A big (really big) announcement: (read carefully)
It has been talked about many times, and we’ve even done it a few times before - but we’re looking at a long TOJ hiatus and the true end of MTM now. The reason being simple - I (Drew) have wanted to have a restaurant for more than a decade (you may have even gleaned that from the taco truck thing that preceded TOJ itself) - and that chance is finally becoming a reality, and very quickly.
We have worked nonstop on the clothing for over 4 years now, taking only local holidays, as manufacture and supply shut down. Last year, we took a break from taking orders because the order log was quite long; this year we have about the same volume, but double the capacity. We are working on extant orders at a pace where the pieces are still made carefully, one by one. To not do so, would not be TOJ. It takes some time, but the alternatives result in a lesser product, IMO.
Likewise, as the restaurant idea comes to fruition and takes more of my time, I will want to spend less time thinking about clothes. Dan and Sally will still be on standby to produce every order received, but I would like to step out and take a mental break, and work on my restaurant project. It’s not fair to anyone on any side of the counter if I try to divide myself too thinly, and what I do, I try to squeeze every last drop of quality out of. I think that four years of making clothing has shown that I do things without compromise to a set standard.
In terms of the restaurant I want to do, it will begin in Seoul. A very small shop. Those who have enjoyed the thread for the past four years can probably recall me comparing many facets of the TOJ business happenings to the restaurant business - and I still feel the same way. There are many chances for me to transfer my own principles that have manifested in TOJ directly over to the new store. I plan to be resourceful and offer high quality food and drink at a fair price, do the right steps even if it means more work on our part, avoid the unnecessary expenditures, use social media as a means to free exposure, and all in all, I am still out to make something that makes people happy. If I can be successful in this venture, it could possibly turn into something much bigger and located in more places - but just as the clothing started very small with only a small exploratory outlook, I will take the same approach with the store and be happy if people find themselves enjoying it.
As for clothing - considering the time requirements of MTM (daily repetitive work) - I want to taper that off as soon as possible. It’s also the very foundation of TOJ, and so TOJ will essentially be put to sleep while it’s still healthy and dignified. I prefer to go out strong, and leave the door open on a chance to come back later if time/facility permits. It’s a far off possibility, and MTM would probably not be in the cards, but after some time is spent bringing the restaurant up to speed (I’m figuring on it taking a year or more) and I spend adequate time preparing more releases, TOJ may rebirth. That could be 2014… or 2015… or maybe never, but we’ll see. I would only do it if the inspiration and desire to make the clothes were there. Knowing myself, and what goes through my head at any given point of the day, there’s a split between thinking about making clothes and making food, so clothing may be possible in the future. As I get older I also have a desire to make women’s clothing under some of the same guiding principles, so that’s something that could entice me to come back to the drawing board.
There may be a few ways to still get TOJ products in the future - I have already agreed to make a capsule collaboration for someone launching a store featuring the best quality mens clothing and accessories from around the globe - that will be a small collection to be released in the fall, and will be pretty separate from anything we’ve made before - leather, lining, and zippers all upgraded for that special collection, and it’ll be pre-made, ready to ship. The same could reprise itself at other stores, as small capsule drops. Likewise, if the mood strikes me or public demand calls for it, there are some items that I’ve wanted to make but never gotten around to, that are better off factory made - so those are feasible temporary projects I could do and release later. TOJ jeans never happened, but could at a later date, and there are other things we should’ve made but didn’t get around to yet, and TOJ will be making cameo appearances in this way. That is getting ahead of myself though, talking mostly of things in the future. As for the present and beyond, leather jackets and coats will generally rest in peace.
The past four years have been great - I had the best job in the world. I have had other jobs in the past, but obviously this was the first one where I’d get emails from people telling me they were happy/inspired/satisfied with what I do. That was tremendous affirmation and I thank all of you, even those who stopped for a chat and didn’t buy anything. :P I got to meet many of you in person in your respective cities, and I’m always down to do so in the future. If you ever come to the TOJ restaurant in Seoul, wearing a TOJ - I’ll buy you a drink and a bite.
As before, we are doing a rundown to the official shutdown so that people can get a last call item if they want to - we can give it a month before we stop taking orders this time. All current items are available to order, except for the OCBD. Last year’s shutdown resulted in long lead times - but that was mainly due to the fact that everyone waited until the very last few days to get their order in, and so the stack of orders from one or two days turned into a solid two month’s of production queue. To avoid that, we advise you to order as soon as possible, if you are indeed going to put an order in. To be completely honest, the lead times will increase due to the cutoff, as always - right now we are shipping mostly March/April orders, with a few obscure models taking more time. For orders taken from right now, I suspect that the lead times will be about 3-4 months, up to 6 months in a worst case scenario. The orders taken earlier will be on the shorter end of that or quicker, whereas the graph flares sharply as people tend to put their orders in later, all at once. It’s a line, so showing up at 11:30am for lunch is a bit early but you get straight in, whereas showing up at 12:45 means you’re in line behind a bunch of other people. If you are averse to waiting for a final TOJ and plan to complain about the wait or chargeback on it, please do not order one, and let the queue advance naturally.
Previously I had planned on making/releasing some new items, and have quite a number of prototypes we worked on that will end up being unreleased - I will hold onto them and maybe save them for later, or I have an idea that if I need a final fundraising boost for my TOJ restaurant project, I could start a kickstarter and offer tangible TOJ item rewards at the same price they’d normally sell for here. For something like that, they’d be separate, new items, and not ones you have seen before, exclusively for that project.
I will keep the TOJ thread open and running as a posthumous log for the clothing, and maybe even update with some stories and inner workings of my clothes/restaurant life. Overall, I would normally say that it’s with regret that I have to shut TOJ clothing down in this way, but I don’t regret it all - this is just the metamorphosis and the natural flow - and TOJ clothing will live on forever.