Focus: Sticks & Stones Agency
We chat and get to know Sticks & Stones Agency.
I caught up with Ainsley and Sebastien from Sticks & Stones Agency recently. These cats are super rad and do a bunch of cool stuff as well as rep some great brands like Ksubi, Jamie Fame, Beach Riot, UNIF and many more. I will let Ainsley fill you on the whole story and what they get up to most of the time.
I guess the best place to start is, what is Sticks & Stones? Who's involved? What were you doing before? Just the general story?
Sebastien and I met almost five years ago and on top of instantly falling in love and almost immediately moving in with each other we also decided to start a clothing label. On route of one of our sell trips we met with Penny, owner of rad boutique Alterior Motif who at the time was also repping One Teaspoon. She was finding it hard to find enough time to run her pumping boutiques as well as look after the label and so we joined forces and took over sales for one Teaspoon.
That day we gave birth to Sticks & Stones and at the same time decided not to move forward with our label until we knew more about what we were doing. For the next two years we took on various brands and after a lot of trial and error we now feel very happy with our current brand mix. We feel it is a perfect reflection of who we are. In recent months Penny has decided to step out of the agency, just about to pop out her first child. Somewhere along the way we adopted our good friend and amazing artist Lachy Olive who is in charge of our graphics. He has played a huge role in strengthening our brand and image.
But Sticks & Stones has never and will never be only about selling brands. Sticks & Stones is an umbrella to various different creative outlets and this is how we accidently differentiated ourselves from other agencies. We now coordinate and style photo shoots, offer graphic design, custom art services and with another rad artist friend of ours (Gareth Stehr) are about to launch our own product line called RAINBOW CLUB 88.
Sticks & Stones has a really distinct image/brand was that something you always wanted to incorporate into the project? I mean not many other fashion agency look as rad as you guys.
Haha, thank you! This was kinda an accident. We had no intentions to build a brand we just had no idea how to be an agency and kinda just ran the business based on what we enjoyed doing the most and of course what would please our customers. We had no experience in repping and really no idea about how other agencies did it. I think if we were taught we might have adopted some old school sell methods that don’t work anymore or at least felt as though we weren’t doing a good job if we didn’t adopt them. We have accidently thought outside of the box because we had no idea what was in the box.
Really we can thank Instagram for where we are today. Instagram enabled us to show the world our personalities and give the agency an identity. There are so many agencies and so many products but people want to buy into people and not into another products. With our growing online and insty following we now have platforms to get behind our brands and our independent retailers in ways that other agencies cant and I think that’s a massive draw card.
You guys have grown really rapidly, your social media presence is awesome and the blog is really cool as well. Did you ever expect it to take off like it has or were you thinking 'yep we're nailed it' from day one?
Nope, we had no idea things would take off how they did. We got really lucky and I don’t really know why people want to follow us but Im sure glad they do! We have never really just thrown up posts for the hell of it. A lot of thought goes into what we put up and it's definitely quality over quantity. Maybe this helped. I’m really just obsessed with rad photography and saw Instagram as the perfect platform to display shoots I had discovered that day, that’s kinda how it all begun.
The 9-5 or whatever hours you work, for us we pretty much don't sleep. But what is an average day like/involve?
No working day is the same and this is why we love our job. In the beginning I was working crazy hours and now I have realised that this is not a good long term plan.I have started to limit my working hours so that I can enjoy more time with our fam and get my much needed down time in.
So I guess now our working life is kinda mostly 9-5 until sell season begins. Sell season usually entails back to back showings over six weeks 3-4 times a year. On top of appointments there is the admin to catch up on at the end of each day plus packing up and moving ranges constantly. But the job is super seasonal amd there is plenty of down time to make up for the busy periods.
Where other people can spend all night working, Sebastien and I are forced to clock off for a few hours when we pick up our kids from school. Sebastien and I have three kids between us. Conveniently we do share our kids with our exes. We get two days off from being parents every week which allows us to travel for the business and re-connect romantically.
This brings me to my first nugget of wisdom. That is fuck a buddy - a good friend who you know you will get on well with no matter what and then sharesies - it’s the modern day work, life balance.
Coming into summer, what are your tips for guys and girls to be rocking this coming season?
At the moment I think the general vibe is ‘so bad it's good’. Flames, dolphins, chains, tribal prints. All so hot right now.
Besides running the agency, you guys do a lot of other cool work. You always seem to be in a fashion ed. or shooting one, what’s the deal there?
We started coordinating shoots for fun to use on our Insty. After the first one I become hooked and Sebastien is also so good at styling and comes up with amazing ideas for art direction. We both just fucking love it so much. We really just use Instagram as an excuse to spend work hours doing more things we really love.
Thank God it's paid off and we can continue to justify spending time on what other people might see as a waste of time???? The things we love doing have ended up being what people seem to be drawn to the most.
Favorite tracks, that are currently getting a trashing in the office?
JUST LOOKIN OVER THE PLAYLIST NOW. SUCH VARIETY: EARL SWEATSHIRT, GRIMES, GRIP PLYAZ, JACK WHITE, JONSI, KANYE, KING TUFF, MARIACHI EL BRONX, KREAYSHAWN, HAIM, ASAP FERG, LITTLE DRAGON, GO DREAMER.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year? and what does the future hold for Sticks & Stones. more brands, different creative projects?
From the end of October selling for all of our brands almost ceases completely while retailers get super busy in the lead up to Christmas. This for me means way more time to spend on shoots and social media. Really want to get our blog going but haven’t had the time yet to invest in it properly. We are heading to LA end of November for a few weeks and have four rad photo shoot collaborations lined up and I am gonna knock down a Vegas wedding while over there.
Our fourth Rainbow Club member is moving over from NZ to kick start the RC properly. Hoping we can really get things moving forward here too.
Lastly, I always ask new friends. What is a Pilerat?
Ains: A hoarder?
Sebastien: Ains. She loves piles! Everything she owns is in piles around the house, she is a Pilerat!