celebrating 1k with unspun’s 10 firsts
a small stepping-stone of success: 1,000 followers on instagram. it reminds us that we’ve grown a lot in our first two years. in honor, we’re getting a tad nostalgic and recapping ten of the firsts that got us here - our first office (where we ate a lot of sandwiches), our first mobile pop-up (that turned out to be illegal), and our first failure. if you’ve been with us since the beginning or just hopped on the train - thank you for supporting us as we flip the fashion paradigm together.
1> 1st office
our small four-person team found their first home in san francisco at the archery. we capitalized on gus’s community market sandwich discount every wednesday while we strategized on the road ahead. admittedly, we were a bit uncertain whether what we were embarking on was completely insane. the small sandwich ritual kept us sane and finance-friendly through the process.
2> 1st photoshoot
our first photoshoot was in hong kong at the jockey club innovation tower, a building created by zaha hadid. it was scrappy and abstract, an artistic experiment that turned out pretty dang well given we didn’t have specified jean styles yet. special thanks to carmen chan for shooting our “models” (friends) pulled from fitness academy in hk.
3> 1st mobile pop-up
unbeknownst to us, mobile pop-ups require special permits in HK and trying to camouflage our huge truck covered in unspun decals was challenging. every time we stopped, the scanner fell down. when challenged by authorities, we had to assure them we are a legitimate company. regardless, this was a turning point for us - people were ecstatic about what we were doing.
4> 1st customer
“it’s debatable who paid first vs. who scanned first,” co-founder, walden says. “i would argue that tracey was our first customer. she was kind enough to spend more than five hours helping us set up, including moving the 150lb scanner along hollywood road.” we still hold on to many of our initial customers of this time - they’re diehards that only wear unspun jeans.
5> 1st bike ride
in unspun jeans
when we were working out of hax in shenzhen and in need of some marketing materials, brian gormley, of our hardware team, stepped up to the plate. he grabbed a prototype bike from PushMe and peddled up and down the street so that we could get the shot. back in the day, we didn’t have yoke on our pants and weren’t sure what direction our brand was going in, although the 2000’s boyband feel this image alludes to surely wasn’t it.
6> product review
derek ting reviewed our jeans and we like what he had to say. we’re a bit biased about our jeans, so it was great to have an outside party tell viewers what he really thought of the process, which is much different than your traditional retail experience. main takeaways are: 1. yes, it’s true they fit “really” well. 2. the process is what makes the pants that much better.
watch it >
shop derek's pick >
7> 1st failure
when we first started selling jeans, we allowed customers to choose whatever fabric they wanted for whichever style they chose. one day a customer decided on a low-stretch fabric for our launch style jean. if you wear form-fitting jeans, you know this is a big no, no. the woman could. not. move. it was painful just to watch; we can’t imagine what it must’ve been like to be wearing them. needless to say, we began to limited fabric options based on style and in turn, customers are much more satisfied.
8> 1st award
another huge turning point for us was when we were awarded the early bird prize for the global change award through the h&m foundation in 2017. this is when other brands and a larger sea of customers rushed in. over the next year, we signed a contract with a major premium fashion brand, brought on like-minded investors, and solidified the foundation of unspun that makes us successful today.
9> 1st fabric mill visit
our founder, walden, and product lead, brooke, went on a mission in china to visit unspun’s first fabric mill. “it felt like we were on trains for days,” brooke says, “we got delayed in a station where the only food vendor sold fried chicken, which walden couldn't eat, and then i almost missed the train because i was stuck in customs. i shot put my bag through the scanner and sprinted to the closing doors. the train was moving when i got on! i couldn’t find walden for the first hour of the ride and thought i had gotten on the wrong train heading to who knows where. it was stressful.” true story.
10> 1st store
300 de haro, suite #352
300 de haro is a labor of love. the whole team painted, scrubbed, and assembled each part of the space. now, it’s our favorite on-going project. most recently, we installed a new dressing room for our scanner and bright blue LED lights (to get the party started). visit us, we don’t bite!