Welcome a new semi-regular series where we help you get to know the people of Perth making moves. The type of people who make us #PerthProud, getting it done in our isolated little corner of the world across a variety of different worlds and industries.
First up we had a chat with Dan Bradshaw, owner of Perth-based streetwear label and clothing shop, StreetX. From humble beginnings and a small online store back in 2011, Bradshaw has since gone on to make StreetX a fashion powerhouse, both here and overseas. At a time when the retail sector is struggling against the surge of online shopping, Bradshaw has bucked the trend, and just recently moved location to his new flagship store on William Street in Northbridge.
We hit him up to find out what it takes to smash through Perth’s perceived “glass ceiling”, and pushing back against the notion that we’re too small to make an impact, be it on a local, national or global scale.
First up, congratulations on the new store, you’ve come a long way from a little online store back in 2011, has it been a nice chance to reflect? What have been some of the standout moments over the past 8 years?
As with most things you’re proud of and love, it’s always cool on the odd occasion to look back and reflect. However, I’m certainly more of an advocate for looking forward to the future and focusing on the next thing. It’s easy to get left behind if you’re looking back! With that mentality, we just try to increase and almost “one up” every previous year or project. Right now, the new store would probably be the main standout moment as it’s pretty much the first thing that’s really been everything we imagined – it’s the first time we’ve had a nice budget, time and the ability to actually execute something perfect.
Besides that, I’d probably say our first pop up in Tokyo with XLARGE, our pop-up in Los Angeles with RUSTY (and a selection of LA brands) and our pop-up in Beijing with a store called DPG, were all pretty stand out moments. I’m all for experience, so being able to travel the world to these amazing places with friends is probably the best thing to reflect back on. I’ve seen places in the world I’d never have expected to see, in a way not many people will ever be able to see them.
Whilst you’re reflecting, always remember there’s someone else doing it bigger and better – so stop wasting your time admiring your own work.
The retail gig is a tough one, and when it feels like physical stores are closing down all the time – you’re upgrading. What are some of the key things you’ve employed over the years to make StreetX the powerhouse that it is?
Time supersedes everything. Time and patience can’t be bought and can’t be changed. Nothing is ever going to happen overnight and happen without reason. You see it all the time, brands or stores that open and they’re gone in 1-3 years. In terms of Perth you see it day to day: People jumping onto the next trend, running it for two years and then vanishing. It’s a standard mentality for many – they see the success of others and want to replicate it for themselves.
Unfortunately, as many find out, perception isn’t everything. You see the social media photo of someone partying and living it up on a work trip – but you haven’t seen the last 7 years working 7 days a week, living on a budget, sacrificing everything to get there. Secondly, generic retail is apparently dead and has been for a while. Focusing on yourself and your business was always our aim. We always tried more so to create something that represented us whilst doing it in a way that portrayed our individuality.
From the way our stores are designed and showcased to the design and social media we run, everything is an extension of those involved. The store and everything associated to us and the brand, was and is always going to be people-based. Regardless of the store we are in, the event we are running, things are still the same. Staff will still go out of their way to greet and help you and make you feel welcome (shout out to the best store staff in the game – Adib, Nick and Fraser!).
That’s always been a part of the business as that’s an authentic extension of myself and those around me. I don’t care who you are, if you come into our store you’ll be treated the same as our best customer. All the staff we have at the store are the same, they’re all guys who’ve been with us for years. Besides being great workers, they’re great people – this is why they’ve stayed and why the store keeps going.
You’re notoriously proud of Perth, and obviously a pretty great example of what can be achieved here, what (if any) were or are some of the pressures you’ve faced in the running a clothing label and store in Perth? And conversely, what about Perth can you use to your advantage?
Of course, why not promote where you are from! In this industry and so many others, everyone looks elsewhere. If you love everywhere else so much, go travel there, go experience it, and BRING IT BACK TO YOUR CITY. Of course for clothing and all the stuff that’s associated with our business, it’s quite clear that Perth isn’t the epicentre or the origin point. With that being said, that means one clear thing: There’s the opportunity to change it. It’s the perfect answer to every question with a negative connotation towards Perth…
“Theres no brands based here.“ – Make one then.
“There’s not enough people here.“ – Maybe you’re not doing enough.
“There’s no budgets for activations in Perth.” – Invest in yourself and make your own budgets! It’s nice, but you don’t always need outside money.
These are just an example of the things we hear all the time. Again, it’s not as easy as a one sentence answer. However, the fact there is a response means you have hope. Everything takes time, you can answer all those questions and more if you give yourself time.
For me, the pressure is endless here, we are an isolated city with a heavily dispersed population that’s reliant on economic conditions outside of our control. I can’t control what happens, so we focus on what we know and keep things going. There’s no point blaming someone else/another place for your own shortcomings. Be responsible for what you do and you can accept that at least you can control your own pressures and not let them affect others around you.
We love the glass ceiling in the new store, do you feel like sometimes people in Perth fall back on us being “isolated” as a bit of an excuse to not just get out there and get shit done?
Most definitely. It’s an age old excuse for Perth and its people. If you’re so concerned with yourself and not getting things done/being isolated – change it. No one’s stopping you. You have a job and you complain there’s no opportunity? You have a wage – buy a one way ticket somewhere where life is really tough. Tell me, tell anyone you don’t have opportunity once you’ve experienced the world and see how the real world is.
People love consistency in life, they don’t want change. It’s easy to sit at home and complain rather than go through adversity and make changes. Changes take time and your average person doesn’t want to wait 1, 2, or even 3 years for their life to change. Now, with the internet people can see things and want it now. For us, with the store we wanted to of course make something for Perth that was worlds away from what we see here. As I mentioned above, go away and see things, and bring them home.
Design-wise the glass ceiling was a design I saw inspiration for in Japan, that was originally championed by an artist in Italy. You take things you see, and you reinterpret them in your own way with the help of those around you. Those experiences changed my perception and helped me grow as a person. Outside of the design, the concept was the roof was ideally to be reflective of Perth as a city and again our experiences here. For so long people have said you can only go so far and there’s a ceiling upon your success. Everything we do aims to tell a story, and, the roof for example, tells our personal story of defying the general consensus of others on our city.
Furthermore, the changing lighting system seen within the roof acts to symbolise hope and constant change. You can see ever-changing possibilities through the stigma you are destroying.
Collaboration is a big part of what StreetX is about, who are some Perth creatives you feel deserve a shout-out, whether you’ve worked with them or just generally killing it?
Perth as a whole is slowly coming up as a creative hub. Of course, we’ve worked with a bunch of the people I’ll mention below, but they’re people who aim to make a difference to our home in a variety of industries. Some may be creatives and some are just damn good at their jobs and/or providing a service! For sure, a special mention has to go to one of my best mates and the most amazing people I’ve seen with tools – Andy Watson (@blu.builders, pictured with Dan below left). We’ve built two stores together now but this last one is a work of art. Andy worked 16+ hour days to get everything done and is as talented and professional as they come.
Here’s a list of my friends who are creatives/businesses you need to visit!
- Chu Bakery – The best bakery I’ve ever been to.
- HoodBurger – Perth’s best burger.
- Peddle Perth – Unique new method of transport in the inner city.
- Re-Store Northbridge – A staple that’s been around for ages.
- Little Willys – The best breakfast burrito in Perth!
- Thomas Sweetman / Valeria La Pegna – Two amazingly talented designers.
- Toastface Grillah – Simple yet effective.
- Shadow – Perth’s up next rapper!
- Hidden – Solid boutique festival and touring agency.
- Rory Ferrante – Great little 3D designer and all round creative on the computer.
Is there anything Perth could be doing better to support the creative scene?
Go to your friends’ events, support things you like ore have an interest in and be a part of things. Otherwise, you’ll just become one of the complainers sitting at home. And vice versa, if you have an event invite everyone with open arms and be a good person! There’s always room for improvement – you could always be doing something better.
Where do you see StreetX headed in the next 8 years and beyond?
Constant growth and change. I want anything and everything I can achieve. I’m not content with much and always strive for more. It’s always great reaching a new milestone or smashing a goal; once it’s done it’s forgotten and onto the next one! With that being said, hopefully the brand will be as strong as ever and seen and in touch across multiple countries. For now, the next stage of our business is re-focusing on our international distribution and expanding that side of the business as well as reforming our online platform. The first stage was changing the shop and now its onto the next stages of growth.
And finally, if you could go back in time and have a quick word to the guy in the photo above, what’s some advice you’d sling his way?
Have a word to yourself about the hair cut mate, haha.
In all seriousness, the next 6 years of your life are going to be as hard, amazing and crazy as you can have ever imagined. Ask yourself now:
Do you want to sacrifice everything to make your dreams work? If not, quit now.
Do you want to do it hard and put all your money and effort into one singular aspect of your life? If not, quit now.
Do you want to have to forgo all the jobs, money and extra curricular friends may have now to succeed down the track? If not, quit now.
Do you want to work 24/7 for the foreseeable future and struggle to switch off and sleep? If not, quit now.
The list goes on, but at the end of the day you have to ask yourself if you are ready to do everything possible to make your wishes come true. If not, try something else and wait until you know exactly what you want before you dive into your own business.