So the “5D Reset” has started! We’ve announced changes to the store, to our 5&A Dime brand, to the brands we carry and to the brands we’re going to carry. We’ve got new 5&A Dime goods in the store, the craft soda and retro candy are here, some new brands have rolled in and we’re just getting started! There’s a lot of changes occurring, but we haven’t really explained the reason for them. Unless you’ve been in the store and have talked to Darcie, Jay or myself then the new shift may look a bit out of nowhere. We’ve given you some of the what, where, and how - but we’ve left out the who and why. This new series of posts will aim to do that. Starting with the post you’re reading and expanding to a couple of others we’re going to take the opportunity to explain what’s up over here at the shop. We want you guys to be as excited as we are about the progress we’re making.
With that being said, here’s the first of a series of posts we’re going to call our “Personnel Posts”. The title speaks for itself, but basically we’re going to highlight the people behind the scenes here at 5&A Dime. We’re going to introduce you to our current team one member at a time, and explore what part they’re playing in the 5D Reset. Again, this is all in hopes of showing you who we are as people and what we stand for as a brand. We hope you enjoy these write ups and enjoy getting to know the people bringing you the product your proud to support. Here goes!
Jay and Darcie Huggins
You know Jay, or more accurately, you’ve known about Jay. He’s the loud one, the one you see everywhere, the one with the beard. You may know Darcie, or at the very least you know of her. She tries to play the elusive type, but if you’re lucky you’ll see her around (she’s not that elusive on Sundays and Mondays). Jay and Darcie are the brother-sister team that runs 5&A Dime. Jay has the ideas. Darcie has the smarts to back the ideas. If you know them both then you know that they’re funny, dog loving, family oriented people - but that’s just the basis of their relationship.
Jay is the elder sibling by ten years. He grew up in Northern California submerged in the subcultures that would eventually influence his store and brand. His family lived in a decent neighborhood, but Jay and his friends spent most of their time trying to make it indecent. Suburban boredom pushed the young Huggins into the reckless teenage troublemaking that most teens take part in, but it also shined the light on underground music and sports that would stick with him for life. One part BMX racer, one part Punk/Hardcore listener, more parts skateboarder; Jay grew up like most kids. But in time, he would learn to be a man without losing the youth that fed his passions.
His taste in music grew wider, he learned to DJ, he moved to San Diego and skated more than ever. He started growing his dreadlocks that would earn him the loving nickname “Jay Dread”. He found himself working in record stores and skate shops, including SD notables Music Trader and Pacific Drive. His presence in the music and skate scenes made him friendships and connections that have lasted to this day. Thanks to a friendship with Alyasha Owerka-Moore, founder of Alphanumeric, he became involved with what would soon become the Streetwear scene that would be the foundation of 5&A Dime. After his time at Alphanumeric Jay had some ideas for a shop of his own, and with connections to The Hundreds, Crooks and Castles, Hellz and others; he had potential product for a potential brick and mortar shop...
That’s where Darcie comes in. Darcie Huggins is a decade younger than her brother, but thanks to growing up under his care (or lack thereof) she is just as funny, sarcastic and aware of the subcultures that influenced her brother and his tastes. She was forced to be the lookout at skate spots, she was dragged all over Jay’s usual stomping grounds, and grew to have a love-hate relationship with Jay’s idea of “babysitting”.
Darcie also has creative tendencies, but hers manifested in the kitchen. While her brother was out burning the neighborhood down she was trying NOT to burn the house down. She helped her mom with baking; which may have been the early seed for The Good Stuff Cookie Co., but that’s a story for another time. She did a brief stint in the Girl Scouts, but decided the only thing she liked about them was the cookies. One of her favorite activities as a kid was playing “restaurant” in a small playhouse her dad had built. Seeing a trend here? Baking, cookies and playing a make-believe restaurant owner; she was basically destined to own a business. Apparently, running your own make-believe business as a kid can turn into running half a business when you’re older. Darcie went to school at USD for business and shortly after her and Jay launched 5&A Dime.
The rest, as they say, is history...
Being the new kid on the block I’ve had the opportunity to meet and learn from Jay, Darcie and a handful of other unique and inspiring personalities. Here’s Jay and Darcie’s responses to our first “Personnel” interview :
What is the 5D Reset and why was it brought about?
Darcie : The reset is about turning the store into the place that we have always wanted it to be. It’s about giving the space more of a feeling of the traditional Five and Dime stores of old. We want to fuse our loves for fashion, food, and childhood into one place. That’s our ultimate goal for the shop and we hope people enjoy it as much as we do. The reset came about 4 months ago when we finally decided we had enough of selling goods just to keep up with what we have always done. For far too long we have found ourselves in a rut with the shop. We created a business model that we weren’t happy with and honestly weren’t staying true to what really makes us happy. So we decided it was time to take the risk and make the change.
Jay : The reset was probably brought on by years of us doing the same things over and over again, and getting the same results. In the beginning 5&A Dime was one of the first shops to specialize in Streetwear. This worked in our favor and put us on the map. Then, the genre took off and these once small time brands started to grow and move into larger big box and online stores. Then the economy took a dive and the next thing we know we’re doing our best just to keep the doors open. Sometime in December of 2013 our good friend Alyasha pulled us aside. He was seeing first hand how we were being put into a defensive mode, and how it was affecting the brand and shop. We discussed it for some time and decided that we were going to make some major changes with Aly helping us creatively direct the brand and the new look of 5&A Dime.
The “Reset” has been in action for a couple months now. How do you feel about the customer response?
Darcie : The customer response thus far has been really cool. It seems like everyone has had a pretty good response to the changes and it’s so fun to see how much people enjoy the nostalgic candy and soda. For as long as we have been open that has always been the best part of the business, meeting people that genuinely appreciate the things that you work on and building a relationship with those people.
Jay : So far, so good! People seem to be taking to the new look. They especially seem receptive to the soda and candy. We want to be more adult with our new look, but can’t sacrifice the idea of being young at heart. We never want to take ourselves too serious and the soda and candy keep things lighthearted. Its fun as hell to get a conversation going about it and see customers get excited too!
You guys aren’t so much a “mom and pop” as much as a “brother and sister” owned shop. A lot of companies claim to be “family businesses”, but what’s it been like ACTUALLY having your family involved in the business?
Darcie : It has been as crazy as you might imagine and maybe even more so. On the one hand you have an unconditional support system, and on the other you have people who know exactly how to push your buttons.
Jay : We are a family owned and operated business, not just brother and sister. I’m definitely the guy in the front, but it’s always my sister and the rest of my family keeping me grounded. With out them I would have probably smashed our business to pieces like the neighborhood bully used to do my toys when I was a kid. Its great working with family, but it has its drawbacks too. My sister knows just the right buttons to push to set me off, so sometimes I want to kill her - but the cool thing with our entire family is that we forgive and move on pretty quickly.
What’s it like for you guys working together on a daily, hourly basis? Any change to your relationship as siblings or business owners?
Darcie : Well growing up Jay and I didn’t spend a lot of time together after I turned 10 because he moved out of the house at that time. So when I moved down to San Diego to go to school we lived together for the first time in 8 years. It was weird getting to know each other again and funny how the tables had turned since we were younger. When I was little all I wanted to do was hang out with my brother and his friends and was never permitted to unless I was the butt of a joke. But once I moved down here Jay looked to me for help and wanted to spend more time with me. We still pick on each other and get into the occasional slap fight, so I guess some things never really change.
Jay : Sometimes its hard to separate working together and just being siblings. To cut costs we do things like share a car and live together so you can imagine how stressful it can get between us at times. We have been doing this now for almost ten years, and like I said before we just figure out how to make it work. No matter how bad it gets I would never let anything drive us apart. Family first.
The store is almost 10 years old. Where do you see it going in the next year, five years, ten years?
Darcie : In the next year or so and even leading into the 5 year mark I would love to see the brand develop into a full cut and sew production with a fully built out accessory line. I would love to see multiple locations open in key cities throughout the states and into 10 years have locations around the globe.
Jay : We really want to get the San Diego location right. We have a couple ideas to improve on the space, and once its at a place we’re happy with then I could see us opening up other locations on the West Coast. If we can have it our way we would love to handle all our own sales and not distribute the brand as well.
I’m sure there’s been some guess-and-check, learn-as-you-go type growth during your tenure running the shop and business, but from here on out is there a certain focus or goal you have for 5&A Dime?
Darcie : There have been a lot of mistakes in the 10 years we’ve been doing this but the largest in my estimation is not starting and even developing the 5&A Dime brand sooner. So my ultimate goal and focus moving forward is the 5D merchandise and brand image as we have found that focusing on other brands and merchandise hasn’t served our best interest over the years.
Jay : Yep, no matter how fads or apparel change we want to always provide customers with the best customer service experience possible. What’s this mean to me? Well, I want everyone that steps foot in our shop to feel welcome for starters. Lot’s of shops in our industry like to give off this “I’m better than the people shopping in our store” vibe. That shit ain’t for us, we want everyone to come in the shop and enjoy the experience even if they don’t buy anything.
Any words for the people out there reading this?
Darcie : I know it sounds incredibly cliché but if you want to start a business, make sure you love what you do. The job is hard, can often offer little to no financial gain, and even if it does the work can be so overwhelming or grueling that the return may not seem worth it… unless you really love what you do.
Jay : I’m excited to see where we’re going with 5&A Dime, and I hope everyone reading this or coming in the shop likes what they see. Its been an amazing ride so far and I think you all will all enjoy what we have planned for the future!