haha. Besides that I just love making garments without worrying about fashion trends, I can truly be myself (this is hard if you work for somebody else) and do as I like, make what I like. The world is a big place (obviously haha) and my customers are located all over the world which allows me to continue the way of doing my own thing. I can imagine if you’re a local shop which is bound to clients from a particular county or country it must be very hard.
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. And 1 choice of drink.
What would they be? And Why?
Denim sneakers by @bluedaysfootwear, honestly the best sneakers I’ve worn so far plus they fade.
BB Baracus engineer shorts, relaxed fit shorts with big patch pockets (yarn dye) also fades.
BB Custom indigo dyed pocket tee, pocket on a t-shirt is so handy for small objects and also fades.
BB Black hat five panel cap, I need something to protect the brains from the sun haha plus yes this hat also fades.
Drink: Homemade coconut mango juice, but if it’s the right island I can probably make it there so I’ll go for clean water.
Very curious how this outfit will look like after a deserted island trip. But I could also bring an old foot pedal driven sewing machine, find some caterpillars for silk, chop some bamboo leaves and start making garments over there, would need wifi and a delivery service to ship out orders hahaha then I probably would stay there!
Ben, that was awesome brother. We need to work/speak together a little more, I think man, as there is deffo more we can do together? Drop me an email or DM if you think you have the time.
Peeps, Calendar below! Lots to do and if you want join us on the clobbership, do not hesitate to get in touch as all community is welcome. Just DM or email me and I will get back to you ASAP!
Much love! Stay close.