THE PAGNOL STORY-Chapter 3, We have lift off!
As mentioned in previous chapters, Pagnol was first a "moto-inspired fashion brand", so after doing work for other moto brands, seeing a need for moto gear to match the up and coming cafe racer-new wave of moto builds, I decided to go for it and make MY vision of what a moto gear brand would look like.
Step one, make the samples. I previously represented a great leather jackets manufacturer from my hometown, Leon, Mexico. I knew they had done extensive work for Harley Davidson and that they could do the work. I made 4 different styles, but I also knew from the get-go that I wanted to avoid all the "fashion biz traps", such as spending a ton of money for samples-collections "to see what sticks", then reinventing this process season after season at least 2 times per year, so even 4 styles was too much to start! I really only needed ONE killer, seasonless, style in just two classic colors, black and tobacco brown. The M1 (Model 1) jacket was born, that's right, Pagnol came out with a bang with one style in two colors! Talk about quality not quantity in the philosphy of just putting out "A" product that we see a real need for.
Back in the fashion days while I was running a rock stars fashion brand boutique, I don't even remember how, but I met Shinya Kimura when he had Zero Engineering Motorcycles and he had a gorgeous book of a collection of his bikes, which I bought a few to sell at the store!
After we became friends, I visited his shop in Las Vegas, helped his booth for a choppers events in Laughlin NV, etc, so when the time came to do a presentation, many, many years after, I knew where I wanted to do my first photo shoot! At his fairly new shop Chabott Engineering in Azusa, CA, not a bad start :)
These poor quality photos (I was not a very good photographer back then, but hey, I had a good eye! :), served to create an "investors presentation website", oh and btw, the logo came from a tattoo I had for many years, not the other way around!
I looked and looked with "angel investors" but they all wanted the "next Facebook" tech etc. But on a cold, cold track day at Streets Of Willow, the smaller track of Willow Springs Raceway, I approached a guy with an insane looking all carbon and aluminum Panigale (He turned out to be the then owner of Arete Americana and USA distributor of Radical Ducati parts) to see if he wanted some livery designed for it, he said: No, I want to leave it as is, but do you design moto gear? Yeess, I said. Then he said: I been wanting to make a moto gear brand, but tasteful, for on and off the bike, I said: Really? I already have it! Then he asked: Are you looking for investors? Yup! And so we hit it off and continued to work on our mutual vision.
On another part of my personal life, my close friend/neighbor was working with a PR company that was working with Cycle World magazine. She connected me with Andy Liesner, who today is the VP of the Bonnier grp for motorcycles. He mentioned a cool blog named Bike Exif, for which he thought my jacket/brand would be a great fit, and was he right. He connected me with Chris Hunter, the editor, we also hit it off! We saved an advertising 125x125 spot with a Speed Machines Design ad, then in June 2014, with a feature on BE's "new and noted", Pagnol was launched! We had lift off and over 100 subscribers! I naively thought we had 100 "customers"! and told this to my father who sadly was literally in his death bed :(, he passed away 2 weeks later and did not get to see the starting success of Pagnol. He had a great 84 years of life, but this is the one thing I wish he had lived one more year! Oh well, life is life.
Next and final chapter, chapter 4, meeting and becoming friends with your heroes.