This month we have interviewed Andrew, co owner of Tobacco Motorwear Co.
After searching around the globe for that perfect pair of womens motorcycle jeans we finally found them!
We are proud to be the first and only stockist of Tobacco in Australia.
» Please introduce yourself
Andrew Hancock, 33, Los Angeles CA, USA, Tobacco Motorwear, Owner
» When did you start riding motorcycles & what's your current ride?
I started riding by getting a Kawasaki KX450F. That’s not really the bike you learn on, but it forced me to learn quickly. Funny thing is, learning how to ride a bike taught me to drive a manual transmission car too. It’s the same principal of clutch and throttle! I then got a 70’s Honda Goldwing that I rode for a couple weeks and then sold. Currently I am on a HD Sportster 1200.
» What are people often surprised to learn about you?
People are usually pretty surprised to learn of my hobbies. I skydive, pick locks, scuba dive, grow cannabis, build furniture, trade cryptocurrency. The next thing I will learn is glassblowing. That seems pretty cool!
» What personal safety advice do you have for new riders?
Oh man, this gives me anxiety. I worry because new riders don’t know, what they don’t know. Meaning they are out riding in ignorance. I always think that the best things to happen to any rider is a series of near misses. Near misses teach you without killing you. They reveal the blind spots that you didn’t know you had. Every rider of every experience level has blind spots, and a new rider has so many, they might as well be riding with a blindfold. So pay attention, don’t listen to music, be 100% present and always assume every single car wants to murder you. That’s worked for me at least.
» Tell us a brief history of how your brand got started...
Long story short, my partner wanted a pair of Kevlar jeans and wanted a good looking pair that didn’t cost 500 US dollars. He said “I live in LA, the fashion capitol of the country, why don’t’ I just make my own pair” so he looked up “denim suppliers” on google maps and walked into places asking about how to make a pair of jeans. He thought that if he wanted a pair of denim like this, maybe other people would want it too. We launched a kickstarter campaign in the fall of 2014 and turns out 501 other people wanted the same thing. Those original 501 kickstarter backers are very lovingly called BLDR’s as they are builders that have helped us build this company. We have gone on to launch more kickstaters and launch more products and have always tried to provide the best looking protective apparel available.
» What design process have you gone through for your female range?
Our female line at Tobacco has presented the biggest challenges we have faced as a company. It has been 3 years since we did the kickstarter campaign specifically for womens jeans and we have been improving the fit of the jeans ever since. We design the hard way, where we get a sample made, get it on a body, take notes, get another sample made and just iterate and iterate and iterate again. We are super proud of how far we have come and how people react when they get the jeans on.
» How do you test the safety of your products?
I think this video speaks for itself:
» Has this business venture taken you to any inspiring places or events?
As with anything in life, I am convinced that 90% of it is just being around long enough. We have done a couple different events every single year and the very first time we did them, no one knew who we were. They walked by our booth and didn’t even give us a second look, but now when we go to the event, everyone is like an old friend. We’ve all been going to the events for years now and you make friends. You can only get that with time and it's nice to start seeing that.