The Tar Pit Club has emerged from the ashes of the Siberian Traps–form which they draw inspiration–and will be seeing the light of day at Gallery Hop this weekend.
What the hell is The Tar Pit Club, a roadside crew?
Nope. The Tar Pit Club is a startup apparel company run by a local guy–Travis Case.
“The brand started as a result of my need for a creative outlet combined with a desire to give back,” said Case, alumnus of the Electrical & Computer Engineering bachelor’s program at Ohio State University.
Vol. 1 of the collection has been in queue for about a year and a half. Five percent of all purchases goes to “people who need it more than they do.”
As far as Vol. 2, Case has some ideas.
“I really want to do a nice pair of house slippers…you have no idea how hard it is to find a manufacturer for quality house slippers.”
He wants to pimp out local artists, skateboarders, and e-sport teams in Tar Pit attire for sponsorship.
“I’ve been involved with the fighting game community for a long time and am in charge of a local group called Columbus Fighting Games — people meet up weekly at the campus Donatos to play all sorts of fighting-based video games,” explained Case.
Instead of putting out a call for models to market his close, he kept it close to home.
“The senior model on our Instagram is my 87-year-old grandfather…though I’m not sure he even remembers doing that photoshoot at this point,” he said.
His former professor Hooshang Hemami also got his 15 minutes of social media fame.
Here’s a look at the gentlemen repping Vol. 1 of the Tar Pit brand (grandfather with cigar, Hemami with skateboard):
Buy Local: Unique finds at One Six Five Jewelry
In Clintonville, there’s a tiny pink shop that boasts a minimal lashed-eye logo and quirky adornments for everyday wear. The shop is One Six Five, owned by Kaleigh Shrigley and Claire Lowe, a budding pair who bonded after working at a boutique in the Short North during their time in college. Blending their studies of jewelry and textiles, One Six Five was named after the home address of Kaleigh’s mother, not straying too far from her childhood origins.
Adding exclusivity to each piece, a one-of-a-kind emphasis on crafts that are rare to find, Shrigley and Lowe still have the ability to adjust jewelry for their uniquely-luxe clientele. On their Instagram for fans of “offbeat classics” (or anyone who happens to stumble on their page), viewers can scroll through intricately clever posts, from the duo’s spur-of-the-moment travels, to promotional spots featuring their newest, charming statement pieces.
With a keen eye for shape, Shrigley and Lowe experiment with innovative jewelry that keeps their followers returning to refine their own personal collections. Now in their fifth year of creating tiny wonders, Shrigley and Lowe speak with (614) about their humble beginnings and how being a Columbus-based business has taken One Six Five far and wide.
(614): Is this your primary gig, side gig or hobby? How did it come to be?
CL:One Six Five is our primary hustle. When we started the business in 2014, we worked out of Kaleigh’s attic and we both had other part-time jobs. Over the past five years, we have opened a shop-slash-studio and work here full time.
What was the leap in your work from “this thing I do” versus “the thing to do”? How do you promote your work?
CL:Opening the shop on High Street definitely took us to the next level. Having a physical presence in Columbus allows the exposure of our jewelry to a wider audience. The outside of our shop is painted pink, which often brings people through the door wondering about our business. Instagram is also huge for us in promoting our jewelry to people around the world. The majority of our online sales come from Instagram. Participating in markets in Ohio and elsewhere helps expose our work to more people. We love being able to meet our customers in person. There are a lot of jewelry makers out there, so we really appreciate when someone loves our work!
What ingredients come together to make Columbus fertile ground for makers, designers, and creatives?
Columbus loves to support local. The creative community is also very supportive of each other. One of our favorite events is the Columbus Flea, which gives makers the chance to sell their products to a huge amount of shoppers. We love having the opportunity to sell our jewelry there, as well as being able to see the work of other designers. For now, Columbus also has reasonably priced retail spaces, which is not always the case in other cities.
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
What’s your six word creative story?
KS:Offbeat classic jewelry handmade in Columbus.
Your products exude a zaniness that crafters often shy away from. Do you have a certain audience that you want to appeal to?
KS: We always create jewelry that we personally would love to wear. I think the line is an extension of our personal styles. We love using jewelry as a form of creative expression and seem to have found a customer base of many like-minded gals. Our brand also offers plenty of more understated styles. We strive to create a complete jewelry collection filled with hard-working pieces that can be worn wherever life takes you.
How do you feel that the city’s atmosphere has transformed your work?
KS: The entrepreneurial spirit in Columbus definitely inspires us to take risks. We have had the opportunity to collaborate with several other makers and it’s always so much fun! •
Find your next treasure at onesixfivejewelry.com.
The heart and sole of C-Bus sneaker scene
“Me and my Adidas do the illest things.”
Run-DMC’s “My Adidas,” an homage to their love for the sneaker brand, created an urban fashion craze in the mid-eighties and set the stage for the sneaker explosion. Each member of the hip-hop pioneers wore a three-striped Adidas tracksuit with gold “dookie rope” chains dangling from their necks and black fedoras on their heads. But what tipped the fashion scales were the unlaced white Adidas shell toe Superstars that would “Walk through concert doors […] and roam all over coliseum floors.”
It was no coincidence that the same year “My Adidas” was released, Dionte Johnson was born in Columbus, Ohio. He is the owner/operator of the only niche retail sneaker boutique in Columbus: Sole Classics. And he is at the forefront of the hot sneaker scene in Columbus.
“I walk down the street, and bop to the beat.”
Hipsters, students, and hip hop heads bob to the beat down High Street and walk into Sole Classics to check out the latest. Located in the Short North, Sole Classics has the Run-DMC-style Adidas track suits, Vans, Nikes, Adidas, hoodies, G-Shocks and other “fly wear.” Artistically curated, every inch of the two-room fashion gallery is meticulously crafted to reflect the Short North arts scene. (The newly-opened second store in Dublin pays tribute to the area’s Irish attitude with a pub vibe.) “We want the stores to embody the neighborhood we are in—Short North more urban, Dublin more Irish,” Johnson says.
“I like to sport ‘em that’s why I bought ‘em.”
Johnson bought Sole Classics (originally opened in 2006) from the previous owners ten years ago and has been in its current location since 2014. As a former Ohio State fullback, Dionte had a cup of coffee in the NFL, but when that plan fell through, he put his Business Marketing degree to work. “I was looking for the next challenge […] and heard about Sole Classics being available,” Johnson says, wearing his signature black hoodie and jeans. “Growing up in Columbus and going to high school [in the nineties] I worked in retail at Big Daddy’s, the first to carry urban street fashion stuff—and I was hooked.”
“And now I just standin’ here shooting the gift.”
What Big Daddy’s (now closed) taught Johnson was the importance of community—about creating a space where people come for the experience, to hang out, shoot the shit and share their love for sneakers. It’s the barber shop minus all the hair on the ground. “You can go buy your shoes from anywhere, but with a store like ours, you get to sit down, spend two hours talking and maybe buy something, or maybe not,” Johnson says as he sits behind the self-designed wood cash wrap desk that is the centerpiece of his Dublin store. “The person who comes in and knows exactly what they want gets treated the same as the person who stops by to say, ‘What’s up?’ ”
BROUGHT TO YOU BY
“Now the Adidas I possess for one man is rare. Myself homeboy got fifty pair.”
The Columbus sneaker scene has grown exponentially, with more options than ever. Sole Classics is a retail shop that is linked to the sneaker companies. But up High Street, less than a mile away is Premium Kicks, a consignment sneaker store. “There is plenty of room [in Columbus] for sneaker shops to coexist, “ Johnson says. “Yes, we’re in competition, but theirs is always a place for a consignment shop to do their thing. We are a little more beholden to the sneaker companies, whereas they have a little more freedom.”
What is also helping the sneaker scene thrive is the innovative chances sneaker companies are taking (see the re-release of the Air Jordan 4 and the new Nike line of kicks called Have a Nike Day), combined with online media. When new kicks get released it’s a feeding frenzy. “Once upon a time you had to go into a store to hear about the release date; to find out what was dropping that weekend, “Johnson says. “Now, with the internet, it doesn’t matter whether you’re in rural Ohio or in New York City, you’re going to know about the product at the same time. It has expanded the sneaker community exponentially. Tons of people now know about a sneaker they would normally not.”
Does he see the internet ruining the brick-and-mortar, mom and pop shops, more than it already has? “Retail will settle back down,” he says. “Convenience is what people are into—paper towels delivered to your front door—but nothing can replace human contact. Life is about what you’re experiencing, and it’s not usually sitting behind a computer.”
“We took the beat from the street and put it on TV.”
When I ask Dionte who his biggest influences were when he first started out in the sneaker/fashion world, he cites his favorite nineties’ shows and actors: Martin, Will Smith, and even Seinfeld (with those dope white running shoes and jeans—not!). “I was heavily influenced by what I saw on TV because they were setting the trend. It was how I saw what other people were experimenting with.”
“My Adidas only bring good news.”
Run-DMC is from Hollis, Queens, and Dionte from Columbus. Big difference. But nobody can deny they both have a love for the squeaks of their sneaks. Their collective “sole” has brought communities together and left an indelible footprint.•
Sole Classics is located in the Short North at 846 N High St. and in Dublin at 6391 Sawmill Rd. Visit soleclassics.com for all the latest sneaker looks.
Homage knows us all too well
Columbus is a proud city and with football season nearly upon us, we are presented a perfect opportunity to adorn ourselves in the things we love most. A few things that come to mind besides scarlet and gray are…
- Tommy’s Pizza
- Adriatico’s Pizza
- Varsity Club
- Mama’s Pasta & Brew
Lucky for us, Homage, Columbus’ favorite and softest clothing brand, knows us all too well.
Mark, the Marketing Manager from Homage, gave us some insight on this specific Cbus line:
“The inspiration for each Columbus-centric shirt that we do feels different because each one has its own story. I’d say the common thread (pun intended!) that runs through all of our city pride apparel is that the story behind each tee is meaningful to the people in Columbus.
Whether the stories are about sacred Columbus institutions like Script Ohio or the Newport, or upstart franchises like the CBJ or Land Grant, our goal is the same: connect people to these stories in a way that inspires people while giving folks a sense of pride about the community they call home.
The storytelling aspect of our brand is a simultaneously simple yet nuanced approach to apparel that keeps our team energized and really grounds our brand in the minds of our customer.”
Had a chance to check them out yet? Use code 614 for 25% off online at Homage.com and in Homage retail locations.
** 25% off offer applies items on HOMAGE.com with code “614” and at HOMAGE retail locations. Must present coupon at time of purchase to receive offer. Offer valid Friday, September 8 , 2017 through Sunday, October 1, 2017. Not valid with any other offers, discounts, or promotions.**