“Blackmarkers are proud of who they are, they always strive to be the best in whatever they take on, they appreciate the details, they don’t take shortcuts and they know the meaning of hardwork.”
Format: Please introduce yourself and break down what The Blackmarkers is.
The Blackmarkers: We are an online retailer that carries a filtered selection of streetwear from around the world. Our brand list includes 3sixteen, Staple, FALSE, Qwstion, 10 Deep, In4mation, Mishka, HellzBellz and Penfield among others.
Format: What’s the story / meaning behind the name?
The Blackmarkers: We represents a certain type of individual. The way this person thinks, how they carry themselves throughout life,etc. makes them a Blackmarker. Breaking it down, a Blackmarker is someone who is passionate about what they do.
Blackmarkers are proud of who they are, they always strive to be the best in whatever they take on, they appreciate the details, they don’ttake shortcuts and they know the meaning of hard work. As a store, Blackmarkers is really only speaking to a certain few. Our goods are over the heads of many, and its really for, or understood by aparticular group.
Format: You’ve got a diverse stocklist, what’s your general approach to buying.
The Blackmarkers: Before I started this company, I used to shop online all the time. There weren’t many stores that stocked the brands I wanted to buy. I always had to order from stores outside of Canada, and with that came duties, custom delays, unreasonable shipping costs, etc. I knew there were many others that were in the same situation, but there wasn’t an alternative.
I wanted to be the answer to that problem, so I brought in a range of clothing from skate, streetwear, contemporary and foreign brands. As we get further into it, we plan to focus on the core streetwear brands like Crooks & Castles, 10.Deep, Triumvir, Franco Shade, Frank 151 and Acapulco Gold. And on the other side of things, we want to offer goods with clean lines, high-quality, classic silhouettes, premium materials and an overall mature feeling. Brands like 3sixteen, Penfield, Qwstion and Staple help with this.
Format: Being new to the game and having no formal fashionexperience, what obstacles did you encounter in the process of launching?
The Blackmarkers: When we first got into this, we tried to get some numbers for our business plan. Without the plan, could not secure any investment. We were trying to speak with brands and no one was giving us the time of day. We basically had to set up our company [incorporate, gst / pst registration, bank accounts, register ourcompany name, etc.] before anyone would even talk to us. At this point, we’re doing it, without even knowing if the business is conceivable.
Then we had to try to lock in brands, but without a fully functioning web site, there weren’t many that wanted to work with us. The web development process was long and expensive. We never wanted a cookie cutter store or a store that had the look and feel of what was already out there. In this culture, there’s a lot of importance put on atmosphere and aesthetics of a traditional brick and mortar store. Forsome reason, all major online stores lacked those same aesthetics. I feel that we achieved something that others weren’t able to do.
So we had no functional web site and no brands. It wasn’t until we went out to Las Vegas for Magic that we made some progress. Meeting the brands face-to-face really showed we were serious. After that, things got a lot easier.
I could go on and on about what we went through, but I’ll end with this. I visited a local streetwear boutique and was told that my idea was impossible. This is coming from a guy who had been to Magic for the last eight years and tried to open his own online store. Our store is really an indication of what persistence, hard work, passion and some luck can do.
Format: Vancouver seems to have a fairly strong streetwear scene, what do you feel you are bringing to the table?
The Blackmarkers: We are an online store, so we see ourselves in competition with the other large online stores and not so much with stores in Vancouver. We stock a lot of brands that other web stores can’t and we showcase them the way they should be. We also put a great importance on customer service, which seems to be lacking with some of our competition. We don’t mark up shipping costs, what we pay is what you pay. We process and ship orders the same or next day. And overall, we will always do our best to make sure you have a smooth transactionand great shopping experience. Going back to Vancouver quickly, I actually shop at and support a lot of our local stores. There isn’t that much overlap between what brands we stock, so there are goods I’m still interested in.