Holy crap it’s been a really long time since the last update blog. Tons of stuff has happened in the almost 2 months since the last one. I closed on my house, I moved, I sold at a convention, and started planning/working the new line. All notes and tidbits that are about to be covered in this long time coming update blog.
So I closed on my house on the 28th of May, and I couldn’t enjoy and get to moving. Instead, I headed to May-Hem, a horror convention in Orlando. There were a bunch of pros and cons to this show. Well, the cons, or CON, I should say, is financials. The pros were, this was being the first show back in Florida in almost 2 years. It was unbelievable to see so many EZ fans and supporters. There had been people throughout the years, who had said, I saw someone wearing EZ today. Never believing them. But man, there were at least 50 people. I know that sounds super small. But for starters, this show wasn’t that big. On top of that, tons of people were dressed up, or wearing band tees. I’m so used to seeing people wear officially licensed tees and of course Fright Rags, but it was way different at this show. Was pretty awesome. I also got to meet a bunch of people who have followed me throughout the years. Met a bunch of cool people like Mark Patton and Roddy Piper, whom all got copies of my poster I designed. Might do some side work for the both of them down the road, we’ll have to wait and see. I got to meet designers, and other vendors, who remembered me from the last show in Florida I did. Previous fans from the past show. I took a really awesome picture, which I sadly, never saved and can’t find. He’s an instagram follower of mine, and we took this awesome picture of him dressed as Paul Bearer, urn and all, with 2 of his friends dressed as Mankind and Kane. It was pretty fantastic. He also brought me a cupcake, as he knew I was a fellow baker. That ruled.
I also tried out a new display set up for this show. Which worked out pretty well and looked great. I’ll still be using the other set up I have of all the beat up, torn to shreds, collage art. This is more for shows where they justify a space being 6 feet. Terrible. My favorite EZ fan, Matt Turri, was at the show, and his brother Nick also attended and got some shots of the booth and some dumb shots of my mug.
Overall, I’ll probably do this show again. They have another show in the fall, that I will do, if that turns out bad, then I’ll probably write them off and stay at home. I’m not against making some money, but no money, that’s the problem. I did their fall show in 2012, and I had the same dilemma. People go there for the autographs and celebs, while I go to shows like these for the vendors, toys, and weird shit.
The whole time at the show, I was getting super antsy, wishing I was moving into my house and doing something productive. The whole move process, took about 4 weeks, from moving to unpacking, to putting furniture together, putting everything where I wanted it. It was super grueling. Especially doing 90% of it by myself. Lots of driving back and forth. There’s still a lot to do. Guest room is empty. Master bedroom is boring. Lets not talk about the Master bath either, actually both baths. I WANT IT ALL DONE NOW! WAH! I feel like I am settling and half assing, and I hate half assing. I had to make sure my office was done first, as I did an interview with my pal Jeremy, which you can check out here. http://jeremyrichie.net/the-back-and-forth/2014/6/26/the-back-forth-w-kyle-crawford I still have a few things to add to my office poster wise, but for the most part, that’s it. I miss my other office, which was super bright and a massive 14x21 feet. While this one is more custom, new and 11x11 foot square. I love this new house. Just getting impatient, and wanting it to get it 100% how I want it. I’m sure I’ll be posting photos of the new place soon enough.
As soon as I blasted out that interview, I quickly started on the new Electric Zombie line, and updated my portfolio, which you can check out here. http://get86d.com . The new EZ stuff, you shouldn’t have to think too hard about it’s theme. It’s pretty blatant. I worked on a poster and shirt and honestly, I am still waiting on other artwork. I have 2 other designs, which will blow faces off. Currently waiting on other artists to send me their stuff. If all goes to plan, I should have 5 more shirts, and a poster to put out, and I am still debating if I want to do a semi custom shirt, as well as house hold accessory. This is going to be super last minute, which is out of my control and not like me at all. I’m telling you moving can do numbers to you! Hopefully all the other guys come through, as the new line is going to be ordered on Monday! Holy crap 3 days. Previews should start popping up next week. So be on the look out, trust me, it’s a good one.
One thing I can guarantee for this line, and future lines, is way less size Small. I don’t know if my fan base is getting bigger, (I am guilty of this) or it’s changing demographics or what. This year I decided to cut extra small, and soon, small will be on that list. What used to be the highest selling size is now the lowest. Crazy. So, I will be focusing on more of the larger sizes. Large - 2x to be exact. So big dudes rejoice! (P.S. I LOVE YOU)
If you are a lingering extra small fan, be sure to check out the Merch Now store, as that’s where all the left over extra smalls are. If you really want some old old old stuff, hit up the newly restocked Grab bags, which have designs from as far back as 4 years ago, CRAZY! That goes for all you other fans out there. TONS of old designs are hiding out in those archives, waiting for your nasty fingers to touch. It had been 2 years since they have restocked those bundles. Loads of old stuff in there. At a bargain at that! 15 buckeroos for 2 shirts? That’s insanity. If you have been wishing you hadn’t slept on an older design, this is your best bet to grab it (OH PUNS!) head over to the Electric Zombie close out store here. http://electriczombie.merchnow.com/
Now, when people hear the words CLOSE OUT together, they assume that I am going out of business. Sorta kinda true. I have broke this down before (I think) but here is the reality of it all. I first started EZ in 07, when I got a job with Warner, stopped working with Rockett, and decided to do my own thing. Was supposed to move out to cali to continue to work with Warner. Seriously, was packed , had a lease signed, it was a done deal. Until they decided to not pay me more. I thought to myself, why would I move to LA, to make the same, and be poor? They also wanted to buy Electric Zombie and offered me a crap deal. At the time, I had been doing lots a freelance (which if I moved to LA, I wouldn’t have been ALLOWED to do) for Merch Now, and told them that the Warner deal fell through. They flew me out, and the rest is history. What was it they did that made me want to take the job? For starters, the already 2 year relationship I had with a couple of the guys that worked there. The scenery was awesome. I honestly miss it every now and again, ok, maybe a lot. The fact that they seemed like they NEEDED and appreciated what I could bring to the table, and lastly, they said they would front all costs for new Electric Zombie product and take the cost of product from the sale of said items. Popularity grew as well as my ideas, and I just did more and more and more. Even excessive 40+ item releases. I didn’t have to worry about fronting thousands and thousands of dollars. I instead took my massive 20k+ months (for almost 2 years straight) I was having (my cut) and paying for crazy jackets, jeans, and other custom items. It wasn’t long before they offered to front those costs as well. At that point, something happened, relationships soured. I was getting burnt out on being the only shirt designer there. Warped tour was a nightmare. Things were happening with the company, and I was feeling some of the heat from it. I’m one of those people who builds up a tension to where it gets to an explosive point, and well, there was an explosion. Now, don’t get me wrong, those guys didn’t screw me over, or do anything. I owe pretty much everything to them. I just didn’t want things to get brutal and ugly. When I moved back to Florida, it made sense to take the business with me, as I am a control freak who likes to see and have my hands on literally everything. I can’t trust to put in an order with a printer and hope that when the box gets dropped off at the door, that it’s going to turn out right. I did that for the first year of Electric Zombie’s existence, and it was grueling and mega stressful. Merch Line, now prints and does mail order. So, here we are. I didn’t want to leave Merch Now high and dry, as they did everything for me an my brands for almost 5 years. So I did (and still doing a mega clear out) on their side of things. Things are literally at cost. I am not making ANY money. So if you are a supporter of the brand, want some cheap shirts, please help me, and Merch Now out, by buying something from their store. It will be pretty much the ONLY chance you can get these items. I started out this year with almost 150 items, and now were are below 50.
So now, the future….Is EZ closing down? Nope. At least not yet. I can see why people would get that vibe. This whole HOUSE thing, really screwed me over big time. I was supposed to close in March, but because I am self employed, I had to wait extra long for my tax transcripts so I could close on the house. That took nearly 3 months. So that impacted the summer line. (Almost impacted the wrestling line in April as well). You can’t make any huge purchases. Lenders are CONSTANTLY watching your bank accounts every month. All statements, everything. It sucks. When I closed, the lenders also told me I needed 5k MORE than previously estimated to close, and dropped that on me the day of closing. So I had to scramble to come up with money and have been basically living day to day, hoping my clients with band design pay me, so I can stop using now almost maxed out credit cards. So the reality is, real life is impacting the EZ life. I don’t have the Merch Now, financial backing and deal like I used to. You gotta have money to spend it. On top of that. I’m not sure what is going on with the brand. Did having 2 stores confuse everyone? Do people just not give a crap about the brand anymore? Has it fizzled out? Do the designs suck? It’s just not what it was before. Making over 20 thousand a month, to maybe 2 thousand a month. It’s terrible. I am basically taking what I make and putting it right back in. Now that I am not living rent free with family, and I have a 5 month old son, it’s making it super hard to actually be able to carry on. It’s more of a priority thing. Before, I could do WHATEVER I want. Now I can’t. I had people hound me for years to bring back the Ninja Turtle stuff, I do, and I still have a good amount of it. I ask everyone to vote on what previous designs from Merch Now, to bring over to the new store. Everyone voted on a shirt, and I maybe sold 25 of them. (Granted it’s only been a month, but that is still pathetic) I just don’t get it. It’s fine. I’m not sad about it by any means. I could and would switch the way things are released. Instead of lines, or themed lines, it would be releasing items spread out and whenever I can. Much like Johnny Cupcakes, Fright Rags, and 8-Bit Zombie. I am just so used to doing this routine for so long, that doing anything different, freaks me out. So, what can you expect? No more hoodies, no more tank tops, probably no more custom items, like jackets and jeans and all of that. I might still do the occasional Dead Head, Sticker Pack, Pillow , Wrestling Buddy (Deadies). But that would all have to be about timing and if it’s financially smart. It’s basically going to be T-shirts and Posters and who knows how long that will go on for. Some things sell out immediately, and some things stay around for forever. It’s becoming hard and harder to gauge and I have no idea, what will happen in future releases. It seems like everyone buys the first few days and then it fizzles out, instead of it being this constant buy buy buy mode.
Am I sad and trying to make you feel bad, or even some of you probably cheering at a possible EZ demise? Nope. I just like being truthful to all my fans and not put up this front of doing great or make up some lame excuse to why these things are happening. The short version of this story is. I don’t have someone paying for everything, I moved, had a kid, bought a house, have to pay for everything, product isn’t moving like it used to, future unknown.
I still have 3 more lines planned, and some shows I want to do this year and next. After it’s all said and done. I might take a step back and see where I want to go. It might be a few shirts a year. Or it might pick up steam and go back to normal. But just like in life and everything else in it, it’s unknown. But I felt like all my fans (and enemies) should know what’s going on, and how real life stresses and realities are impacting the brand(s).
On a happier note, theres a massive store wide sale going on in the store for the Holiday weekend. Enter the word KABOOM at check out and receive 40% off EVERYTHING, even final print. The sale comes down on Sunday night, so don’t sleep on it! Enjoy your weekend, blow shit up, eat some meat, and try and keep your eyebrows! Until next time, with new line teasers!