The Trials and Tribulations of Grim Garden LLC
"Tragic Loss and a Legacy to Fulfill"
Written by Jake Weightman
Grim Garden represents a place where anyone can go to truly be themselves. A place where you don't compromise who you are to meet the accepted standards or beliefs of the people around you.
So long as you don't transcend on what makes other people happy,
MAKE YOUR OWN PATH.
When this company was officially set up, Mack Magers and I were both generally blind to the world of popular fashion, trending styles, and business of the sort as a whole. Neither of us drew up a plan before diving in. Nor did we have an outside opinion/mentor to guide us through the obstacle-cluttered path that we'd agreed to take as a team.
All we knew was that we mutually:
- wanted to oppose "hype culture" and popular companies making so much money for virtually no effort artistically.
- hated working for minimal pay and compromising our pride and self-worth for a paycheck that would never be more than the last.
- enjoyed each other's company and trusted each other 100%
- each had a sense of style that was original, and appreciated dark / psychedelic artwork as opposed to the ultra-simple, graphic trash that people were throwing money at, simply because of its popularity.
Now, I'd been doodling my whole life (at least since I can remember), and in high school the doodling had evolved into more serious drawing and painting. I was always creating.
Mack saw me drawing up some ghetto canvas patches at a get together and he recognized that I was trying to figure out a marketable approach for my obsession. And then one of my friends started making fun of the patches and he got PISSED!
Instead of arguing with the dude and causing a scene, he pulled me out back for a smoke. That's where he told me we could really make something of these designs, and I was honored that he was willing to throw down the money he'd been saving to start it up.
At this point, I had been posting my artwork steadily on a collaborative Instagram page called @sub_human_art. The page was probably more than 80% posts of my work, and I was the only one who was incorporating the name into the illustrations as to build a brand on some level. After Mack's investment, I told my friends that I'd be getting serious with it and the collaborative function of the page was not going to continue.
Of course, @sub_human_art was only a (surprisingly) available Instagram tag, and upon further investigation the name Sub Human and all of its variants was already trademarked and semi-successful in NYC.
Luckily we realized before ordering the first round of merchandise, and the name we came up with to replace it was just as good. Better even, because it worked symbolically with a sketch I'd been redrawing for a while. This sketch was the UFO abducting the plant that we still use today, but the name was Grey Garden.
We ran with that for a while, but when we went to file as a LLC in NJ we were faced with a familiar obstruction. Taken!
Of course, the documentary about the wacky old ladies and whatnot. Whatever. We were bummed to say the least. But, after the initial helpless scrambling, it was back to the brainstorming stage. Way harder this time, took about 2 or 3 weeks, and given the decision to keep the logo, the name was ready in time for the deadline in NJ that year.
Grim Garden LLC, was established January 4, 2017.
After the name change, it seemed like a sporadic climb. We'd planned for a bit of confusion, and the explanation we'd rehearsed together over the phone not only came in handy; while working out the kinks, it had forced us to actually summarize what we stood for. The name change was a blessing in disguise, and as we pushed forward with the brand, the success rate of events went from often minimal to no sales with Grey Garden to meeting set sales goals by 2019.