Valley Cruise Press + New Music
My other project, how I got started and some new jams.
Happy Summer! I hope you’re all enjoying some warm weather and cool vibes. I missed last month for the newsletter, but I’m making it up this month with two newsletters in July.
My single, Swimming in the Lotus Garden, was just released two weeks ago and today I’m psyched to be dropping a new remix of my song “Moon Flower Bloom” from Botanica Dream by my buddy Captain Planet. It’s streaming everywhere now and you can check it out below.
Thanks to everyone who’s been listening so far. Like I mentioned in my last newsletter, my new EP, Flower Shower will be out July 29th along with a special vinyl announcement which paid subscribers will get first dibs on today. If you’re still a free subscriber, keep your eyes peeled next month for all the info.
This month I thought it would be cool to take a deep dive into my other project, Valley Cruise Press, which I run with my wife, Kelley. I’ve had a lot of people ask me to talk more about it, so today I thought I’d take a deeper dive into how it got started and what we’re doing today.
What is Valley Cruise Press?
Valley Cruise Press is a nature inspired brand and online store. We sell apparel, home goods and really any other things we think would be cool to make. Our stuff is mostly available through our website, but you can also find us in Urban Outfitters stores and online. Most of our stuff is produced in the USA and we try to always use environmentally friendly packaging and materials. Kelley and I are the only owners and we have 2 other employees who help us out.
How did you get started?
I started the business in 2014 as a zine publisher out of my one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood. I was in touch with a few friends and I thought it would be a cool way to put our artwork out there without having to contact a publisher or a gallery. Our first release was titled TFAQ Vol. 1 which I put together with my friend and artist Ally Quandt.
Let me know in the comments if any of you go back far enough to have gotten one of these!
After that I started working with a few other artist friends I knew to put out their work and eventually some people started following us on Instagram. We didn’t have any money, but every time a zine would sell out we would split the profits with the artists and my half would go back into making the next one. In August 2014 I started talking with Gangster Doodles on doing a zine release with special edition Gucci Mane and J Dilla Donuts lapel pins and a Big Boi shirt design.
The collection was a huge hit, especially the lapel pins, and we decided to make a go of turning Valley Cruise into more of a brand / store. We kept releasing zines but also created new pin and apparel designs. We sold online and also at a lot of pop ups and book fairs which were really big in LA at the time. Our big break came in March 2015, the same day Kelley quit her job, when Mindy Kaling posted one of our pins on her instagram.
We got almost 5,000 orders that day which meant that we had to put 5,000 pins onto card backs by hand ourselves to get them out.
The Mindy Kaling post came during the good old days of pre-algorithim Instagram so everyone saw everyone’s posts and it was a huge break for us. We gained a lot of followers and a ton new customers which allowed us to expand. We reached out to Urban Outfitters, PacSun, Tilly’s, and Zumiez who started carrying some of our styles and we were able to grow a good wholesale business that way.
We kept releasing artist collaborations but started steering away from the zines and focused more on lapel pins, apparel and eventually stationery.
By 2018 the pin craze had died down and we were feeling a little lost with Valley Cruise. Our kids were born in 2017 and we had decided to move back to Cleveland from LA to be closer to family, which has ultimately been a great choice, but missed a lot of the inspiration that you get just being on the west coast. We knew that stationery wasn’t really for us, but we didn’t know what was.
Kelley and I have always loved interior design and we really wanted to try making something that we wanted in our own house. That’s how the idea for throw blankets was started. We launched our first blanket in October 2018, the Flower Power throw. We knew as we moved away from stationery we wanted to focus more on nature and that has continued to inspire our designs ever since.
What’s Happening Now
It’s hard to believe but Valley Cruise is almost 10 years old. We still sell apparel (especially hats) and throws, but also have expanded into lamps, glassware and bags. It’s definitely a lot going back and forth between Monster Rally, Valley Cruise and artwork projects, but it’s been a really great experience and I love to do it all. If you haven’t had a chance, check out Valley Cruise and follow us on IG for updates. We’ve got some new things coming out in the next few months that I’m really excited about.
Some pics of my favorite recent stuff from Valley Cruise.
About that Vinyl Announcement
Paid subscribers keep scrolling below for a preview of my new vinyl available for pre-order in two weeks along with your monthly playlist and artwork download.
If you’re not a paid subscriber, thanks for spending your time with me, you’ll be getting another newsletter at the end of this month with all the info about the vinyl release. See you next month in the Flowering Jungle!
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