Fresh off their second place finish in Tee Madness 2011 and on the heels of their Spring 2011 offering I decided to chat with Ruckus Apparel owner Josh Schmitz about everything Ruckus and running a clothing line.
So huge congratulations coming in as the Runner-Up for this year’s Tee Madness! How did the competition treat you and how was it taking down second place?
Thanks man! The competition was crazy, we had sooooo many close matchups. It was a great experience, and alot of fun. It was really impressive to me how many people support RUCKUS. It was a very awesome thing to see so many cool people in my corner helping us out. Second place is cool with me, honestly, i would have been happy with top 8. Once we got to the top 8 everyone had solid lines, and i was honored to be amongst them.
You guys look to be extremely busy getting ready to launch the new line “Death Crew”. What can you tell us about the new line and can we get any sneak peaks?
The Spring line has been a bit crazy. The DEATH CREW evolution has been been really fun to watch. Its actually something that one of my designers Matt Skiff came up with on a whim, and its REALLY taken off. The Death Crew has turned into a whole subculture within Ruckus. But yes, needless to say, the Death Crew stuff is super tough. I’m really really stoked on how its all coming out.
Ruckus has done a phenomenal job taking a big step up each release whether it be in the products, photos or website redesigns. How do you keep yourself motivated to grow and outdo yourself each release?
That’s exactly it – i just try to outdo myself with every release and every event. I mean, for our first runway show ever i opened up the catwalk with a pro mma fighter spinning fire, haha – how in the hell do you out do that?? SNAKES – Thats how, LOL. No man, I firmly believe that there is no neutral in business or in life. If your not getting better – your getting worse. That applies to ALL aspects of your life. Life is about hustle, and discipline. Mike Tyson is probably my favorite athletes of all time, and his definition of discipline is “doing what you hate to do, but doing it like you love it.” If your stagnant in this industry – your dead… it will eat you alive.
I was reading on your site that you have some huge announcements coming out soon concerning new collabs, sponsorships and partnerships. Is there anything that you can share with us yet on that front?
Yeah this summer is going to be huge for us. I guess this is as good of a platform as any to show a little bit of what’s up our sleeve. We have corporately partnered with Erich Garza and GutterMouth Productions, as well as Tom Parrott and Sunrise Music Productions. We have also added to the RUCKUS ARMY bands such as The Great Commission, and My Body Sings Electric. We also welcomed into the family Colorado’s very own Denver Outlaws (Denver’s Professional Lacrosse team), as well as David Herman (Pro BMX rider for team USA), and professional fighters Brandon RUKUS Thatch, Vinnie The Assault Lopez, and Jason The Dragon Lee. We are also teamed up with a freaking awesome project our of nebraska called Skate the State its an amazing project and i couldnt be more happy to be a part. And that’s a short list of some of the new additions. Im really really excited for the future.
How have used social networking to your advantage and grow your brand?
Social networking is huge. Its all perceived reality right? Were constantly staying in communication with our fans as well as keeping them up to date with all that’s going on. We also use it to ensure that everyone is informed of all of the events we have going on. Facebook and Twitter both have been hugely important in our marketing process.
So when setting up a line for release what does that process look like and how long does it usually take from start to finish?
It changes from release to release. But i have a core team of 4 designers that do all of our work. I usually send them a super long design brief / inspiration email and then from there i trust them, and just let them do their thing. I have such a good relationship with them that they all understand my vision and are able to completely execute it.
From the design process, i start to pick garments. One thing that sets us apart is we do alot of custom girls pieces, not just standard unisex ts. That’s important for us to keep us ahead and different from the pack. Once i’ve approved the designs and garments we go to press, then photo shoot, then runway show, then release, then party, haha. If you overcomplicate everything, and start to over think your release you will take the fun out of it. Like for me, i dont pay attention to trends, or hot colors, or anything like that. I just make clothes that i love, and hopefully other people like them too…
What have been some of your biggest challenges when starting and growing your brand?
Money is always a problem. But i graduated from Wheat Ridge, which everyone from Colorado knows basically i graduated with a degree in Alpha Male, and learned how to Hustle rather than earning an actual High School diploma. I literally started Ruckus with 200 dollars. Its all about hustle, hard work, and doing good business with good people. If you spend more time picking your team and less time worrying about your budget – things will work out, i promise. Another problem we run into is people trying to label us, or put us in a genre. Street Wear, Casual Wear, Athletic Wear, Fine Couture, etc etc. I HATE that. Don’t try to label me because we wont fit. In a recent feature for a Denver High Fashion Magazine, they asked us how we liked being Fine Couture, i responded “Were not Fine Couture, were Grime Couture.” Haha yeah, we don’t really fit in… but i LOVE that.
Could you offer any advice to people looking to start their own line or help them grow their current line?
Don’t be needy or whiney or take things personal. Put your chin up and rep your shit hard. When you want something bad enough, and you work for it hard enough, you don’t have to chase your dreams. When you dream big, and you work HARD – your dreams almost start to chase you.
Do you have any sales or coupon codes you would like to share with our readers?
Ill tell you what – because of T Madness, and you guys always having my back – promo code IATT will get you 25% off everything on our site
Any last minute shout-outs or announcements?
I want to thanks my personal Lord Jesus Christ. Without Him, none of this would be possible. I also want to thank my Mom and Dad for teaching me what its like to work hard for the greater Glory, and to live for something bigger than myself. I want to personally thank Erich Garza and GutterMouth Productions for believing in this crazy dream. I want to thank my designers Matt Skiff, Brandon Herbel, Mike Cortada, and new addition Shane Biaotto. Also HUGE thanks to all of our fans and customers… You guys have always been in my corner and you have no idea how much your support means to me!