April 11, 2011
Everyone knows The Hundreds and its clear that they are taking over our lives one pillow at a time. Ben and Bobby started this fun and inspiring label back in 03′ as a hobby, and today they have over 50 staff, 4 flagship stores, a magazine and a whole bunch of dope garments. We sat down with creative director Bobby Kim or better known as Bobby Hundreds to talk about the brand, retail spaces, his vision for the future and much much more. Hope this interview inspires you today! Enjoy.
Hey Bobby… What’s good?
Not much. Having a little BBQ at my house today for some friends.
Before we get down to business, I just have to say the Adam bomb logo is gold! Why the bomb?
Initially I incorporated the bomb as a reference to iconic vintage cartoons and the embodiment of 1980s graphic t-shirt character work. But it was a metaphor for our brand. If you notice, the bomb never blows up entirely, he’s just always about to get there. Just like The Hundreds, just under the surface.
What was your vision when you start TH with Ben back in 03’?
To have fun and play our passions. We wanted to make apparel, our own footwear, build our own stores, have a publishing house and record label, and basically become a household name. I think we’ve come far, but have plenty far to go.
You guys bulldozed through hard times and just kept workin’ pedal to the metal. After opening LA, SF and NY, now Santa Monica just got blessed with The Hundreds store. Did you plan to have that many stores open in under such a short period of time?
You know what, we never really have hard plans, we just take things day by day. When opportunities arise, we deliberate on it, make sure it lines up with the brand ideology and our history, and then proceed. The inspiration behind the stores is to offer a venue to truly experience the gamut of The Hundreds brand. Like going to watch your favorite band play live.
We also noticed with every store, there is a certain theme that you guys roll with. Could you break down each stores theme? Why the chosen theme and the inspiration behind it?
Yes, they all incorporate this theme of time. The desired metaphor is that of timelessness, in that The Hundreds is a timeless brand. THLA is a modern store, in the present. THSF is designed as a mash-up of both the past and future, but not the present. THNY is a modern store but witnessed 80 years into the future. And THSM is void of time, absent, neither here nor there.
Opening a store is no small project, and I’m sure a lot of people would love to do what you guys are doing. What was involved in process of opening the Santa Monica store? Can you give us a break down?
The space opened up to us last year and it was too good to pass. Ben and I have been looking for a second location for The Hundreds in Los Angeles for a couple years now, but L.A. is a strange place. Our first store is in Hollywood, but beyond that the shopping districts around the city don’t make a lot of sense for The Hundreds. We were always hoping for a spot on the West side of the city, towards the ocean.
After 8 years of operation and countless amazing releases and collaborations, where do you see your brand in another decade to come?
Not sure, to be honest. Hopefully we are happy and leading fulfilling lives, that’s all that matters.
Lets talk about working with Ben for a moment… what are your roles individually in the company, the dynamics and how it has helped the business grow?
Ben handles the business side and I work the creative. I think a lot of partnerships are set up this way but what’s unique about us is that our responsibilities oftentimes blur together, and it becomes our strength. Although Ben is managing the business’ infrastructure, he is more knowledgable and talented with design and branding then any businessman I know. On the flipside, I handle all the design work and brand managing, but I’d like to think I have a sharp-enough business mind as well. This synergy is what got us here today.
I also like to say “Ben writes checks. I write blogs.”
While we’re on the topic of growth, what are your plans for future expansions, collaborations and releases?
Lots of projects forthcoming, but none of which I’m at liberty to talk about. This week we have a collaboration with Lil’ B, and upcoming is a really genuine project with Katin, a legendary surf boardshorts label from Southern California.
Speaking of expansion, one of the projects that caught our attention was the magazine. Why start a magazine? What was the idea behind it? What motivated you to delve into print media?
My background is in print magazines, I used to be the fashion editor for a magazine, and worked my way through college and afterwards by freelancing. So I have a deep appreciation and love for the medium. It was very important for us to piece together a print magazine, from the inception of the brand. Print is timeless, and we wanted to start chronicling our history in bound pages. Print isn’t dead, it just needs to be looked at differently, like how we’re doing. Going through alternative distribution channels like skate shops instead of newsstands, etc.
In every business, there is always a humbling moment where you look back and think.. “Damnn, I can’t believe we released that…” or “Damn… I can’t believe that happened”… when was that humbling moment for you?
That epiphany usually comes about when I look around and see how many people Ben and I employ. I mean, 50 or so people count on us to pay their bills and feed their kids… it’s a little overwhelming, but to whom much is given, much is required. And we have a responsibility to take care of our friends.
If there is one advise you could give young entrepreneurs who want to venture into street wear/retail, what would you tell them?
Work hard. Do it because you think it’s fun, with no consideration of reward. Work hard. Work hard.
Everyone has a life motto, what is yours?
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. And a successful life isn’t always determined by what you do, oftentimes it’s defined by what you don’t do.
On a lighter topic… If you were a 70’s porn star, what would you alias be?
Bobby Hundreds. (I AM a ‘70s porn star)
What is your favourite cartoon series while growing up and why?
Garfield. It’s how I learned to draw cartoons, and my dark humor is derived from Jim Davis as well.
What are you currently pumping on your stereo?
At this very moment? GAYNGS.
Last but not least…. What inspires you?
Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to be with us today Bobby and sharing your thoughts with everyone. We at Fat Kids wish yourself, Ben and the crew at The Hundreds much success in the many years to come. We’re definitely lookin’ forward to what you guys have up your sleeve. Keep pushin’ forward!
Ya’ll can catch Bobby in person at Carbon Festival thats runs from April 29th till 1st of May.
words by Benny Teh.