Monday, May 18, 2015
DO ME GOOD AND I'LL DO YOU BETTER
She went to a store called Mildblend Supply in Chicago and had bought me a pair of selvedge denim jeans.
I am a self proclaimed denim collector, and in her defense, she did her research.
On Christmas morning I tear into the package and unveil the fruits of her labor.
They were a beautiful pair of finely crafted Shockoe Denim jeans from Virginia, in which I could not fit both of my legs into at the same time, which is crucial when you are attempting to wear...pants.
A couple of weeks later me and Max went to Mildblend to make an exchange.
I was taken aback by how my son and I had been treated like long lost family members by the staff there. Mind you, I had never been to the store until that day.
I spent the better part of my exchange talking about vintage workwear and Japanese denim, until my sons patience could bear no more.
I returned a few months later to have some jeans chainstitch hemmed, and relived my first experience, which goes to show me that they are just THOSE kind of people.
The next time I returned to have another pair of jeans hemmed, I brought the owner (Luke) one of my denim hangers, for nothing more then to show my gratitude for our shopping experiences.
I have to be honest, I don't usually shop at a brick and mortar, I mostly shop online due to a long history of lousy customer service.
I brought ANOTHER pair of jeans to be hemmed and this time I got to talking with Luke, the owner, and he had mentioned how he might be interested in a reclaimed style table.
He gave me no direction, we didn't sign any agreements, he didn't even really officially commission me to build a table...I just did it.
Everything, well, 97% of this table was made from reclaimed materials. The top was made from a barn door that someone before us had nailed to some saw horses and used as a work table. It was in such horrible condition that I didn't even think it was usable.
I worked that top and cursed at it for hours. I got to that fight or flight stage with it. Either I went all the way with it, or it gets chucked in a dumpster...I fought, I won.
I didn't have much out of pocket expense, seeing as most of the components of this table were from various materials left throughout the shop. I spent a couple grand in man hours, but if you love what you do...who gives a shit about the time spent.
Me and Zack were talking about work boots at lunch, and seeing how his big toe was about to make it's debut through his current pair, a thought came to mind.
I emailed Luke a picture of his table in progress, and said "let's make a trade." Luke agreed, and this table was made for a pair of boots, and 2 pairs of jeans.
Zack now has a pair of boots that will keep his piggies safe for the next 20 years, my girl has her first pair of raw denim, and I walked away with some EAT DUST jeans from Belgium.
Because Luke and his staff treated me like family, I in turn treated MY family.
There's more to life than money, and there's more to business than money.
Luke had to buy those items he traded and my time is just as valuable, but it felt really good to not even speak of money in this situation.
It was all done out of faith and appreciation.
There are morals and integrity left in humanity. They're there, but they're rare. When you come across them, keep them close.
Do me good and I'll do you better....treat my family like your own....and there's nothing I won't do for you.
So, today happens to be my Birthday, and I'd like to send a special thanks to all the people that have effected my life in a positive way throughout this past year...Zack Knowles (MAKERS), Joey Cacciatore, Otis and crew (GERTRUDE), Zach Meyers (ZACEUSA), Keith (LION AND ANVIL), Johnney Reynolds (J10 CUSTOMS) Collin, Marcus, and Linda (SALVAGE ONE) Davide Nanni, Christophe Loiron (MISTER FREEDOM), Cory (LIPPS INC.), Ben Weasel (SCREECHING WEASEL) and Luke (MILDBLEND SUPPLY).
What a difference a year makes.