Unbranded

Today, after very little preparation, Bryan DeLuca and I are announcing an experimental pop-up and event-space concept, Unbranded.

After the success of Need's pop-up at New York Fashion Week in early September, I became infatuated with the idea of hosting one for Need during the holiday months. I began exploring real estate options, whilst also considering what we could sell, the experience we could offer, and so forth.

I quickly realized that offering fantastic coffee and pop-up co-working from the space (i.e., some items from my nice-to-have list) would be rather difficult to afford as one company for two months. Those expenses would quickly outweigh the potential gain from sales.

So, I began thinking about who else I could involve. Bryan DeLuca and his fantastic company, Foot Cardigan, immediately came to mind. We'd been looking to work together for quite some time, but the opportunity had yet to present itself.

When we sat down, though, the idea quickly evolved from a sales-centric model into a means to evangelize and promote all the fantastic creative work that's currently happening in Dallas.

We've witnessed co-working, startups, and creativity begin to truly kick-off, but the support infrastructure for people to actually work with consumers has been missing.

You can work from a number of beautiful co-working spaces with remarkable people on the back-end of your business, but where can you experiment with the front-end? Where can you sell your physical goods to actual customers — particularly at a constrained scale — during the holidays? How can you host a professional event to drum up exposure?

We couldn't find an answer. So, we hatched the idea for Unbranded.

Launching on November 1 (or thereabouts), Unbranded is going to be a community-inspired pop-up retail and event-space that we'll be providing freely to people with great concepts from all manner of fields. Any money they earn is their own, the space will be free for the entirety of their stay, and we'll promote them in the press and other events.

We'll have coffee, magazines, artwork, music, co-working, and more within the space, whilst also hosting fantastic events for some of Dallas' best and brightest talent.

Applications are now open and we'd love to hear from you.

We'll announce the participants over the coming weeks. And we'll also be announcing our sponsors and partners.

If you'd like to get involved and help support the concept, send us a note. We'd welcome the help.

Unbranded is little more than an experiment. It's one, however, that we hope to see blossom in November and December. And, if it does, we may try it elsewhere in the US.

For now, though, keep an eye on weareunbranded.com and we'll see you in Dallas in November.

Geekdom

John Siracusa, writing on his personal blog:

Geekdom is not a club; it’s a destination, open to anyone who wants to put in the time and effort to travel there.

In recent memory, few articles have invoked such an immediate and visceral emotional response as "The Road to Geekdom."

Focusing on John's youthful fascination with remote control cars, it's difficult not to feel the heart-warming resonance. For as long as I remember, I've always fallen down similar slopes — particularly those which are otherwise deemed odd, immature, or outcast by broader society.

As a young man, I was deathly afraid of admitting that side of my personality to my friends and family. I was self-conscious regarding my care for — and admiration of — things I perceived as existing outside the bounds of normality for someone my age.

These days, I'm much more open about these interests. Most people know, for instance, that I'm a regular reader of comic books.

The persistent trouble for me, though, is the fact that geekdom is, as John puts it, a destination.

For me, geekdom is me and I am geekdom. It's less of a place to eventually reach and more of a persistent, intangible reality. And, as such, it's something I still struggle to tout as part of my person. It's a characteristic that resides far below the surface and, without explicit acknowledgement, is not readily apparent for those around me.

In other words, I'm adept at camouflaging, hiding, and masking my so-called geekdom. And, most troublesome, I have yet to discern precisely how to tackle that intense sense self-consciousness.

Sadly, I have no resolution for such issues. I doubt you have any either.

The best thing I've found, though, is that people — like John — exist and inhabit the same realm of fears, anxieties, and concerns as me. That, although I haven't quite worked out how to articulate and share the extent of my geek-side, there are others who are tackling such issues publicly, triumphantly, and admirably.

And that's a wonderful, encouraging thing, at the very least.