Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Exclusive Interview with Stacy Michelle and Monique of Tuned In

Q- Name
A- -stacy michelle

Q- What is Tuned In?
A- -tuned in is a clothing company that we launched earlier this year. we’re focused on music and the music scene, what our friends and peers are in to, fashion, and (most importantly) fun.

Q- How did you come up with the idea for Tuned In?
A- -honestly? Monique is one of my best friends. we were on the phone talking about other clothing brands and one of us started the “why couldn’t we do something like that?” there was no real answer as to why not… so we started thinking more about it and turned it in to a reality.
-yeah i don’t think either one of us knew that random conversation would lead to this. i woke up the next day and was like “wait did that legit happen?”

Q- What types of products do you sell?
A- -currently, our product line consists of shirts, bracelets, and laminates. we’re going to be extending our product line in the near future.
-can’t wait for the new line!

      Q- Where do you come up with ideas and inspiration for the products?
A- -every day life. sometimes we’ll text one another out of the blue and just start talking about a great idea. or a bad idea that could be great, haha.
-if i can make stacy laugh or not say no right away, i know we’re on to something. most of the things i think of are RANDOM, or just things everyone is thinking but no one is saying

Q- What is your goal for Tuned In? Where do you see the company going/being in 5 years?
A- -to break even, haha. no, but seriously—my thing is, reaching out to people, relating to people, and having people get your vision… that’s my goal. having people see what we’re doing and appreciate it. in five years, i’d like to have product placement in some retail stores, a modest income, and a loyal group of friends/fans/collectors.
-well said. from a business perspective right now the focus is getting the brand out there because we are still the new kids in school. in five years i’d love to see a tuned in national tour with bands people have heard of. i’d settle for still being relevant.

Q- What makes Tuned In different than other clothing companies that are similar to yours? Why should someone feel compelled to buy your products?
A- -honestly? we genuinely care so much about the people who support us. we spend our time thinking about ways to help others more then we think about ourselves. every time we get an order, my day is made. it’s not like “oh, ANOTHER ONE,” it’s always this feeling that i can’t even explain… it’s a mixture of being happy, proud, and thankful.
-what doesn’t make us different? for starters me and stacy didn’t see each other between when we got the idea for tuned in. until the night before bamboozle which was our first event. who does that? we do. also we will never make something that we don’t absolutely love which means it might take a little longer for a new item to come out but it won’t just be whatever’s cool at the moment, it’ll be a good quality awesome product. i don’t think anyone should feel like they have to buy anything. i want people to see our merch and fall in love with it instantly. that’s how I buy my clothes. who cares if the lead singer of your favorite band has a hoodie? If you think its ugly then it’s a failed design.

Q- What experience do you have with clothing design?
A- -me personally? none. haha.
-fortunately, this is my area of expertise. i actually have a design degree and before tuned in. i did some shirts for  a couple maryland bands. haha we didn’t go into this 100% blind.

Q- What has been the response to your designs?
A- -pretty good, overall. as good as we could possibly expect, being the new kids on the block, if you will. the people who have paid attention have been in to it. the hardest part is getting them to pay attention these days, haha.
-nobody has straight-up said they hated one, that’s always a good sign

Q- How did you get started with designing?
A- -i’ll leave this one to Monique!
-thanks buddy. umm i saw The Matrix. no legit, i was all about going to school and being a spaceship engineer, I know right. but The Matrix came out and after that i knew i wanted to do movie effects; however i didn’t know you needed some kind of art background to do movies. went to school for graphic design and fell in love. now i can’t really see myself doing anything else.

Q- What speed bumps have you encountered with your clothing designing adventure?
A- -oh, Lord. one of the shirts we ordered for our launch (at bamboozle) was supposed to be printed in two colors. only one color was printed, and the color that WAS printed was too dark a shirt so the design didn’t come out the way we initially anticipated. also, our bracelets almost didn’t make it to new jersey in time for bamboozle. my flight to new jersey for bamboozle was cancelled and i had to fly to new york instead of Baltimore… haha. in general, since i’m in California and Monique is in Maryland, every day has some sort of a bump (like our time difference, for starters), but we like the rollercoaster ride. it keeps things interesting.
-don’t forget about our new shirt being stuck at the Canadian border for weeks…haha we have the best luck.
- hahahaha, i can’t believe i forgot about that!

Q- What advice would you give to someone who wants to pursue a dream in making their own line?
A- -keep your head up. be patient. think things through. always plan for things to be done and arrive a week before you actually need them.
-plan, plan, plan, and then be ready to throw that plan out the window. don’t be afraid to try something random. and remember everyone, you never know who you might meet or have met that can help you somehow

Q-  What has been you biggest accomplishment with Tuned In? And biggest failure?
A- -to me? we’ve just made some rad new friends who are loyal to our brand. oh! and Monique sold dr. phil’s son a swagger bracelet. so that’s pretty cool. failure? i don’t know. i think it’s all perspective. we’ve been really thankful for the responses we’ve gotten. would we like a better response? of course. but i don’t think i’d write anything off as a failure… we’re still learning and growing.
-i forgot all about that sale! i don’t think we’ve failed. I guess if I had to pick one, I’d say not making a “Free Leezy” t-shirt although a lot of our twitter followers told us if we made a Lindsay Lohan shirt they’d lose respect for us…

Q- Could you give me a little description of like one or two of your favorite items you’ve designed and tell the readers where you came up with the idea and why it’s your favorite.
A- -our name dropper bracelet was like a light bulb turning on in my head. we were discussing phrases for bracelets, and when we decided on name dropper and thought to make it glow in the dark, i swear it was a brilliant moment. i still think it’s the funniest thing ever.
-best thing we’ve ever done hands down. don’t know if we’re ever top it. our “you can’t lurk a lurker” shirt gets the most feedback. that was a saying i came up with randomly and just started saying to my friends. so many people wonder what it means and the answer is, everyone is guilty of prying on the internet trying to find some info on someone they shouldn’t be looking up and no matter how hard you try you can never get the answers you’re looking for, it’s because they are on the net lurking just as hard if not harder than you. true lurkers don’t get caught.

Q-  If you could choose any celebrity to wear/be the face of your line who would you choose and why?
A- -oh boy. i think we’d both die if we saw Ke$ha in a swagger bracelet. i always think it’s mindblowingly cool to have anyone (celebrity or otherwise) wearing our things.
i’d literally pee myself if that happened. six degrees of separation anyone??

Q-  Who are your biggest inspirations clothing wise?
A- -honestly, i dig the kids that mix a little bit of this and a little bit of that and come up with their own style. Monique will have a much better answer to this, undoubtedly.
-ha no pressure…Alexander McQueen did ridiculous impractical yet stunningly beautiful things that i see on the runway and in magazines and wonder “how could someone rock that?” and then Lady Gaga steps on the red carpet at the VMAs. i love that, i love fashion. as far as my own styling goes, my best friends inspire me. i go out with them and they look awesome to the point that i feel mediocre, so that makes me want to try something else to reach the bar they set.

Q- What are your favorite trends for fall/winter?
A- -leaving this one to Monique, too. haha.
-I will gladly take this one. all year i wait for the day that’s chilly enough that my 4 layers of clothing makes sense. favorite trends are boots, plaid, vests, layering, and hoods. my newest favorite trend is toggle buttons they’re so fun.

Q- Since your line seems to be biggest for kids who are into music is your line in anyway inspired by music?
-absolutely. both of us are heavily involved in the music scene and we’ve been working with bands for our mix tapes and now our recent collaboration bracelet with Storm The Beaches. we love music and it has given each of us so much, so we’re trying to give back to it as much as we can.

Q- Since you’re based in Maryland what are some are the best local bands to check out for people who want to know more about the MD music scene?
A- -Monique—this is alllll you.
-i’m biased but i think Maryland has a lot of good bands that the rest of the world needs to hear. everyone already knows about All Time Low, The Dangerous Summer, and You Me & Everyone We Know. other bands to check our are Storm the Beaches who we’ve done a collaboration with, The Hint, Oh the Story. i just found out about this band Clear for Takeoff. they did a show at The Point, new venue in Hunt Valley, and i really dig them.

Q- Who are some of your favorite bands?
A- -New Found Glory, Jimmy Eat World and The Get Up Kids are my top three. Copeland, Death Cab, Against Me!, Brave Citizens, Dredg, As Tall As Lions, Transmit Now, Go Radio, Something Corporate, Say Anything and Motion City are all up there… oh I could go on for days.
-The Academy Is…, Senses Fail, and Motion City Soundtrack are my top three. Mariah Carey is my favorite artist. i have an obsession with Ke$ha and Nicki Minaj right now and have The Ready Set on repeat in my brain. yeah, i’m all over the place.

Q- Any upcoming plans in the works for Tuned In?
A- -Absolutely. We’re planning our new line, and we’re also planning a charity collaboration for early next year. And a new mix tape!

Q- Anything else you'd like to share about Tuned In?
A- -we’re awesome. hahaha.
-haha pretty much.

Q- What's your favorite flavor popsicle?
A--OH! the one that’s chocolate and vanilla in the middle and has the cookie outside. i haven’t had one of those in yearsssss.
- is that even a popsicle? umm any one that isn’t red cause i’m allergic.
-it’s a popsicle because i say it is! hahaha. 

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