For the record, what is your name and what do you do for Malus?
I am Jason Mageau and I am the founder/owner of Malus.
So when and how did you decide to start a clothing line?
Around 2005 or 2006 I was doing a lot of art for bands like As I Lay Dying, Pennywise, and Bedlight for Blue Eyes to name a few. I eventually landed some design gigs for a few printers who bought or licensed art to retailers. I watched how a few of the designs I created begin to generate money for everyone else but me. I thought screw selling art for 125 dollars, I want it all! Eventually I made a deal with the printer to provide some pieces of art for free in exchange for small runs of my designs. In a nutshell that’s how it got started.
What do you feel separates Malus from the rest of your competition?
Malus is different in a few ways. Our name isn’t something that “sounds cool” or is meaningless. MALUS has a definition and substance, which is great to stand for something. I also feel we have grown organically unlike some start-ups who come out in your face and with cash to spend because daddy gave them a loan. We produce great garments because I have learned what works and what doesn’t due to the growing pains and the time it has naturally taken us to evolve. I am proud to have made mistakes though. I look at it as education rather than a mistake, you know?
You guys sponsor a lot of bands. Who was the first band that you had sponsored? Did you approach them or did they come to you?
We first worked with As I Lay Dying. Pretty big band to start out with, but we are great friends and Tim Lambesis has shown me as much equal support and respect as I have shown for the band. He first wore one of our shirts back in 07 on the cover of AP’s Warped Tour edition and I nearly had a heart attack. From there it went on to in studio performances on Fuel & Fuse TV to being all around supportive of the brand. We have a great friendship and I would do just about anything for those guys.
At what point did you really feel like Malus was taking off?
I pretty much could not believe I was pitching Malus to about 8 of Hot Topic’s head buyers and vice president! At that point it was when I realized all the struggle and hard work pays off if you keep at it. By no means am I satisfied though…I still have goals to accomplish.
Where would you like to see Malus grow to be in the next few years?
Right now we are gaining a lot of interest from the International markets like Germany, UK, Asia etc. I would love to see the brand become a worldwide brand one day. I really want to move into other product categories like cut & sew products, shoes, or even home decor.
Do you have any advice for people looking to start their own line?
Well there are so many good artists out there right now, I feel like they should all have something of their own. It is hard, but with sites like Emptees.com it is a little bit easier to get art if you lack that talent. Another site like Bigcartel.com can provide a hub to sell from. If you have some money saved or make deals with print shops and have some decent marketing, you may have a shot.
Like I said before you guys seem to be heavily tied into the music scene. Any upcoming bands that we should know about?
I would say Destruction Of A Rose. I try to push them a lot, they actually recorded with Tim from As I Lay Dying and I think they are going to do great in the metal scene.
What are some of your favorite websites?
I really like Mashable, Smashing Magazine, What Would Tyler Durdan Do, Emptees. I also tend to check out a lot of artists personal blogs/sites as I find it is interesting to see what motivates them. How can I avoid stating the obvious here Iamthetrend DUH!
Where can our readers pick up Malus gear?
You may find some left over stock on HotTopic.com but go to www.buymalus.com and use the store locator. It is being updated daily so you can find a place that way, or simply email us through the site we will point you in the right direction, unless you are lazy you can buy it directly from our web store.
Any last shout outs or things you would like to add?
Stop by the Malus Tent on Warped Tour June 26th in Pomona CA, June 28th in Ventura CA and the last two stops on the tour in San Diego CA & Carson CA to get a limited edition poster signed by Escape The Fate, buy some shirts and hang out.