That's the trouble with having an audience that's far reaching, we never know what greeting to go with. Bloomin' time zones! You guys are worth it though and we hope that you can put up with us hedging our bets (see above)?
So, this weekend was a bit of a whirlwind and we'll go into more detail on that, this Friday BUT tonight we have another start-up in the 10@10 saddle. Sorry, I've been around bikes too much this weekend and now want one 😬 Back to tonight and I'm going to keep this quite short 'n' sweet...
...tonight, Jonathan 'The Bearded Underdog' answers questions about his one-man handmade leather goods brand and he does so with aplomb. Stating that he wants "to create a brand doing and celebrating all of the things I am interested in from coffee, leather and denim through to beards, tattoos, attitude" etc he seemed to fit in perfectly after the bikes, beards and booze-heavy weekend we just had at the CCSC.
Also, Jonathan was the first to reply with his answers after Ben put a shout-out on IG for you brands to send content over. It pays to be quick off the starting line!
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Jonathan Massey
BRAND NAME: The Bearded Underdog AKA @thebeardedunderdog
POSITION: Owner, worker, coffee maker AND drinker
ESTABLISHED: October 2017
LOCATION: Oulu, Finland
SIZE OF TEAM: Just me, myself and I
SPECIALITY/COMPANY FOCUS: Handmade leather goods currently but I have wishes to branch out in a number of different directions
1. Straight forward, please tell us, how did your company The Bearded Underdog start out? (For people that don’t already know)
“You don’t have to love your job every day, but you do have to like it sometimes” was something my father said to me that hit a switch a few years back to make some big changes in my life. In the summer of 2016 I got a chance to work with leather and this was the first time in my life that I could get lost in work and never look at the time. I soon found myself spending any available time learning and practicing making different things.
Spring 2017 I started hatching the idea of The Bearded Underdog. The Bearded Underdog is an identity that is representative of my own interests, inspirations and attitude. It is about doing everything I possibly can, in my own way and never giving up or making compromises on quality or values. I wanted to create a brand doing and celebrating all of the things I am interested in from coffee, leather and denim through to beards, tattoos, attitude and the list goes on. This is only the start of where I want to go.
2. Tell us. What does a day in the life of yourself look like? What’s your daily work routine?
From 6am every day there is always something to do when running something like this where you do everything yourself. I start with checking orders to make for the day, while making a large pot of coffee. I go spend a little time with the local wild red squirrels and then it’s down to work. The day is full of making, having new ideas, packaging, writing a personal note, handling emails, DMs, taking photos / video clips, editing, updating the webstore, accounts, and trying to connect with people all around the world. Whether I am awake or sleeping I am always dreaming of what I am doing and the new things I want to add to the brand.
It’s pretty full on all day, every day but I have zero complaints because I wouldn’t change it for the world.
3. What do you see as being your signature item? The garment to take you forward?
Any one of the collection of wallets that I currently make. The Helsinki and London wallets have both been very popular although I think some of my newer designs like The Belfast and Sydney will move the company forward. Each one is my own design and at least I feel they all have a consistent flow in design identity. So, yeah, it’s not necessarily any one item, but the identity of the leather goods themselves.
4. What’s your personal favourite garment when it comes to the items you manufacture?
They are all fun to make. The Helsinki wallet has been the one that has stuck with me personally in terms of what I use every day as it suits all my needs. It holds everything I need it to hold. The patina of the Horween Derby English Tan along with my branded snap fasteners on my personal wallet gets more amazing by the day. I have loved also doing some custom add ons for various clients down to their own spec – I want to listen and learn what new things people actually want.
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 brings inspiration to me both personally and with my work in highlighting many other brands that I didn’t know of. Just seeing how passionate and photogenic some of these ladies and gents are is great. Instagram has brought the world I want to see to my finger tips – back when I was growing up you had to wait a month to get a new magazine to see what was going on in the world. It has exposed me to so many new and great brands and makers!
6. Has it made an impact on your business at all, do you think?
It’s where I want to be to be honest. I love discussing with others on Instagram. Having a virtual closeness and instant way of communicating on a daily basis is very important to me.
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?
Plenty! There are so many talented individuals out there and many more I haven’t found yet.I’m sure I miss out some important ones but everyone I follow is for a reason. @greezmunky_ (super dude that made my custom gloves), @billdabutcher (awesome all round dude and artist), @smithsleatherbalm (amazing people and super product), @vendimialightingco (awesome lights), @breclaimed (awesome maker and attitude), @stevewest (Silver Piston jewelry), @biondidavide (the man behind the awesome Hen’s Teeth project)...@blackbearbrand (lusting after everything they put out!)...needless to say I could go one for ages.
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?
Loads, but to name a few, being a father and being there for my daughter as she grows up. Hand feeding wild red squirrels and nature. Playing guitar, or listening to music. Just zoning out with a cup of coffee outside and smoking a pipe is pretty much bliss for me.
9. What do you consider to be the best thing about your business and why?
Pretty much that it’s mine which gives me the liberty of being able to do things my own way, hold myself accountable, not asking for permission to do something, not to having to compromise with anything that I build and deliver.
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.
I would take the opportunity to finally grab up some of the things that I would love to get one day! On my desert island it wouldn’t perhaps be too warm or sunny though.
- Black Pendleton Melton Wool Jacket by @blackbearbrand
- 25oz 777 Denim Jeans by @ironheartdenim
- Grey Sweatshirt by @hensteethitaly
- Black Watch Cap by @blackbearbrand
As for the drink I would take my favourite whiskey; Lagavulin 16 years and then make sure I broke the rules and smuggled my pipe and some great tobacco to enjoy the sunset.
Jonathan, great my friend. Really great! Can't believe you took my moniker though, "The Bearded Underdog" BUT with the product you're producing I'm happy for you to take on that mantle, man. Ha! Also, a 16 year single malt? You're sharing that right? 😉
Seriously though, thanks for taking the time Jonathan and looking forward to seeing how your brand (+ beard) grows! Everybody else, please feel free to send me an email at email@example.com to get a template for whatever 10@10 you feel suits you...
...and have a cracking week people, speak soon! Peace.