Good evening people.
Ben here again! 3 blogs on the bounce for me…
Hope Monday has set you all up great for the week, Spring is coming!
Anyways, as this goes LIVE I’m guessing I will be on my podcast call with Karl and Leslie from Rogue Territory, so much happening these days! Us independents don’t get a minutes rest whilst trying to carve ourselves a little opening in the world and tonight’s ‘…Brand…’ @ckxstudio and it’s founder/owner Harmony Hendrickx is no exception.
CKX is a one lady brand that’s based in the heart of Amsterdam and is fiercely driven by a passion for all things blue, vintage, sustainable and handmade.
I mixed the feature up a little this evening so instead of blasting the same 10 questions out there, like we would normally do, I took the same approach as the podcast. We have a loose structure but, basically, start with 1 question and work from there! Let me know what you think to the format for the 10@10 people, be good to know your thoughts?!
Anyways it’s time I passed you over to the super talented Miss Harmony Hendrickx so you can learn some things new about all things blue!
MEET THE BRAND BEHIND THE MENSWEAR
NAME: Harmony Hendrickx
BRAND NAME: CKX Studio
ROLE WITHIN THE COMPANY: Store owner and maker
1. Normal day at work?
6 days a week you can find me in my shop just 2 min from Dam Square in Amsterdam. 2 months ago I changed my studio into a concept store.
As a photographer I was already working with cyanotype. Also known as blueprint, an old photographic technique that produces a cyan blue print.
Having a passion for denim as well, the idea emerged to open up a store where everything is blue. With a focus on craftsmanship, natural materials and sustainability. Qualtity, unique products with a story. Vintage, upcycled or organic.
Starting off with denim, authentic Delft Blue and cyanotype artwork, I’m now working on a wider product range, including indigo handcraft, sashiko, custom embroidery & repairs.
I’m usually at my store from morning till late at night, as this is my passion and what I love to do. So I don’t see it as a job to be at my store the entire day. I will be busy making prints, sewing, drawing, or just brainstorming about more new ideas.
Being in the Red Light District also means there’s traffic all throughout the day and night.
I have a coffee to go corner for people passing by (using a sustainable roast), and I even serve a speciality blue latte.
2. Cool, plenty going on Harmony. Sounds Great. I picked out a sentence you mentioned, “…prints, sewing, drawing, or just brainstorming about more new ideas.”
That’s a lot of tasks to handle, tell us how you prioritise what needs doing first and what can wait till later in the day?
Usually I just pick 1 or two things I like to do that day, and focus on that. Or for instance when I have solutions mixed for making blueprints, it might be a priority to finish that first, as it goes bad otherwise. Also I like to switch between things. 1 day I would do some embroidery, and the next day I will do something completely different, just to take my mind of this for a little while, and then pick up on it again with a fresh pair of eyes.
Also, blueprints or working with indigo I usually like to in the evenings or at night (Yeah, I sometimes spend the night if I wanna finish something..), and sewing & embroidery are things that are more easy to do during opening hours.
3a. Ok, so you’re obviously talented. Lets look at it from another point of view Harmony. What’s YOUR favourite item you sell? If you could only sell ONE item in store what would it be?
Wow, thats a tough one.. Then I’d have to go with the custom jackets, as the possibilities are endless on those. Printing, painting, embroidery, patching, or several techniques combined.
I would also love to make my own worker jackets in the future.
3b. Sounds great Harmony. What items in store do you sell the most of? What are your customers drawn to when they enter CKX Studio?
“Wow, I want everything” is a sentence I hear a lot haha. I always keep a lookout for rare vintage finds, and people come back for those.
But, also, vintage levis jackets always do good, especially when they’re customized. And the cyanotypes as well, as a special and authentic souvenir or gift. I get a lot of custom orders for those too.
There’s not really 1 bestseller. People like the overall feel and idea of the shop, with only blue stuff around them and a 60s kind of vibe in interior and music
Oh, and something everyone wants to buy, but whats not for sale, is my taxidermy racoon Coco. He’s always on the lookout in the window.
4. What’s your background? How have you obtained so many valuable skills that help you run CKX today?
I studied fine arts. I’ve been creative ever since a little kid (my mom’s an artist too), and got into photography from the age of 13, when I got my dad’s old analog camera. So at art school I learned to work with a lot of different mediums, but also because of personal interest. I really like learning new skills.
On the business side, I’ve also studied cultural management for two years at university (business studies for the cultural sector), and I’ve been working in retail for a long time, which helps me in running my own store now.
5. So you’re very self disciplined when it comes to work and learning new things. What do you hope to achieve in the long run, what’s the end goal?
I just hope to be able to keep doing what I am now, which is making unique and quality items, and just keep growing in that. Maybe on a somewhat larger scale. And as I mentioned before, produce some CKX garments as well. Im also really open to do collabs with brands that carry out the same things as I do with CKX Studio.
On a personal note, a trip to Japan is certainly on the list for this year. And experience the Japanese indigo shibori art firsthand.
6. You have mentioned the CKX Garments a couple of times, how do you plan to start the CKX adventure? What will be the first step?
Well the first step towards making garments is not gonna be anytime soon.
I have a bunch of other ideas that are in the pipeline now. I’m gonna continue with the custom jackets for now, producing bigger cyanotypes on fabric, and smaller ones on paper made out of recycled denim(!!).
Also there’s gonna be a selection of home accessories dyed with natural indigo.
Workshops on both cyanotype and indigo are gonna start from march/april too! So lots of stuff to be excited about and work on for now.
So for the garments, worker jackets or collabs, maybe later this year? I’m open to suggestions here, so anyone interested in pitching ideas together can shoot me a message 🙂
7. Are these something you will coach yourself? How will it work?
Yeah the workshops will be hosted by myself. Im planning on doing those at the shop, in small groups from about 4-6 people. But I’ve already got requests to do some on location too. I think there’s a lot of interest in crafts at the moment, and making and mending yourself.
8. A little more about YOU now Harmony! What do you like to do for fun? (Outside of your business)
What do you do in your spare time/chill out?
So, 1 day a week I work at a photography museum, which is something I really like to do as well. But outside of work, I like to go see other museums, a good band from time to time and I have an arthouse cinema card, which I try to use at least once a week. I also like to go out for dinner with friends. You could visit a new place in Amsterdam every day.
9a. You have mentioned working with lots of denim and indigo. What is your opinion on raw/selvedge denim? Do you have any in store or do you ever work with it? Amsterdam is such a big place for raw denim!
Personally I love raw denim, and being able to create that unique look, that gets better over the years. And buying quality over quantity.
I just finished some raw selvedge bow ties for the store, which I’m really in love with.
I still have a roll of White Oak selvedge lying at the studio too, which has to be made into a product.
And you’re right, Amsterdam is really big on denim. Also one of my personal favourites, Kings of Indigo, are stationed here.
9b. So just before we wrap and move into the last question, is there anything you would like to say that you don’t think we touched on yet?
I might want to add that the website is now live over on http://www.ckxstudio.com where people can email me for custom work like: cyanotype wedding invitations, wall hangings in indigo or cyanotype, photo prints and everything else mentioned above already! 🙂 Guys you can get me here – firstname.lastname@example.org
10. And Lucky Last, You’re going to be stranded on a desert island and you can take 1 outfit (4 items) only with you. And 1 choice of drink.
– I’d go for my K.O.I. Lourdes pants. They have a relaxed fit, made of a mix of organic cotton and linen, so they’re super comfortable! And the weave is just amazingly beautiful too. Hands down my favourite pair of pants.
– I’d definitely take my Tenue de Nimes x Dick Moby sunglasses as well (made out of 100% recycled plastic!). I already lost a pair somewhere in the desert in Peru.
But Dick Moby hooked me up with the last pair of this Limited Edition sunnies that they found in their stockroom.
– Of course my Redwings, for obvious reasons.
– Guess I need some upperwear too, so I’m just gonna go with a white tee or shirt. I like simple, so whenever I don’t know what to wear, denim & white shirt is my go-to combo.
– I’m a fan of ginger beer. I usually drink the Bundaberg one, but since I’m going for an almost all Amsterdam look here, I guess I’ll go for the orange-ginger soda by Neko Jusu. Locally crafted by two girls from Amsterdam, inspired by Japanese kitchen culture, and their love for cats. 🙂
Super! Another perfect example of why supporting independents is so important. Blue coffee?! That’s gotta be a first no? Harmony, thank you very much for taking the time to share your story with the clobber fam! I’ll be over in Amsterdam for ‘Denim Days’ and will make sure I call by CKX for a chinwag and to get some further knowledge on your talents!
Well…that’s Monday I suppose! Roll on Tuesday now hey?! The RGT podcast should be up for your listening pleasure also shortly and as always the 10@10 is back on Thursday! So much happening, I need a better way of communicating it these days! (Thinking cap on)
Anyways, I’m off so stay Raw people!