Butch Basix News
Another Year in Business & Our Call for Makers November 10 2015, 10 Comments
Along a road paved with tears and laughter, we've made our way to another Butch Basix Anniversary. When we reflect back on the successes of this past year in business, the highlights include our various collaborative efforts.
After we enthusiastically included the NiK Kacy line of dress shoes on our website, we had the pleasure to help NiK Kacy build out their new website and eCommerce functionality. We can't say enough about NiK's kind, open spirit and we feel truly honored to have made such a great connection.
In early Spring 2015, we coined the term "Alternity" as an alternate to "maternity," and through collaboration with much buzzed about Butchbaby & Co, we green-lighted their use of the term to promote their brand of pregnancy wear for masculine, transgender, and queer individuals.
DapperQ, the "leading style blog for masculine presenting women, gender queers, & trans* identified individuals," has been a huge supporter, resource and channel for many of the queer, MOC focused fashion related businesses, and Butch Basix has been no exception. We've benefited from DapperQ's wonderful support (such as inclusion in their continuously updated Store Guide, special Holiday promotions, and their generous advertising rates that make it possible for small, boot-strapped businesses like ours to reach a wide and relevant audience). This has been and continues to be a great online channel for acquiring new customers.
Last, but not least, one of our best pop-up shop appearances was at the Magic Makers: Queer Art, Craft & Healing Fair in Oakland. In addition to participating as a vendor at this awesome event (which, by the way, will happen again this December 13th), to benefit Bay Area Girls Rock Camp, we sold cups and cups and cups of hot cider out of our trailer to the hottest queer shoppers in town.
Looking ahead to our third year in business, we'd love to expand our base of partnerships and collaborations to include more queer friendly makers and artisans who produce goods that resonate with us and are in line with our values. Just as importantly, we want you, our customers, to have access to products that meet your needs and are unique.
With this in mind, we want to solicit your feedback about what you wish we would carry. Additionally, we really need your help connecting us with talented folks who make cool stuff and who would love to make their items available for purchase to our customers. To offer your invaluable input, please either fill out this form or send us an email with your ideas and referrals. As much as this store was inspired by personal experience, butchbasix.com is here to serve you. So please let us know how best we can do that.
We appreciate everyone's support. The fruits of our labor will keep us dedicated to the cause. Here's to our collective future!
Butch Basix Expands into Alternity January 21 2015, 0 Comments
Our Top 5 "January Clearance Sale" Picks January 14 2015, 0 Comments
To all wise shoppers looking for bargains on masculine attire and accessories, this January Clearance Sale might be just for you. We'll highlight a few sale items that we think deserve top mention because a) they qualify as one of our favorites and b) the discounted prices are ridiculous bargains. Below are our top 5. For a complete list of all items on sale, go here. And we may return to this post in a few days and choose to highlight a few more since it was so hard to narrow it down to just five. Now, make our day and go shop some deals at butchbasix.com.Cotton Skinny Tie by Haute Butch - Was $29, Now $19
Yep, I own this exact checkered cotton tie. I wear it a lot because it's dapper and super versatile (goes well with jeans as well as suits). Order yours now before they're gone. Limited supply and this pattern has sadly been discontinued by Haute Butch.
5mm Sterling Silver Rolo Neck Chain (Hand Tooled) - Was $183, Now $100
Dude! Hurry up and buy this bad ass neck chain before we change our mind on the price. And if you care to know, I never take my silver Rolo chain off. True story... Well, except for that one time recently when I was required to remove all metal piercings and removable metal objects for a procedure. It's funny how a simple piece of jewelry can help keep me aligned with my sense of self. Without it I felt a little lost. TMI?
Organic Cotton T-Shirt - was $25, Now $15
Organic Tees for only $15? Whoa! Who doesn't need a white t-shirt? Plus, you get to show your support for the growing presence of alternative retail choices because it comes with our logo on the front and our tag line, "define it for yourself," on the back.
Hefty Pewter Ring Marked down over 60%! - Was $49, Now $19.50
We have 2 sizes remaining - size 7 and 9. If you like beefy bands, this hand-cast pewter ring won't disappoint. We think this is a fetching ring with it's rustic finish and woven texture and the price will never be this good again!
Fair Trade Scarf - Was $35, Now $20
The fair trade, brown and tan, hand-woven, 100% cotton scarf by Handmade Expressions is super soft and super handsome. Save over %40 and buy the last one.
Come See Us at the Fairfax Flea & Holiday Gift Show November 14 2014, 0 Comments
Come see us at the Fairfax Flea this Sunday at THE GARAGE!
Sunday, November 16th
11 AM - 5 PM
2000 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Fairfax, CA 94930
Here's more info about THE GARAGE...
The Garage in Fairfax, recently named one of the top 100 shops in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Chronicle, is a design collective housed in, you guessed it, a long-vacant car repair shop. While there are antiques and vintage artifacts, what sets them apart is that they're all makers. They up-cycle, they devise; on offer are unique handmade items – textiles, leather-work, jewelry, paper goods, wearable art, fine art, photography, re-purposed vintage home goods, you name it, all artfully jumbled in a sumptuous, ever-changing, visual feast. The building has transformed into a vital, living, essential part of our small town. They have hosted flea markets, live music, pet adoptions and swing dancing classes and have future plans for many more community events.
Two FREE Tickets to TOUGH! July 22 2014, 0 Comments
As a sponsor of TOUGH, Chris Black’s one-woman show about the meaning of strength, Butch Basix will co-host, along with Kipper Clothiers, a reception on Saturday Aug 2nd after the 8 PM performance located at Z Below in San Francisco. We'll be posting more details about the reception soon.
In the mean time, would you like to WIN a pair of free tickets to the August 2nd performance and reception? Then subscribe to our Butch Basix email list here (by July 25th) and we’ll enter your name in a drawing for a pair of FREE tickets. We’ll announce the winner on July 26th.
Or you may purchase your own tickets here. The show opens this Thursday, July 24th and closes August 9th. As a sponsor of TOUGH, our friends get to use the coupon code “TOUGHQ” to obtain discounted tickets. Be sure to enter the code when purchasing your tickets online. For more details about TOUGH and the talented Chris Black, see below.
TOUGH opens 7/24 and runs through 8/9 at 8pm, Thursday – Saturday at Z Below
When: Thursday – Saturday, 7/24-8/9, 8pm
What: TOUGH – Chris Black’s one-woman show about the meaning of strength
Where: Z Below, 450 Florida Street, San Francisco 94110
Tickets: $20.00 - $25.00 at Z Space
Chris Black puts her recent site-specific choreographic work behind her in order to segue to the stage at Z Below with a one-woman performance inspired by the life of the famed boxer John L Sullivan. Traveling throughout the US from 1881 to 1892, Sullivan would signal his arrival and willingness to mix it up with "My name is John L. Sullivan and I can lick any son-of-a-bitch in the house.”
While Sullivan’s background, rise to fame, dominance and decline motivate TOUGH, Black’s real interest lies in what means “to be strong” and tapping into the special something that both performers and athletes harness in order to become extraordinary. As well as how they confront what she calls “the onset of can’t” that occurs in the career of every athlete and dancer when relied upon talents and endurance begin to flag. “The piece doesn't have a linear narrative, although parts of John L’s story will be told,” says Black. “I'm really trying to swallow him, to use him as source material to express the way he is contained within me already. This isn't Hal Holbrook doing Mark Twain—I'm not trying to look like him. I haven’t cut my hair.”
The Isadora Duncan and Bay Area Theater Critics Circle Award winning Black—whose work runs the gamut from serious to funny and poignant—will begin TOUGH by throwing her hat into the ring accompanied by the announcement of ring rules, all while enjoying some good whiskey and sporting a custom suit designed and produced especially for the performance. While circumventing notions of drag, Black also knows that “clothes make the man,” thus the suit is a theatrical device that allows her to incorporate the five foot ten, two hundred and twenty pound hell raiser into her own five foot one, one hundred and five pound frame. “It’s about the bodily experience of preparing for a performance,” says Black. “And how it changes your emotional state, image of yourself and sense of your abilities.”
TOUGH also looks at the lone figure, the hero who somewhat ironically relies on having an audience supply the context and metaphorical oxygen required if he or she is to thrive. “I’m interested in both the consistency and the discrepancy between what is projected to and perceived by the outside world versus how one might be feeling on the inside. John L was all about physical strength, which I see as a metaphor for being able to seize control of your own destiny.”
Chris Black’s suit for TOUGH was designed with the idea of giving a nod to the late 1800s by Kipper Clothiers, a San Francisco company that specializes in well-cut menswear for the LGBT community. "To give Chris the authentic look of the late 1800's,” say Kipper founders Kyle Moshrefi and Erin Berg, “we decided to pair a three button blazer with a high lapel stance with cuffed trousers. As traditional tweed would not have given her the mobility or breathability necessary for her performance, we opted for a mid-weight worsted wool."
About Chris Black Chris Black has been choreographing and performing in San Francisco since 1992. She has won an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Best Choreography and been nominated twice for Best Performance. She has also received two Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards for Best Choreography. She is the recipient of multiple commissions from the San Francisco Arts Commission and has been in residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, ODC Theatre and the California Academy of Sciences, the first performing artist to be so named.
From Cat Walk to Pop Up: The Untold Story of the Butch Basix Trailer March 13 2014, 2 Comments
Part One by Ames Simpson
When I was in my twenties, I created, in my mind’s eye, a retail shop for the gender variant. I envisioned a celebratory place in which people could find joy, camaraderie, and success – an experience culminating in a sense of broadened community. I also imagined that, through this hub, I would acquire a wardrobe more aligned with my sense of self and in a manner that countered my not so pleasant real-life retail experience.
It is from these early musings that Butch Basix has come to fruition. But unlike the current manifestation, the details of my earlier vision included an actual retail location in which people like me could find (in addition to cool and relevant shit) the support, understanding, respect, community, and a sense of vibrancy I so craved. I fantasized about properly constructed and equipped dressing rooms that catered to the various needs for privacy among the diversely gendered patrons. I envisioned cat walks in the center of the store for the flamboyant and exhibitionists to publicly model their selections and a DJ spinning funky dance music; a place where people could, together, feel a sense of belonging, reflection and pride.
Fast forward twenty years, and it occurred to Susan and me that, although we couldn't execute (at least not right away) the same vision I had years earlier, we could adapt this concept based on our acquired skill sets, actual resources, political shifts, trends, and economic and retail realities in order to launch Butch Basix.
It’s no secret that American society is struggling with economic inequality and rapidly changing urban demographics. Just as the forces at play and the widening income gap have made it difficult for many to find affordable housing, so too have small retail businesses been hit by the inaccessibility of affordable retail space. Thankfully, for merchants such as Butch Basix, e-commerce has been one channel through which many small businesses can adapt to this shift. Online retail gives us the chance to reach beyond our local markets and helps keep costs down by conducting business in the absence of a “brick and mortar” location. And perhaps most importantly, online stores, like Butch Basix, bring empowering alternatives right to the fingertips of many people for whom the traditional “gender norms” of less progressive communities take a more acute toll and who NEED to be served, especially given the dearth of brick and mortar retail diversity.
While it’s great that some of the barriers to entry into online retail have been removed (like the accessibility of the e-commerce platform Shopify) and give customers and merchants a larger and more diverse marketplace, I believe that we as business owners and consumers also give something up in the process. Especially in the case of unique, artisan and handmade goods, consumers give up the chance to touch, feel, and try on merchandise before making a purchase. We forego the chance to socially interact with the folks that produce their wares as well as the chance to personally know the shop owners and employees. We give up the opportunity to meet other like-minded people who may share our values when shopping for similar things or in the same place. We lose the chance to serve people who might be able to walk into a shop, but who may not have the resources to reach us through technology. In essence, we are losing another opportunity to build and sustain diverse communities when we only interact with each other online.
As the top-down pressures continue to strain and constrict many small business owners, we are not without ingenuity, hope, energy and adaptability. And many municipalities are taking notice. Some cities are broadening their collaboration with non-profits and businesses in establishing and further growing pop-up zones, street markets and fairs, mobile food vending zones, and urban mobile markets. One such event in which we've participated is Oakland First Fridays – a monthly event we plan on attending regularly. While a local, physical presence that’s transient or temporary doesn't give every one of our customers across the Continent face time with us and our products, we have to start somewhere… and this “somewhere” feels like a movement filled with energized, hopeful and creative people and inspires us to think of ways to nurture Butch Basix, and other businesses like us, into “thriveability”.
Stay tuned for the next installment on how our Butch Basix Pop-Up Trailer Shop strategy came to be.
Does Butch Basix Fit into the Butch Suit Bonanza? January 28 2014, 0 Comments
Butch Suits are all the rage - 2 piece, 3 piece, and separates. Custom and semi-custom. In fact, among the queer demographic, the “suit trend” (in quotes because I think we’ve been coveting and wearing suits for decades) is so strong that a host of new businesses have opened up shop, mainstream media’s covering this growing market, and some traditional bespoke clothiers are beginning to cater to people of all genders.
For custom / semi-custom suits, companies such as Saint Harridan’s, Kippers Clothiers, and Tomboy Tailors came into being to serve our mostly ignored communities. In case you missed some of the press surrounding these mavericks, go here, here and here.
Though not a company born from a personal experience of gender marginalization, an example of a custom suit shop that modified its business model to attract women, transmen and the gender queer is New York’s Bindle and Keep. In the article, “The Masculine Mystique," The New York Times reports “women and transgender men now make up one-quarter of [Bindle & Keep’s] customer base.”
In addition to these suit makers and designers, brands dedicated to re-engineering “menswear” to fit the female body have also emerged. Two examples of such companies making dress shirts and ties to be paired with expanded suit choices are Androgyny (dress shirts) and Haute Butch (bow and skinny ties, among other items).
In my opinion, the momentum and growth of this niche is fantastic news! Recently, I posted on Facebook an experience I had trying on one of Saint Harridan’s sample suits. It truly was an empowering moment. Looks good, huh?
After seeing and feeling a suit that’s been designed and cut with me in mind, I can tell you that the momentum (new businesses, press, pop-ups, Instagram photos, fashion shows, blogs, etc.) surrounding these businesses is warranted! It inspires me, it gives me hope, and it gives me representation and visibility.
While Butch Basix isn’t selling Butch Suits, I believe by offering everyday basics and some accessories to make you and your suit look even more devastatingly handsome, Butch Basix, just like you, helps sustain this Renaissance. As Mary Going of Saint Harridan said to me, “Together we are totally changing the paradigm!” I couldn't have said it better myself. We look forward to future collaborations with existing and yet-to-be-known businesses so that we can thrive collectively and individually.
Keep us in mind when it’s time to accessorize that stellar suit or vest / jeans combo. Here are a few Butch Basix items that might be relevant to you dapper souls:
1) Mending Kit:
A split seam, a lost button, an unraveling hem – a guaranteed event for all well-worn suits. So don’t let that stop you. Our 50 Piece Mending Kit is a must have.
2) Skinny Ties:
The Haute Butch Neck Ties we carry are 2” wide (at widest point) and work well with custom or Saint Harridan Suits that come with thinner lapels (proportioned for smaller bodies). Plus these ties is 57” long, a full inch shorter than most standard men’s ties.
Are you splurging on French Cuffs or Convertible Cuffs on your new custom made butch dress shirt? If so, we have a selection of handmade, fixed back style cufflinks to help give your suit a distinctive style. Pictured above are the Wood Grain Cufflinks.
4) Belt Buckles:
If you want to add an urban edge or shake up the “traditional” suit look, then we recommend you try sporting one of these unique belt buckles.
Bulky wallets can mess with the clean lines of a suit. For your day or night outing, consider carrying just the basics in one of these mini (slim, low-profile) wallets that are perfect for a suit jacket or pant pocket.
Look good AND smell good. Enhance your swagger with some sexy smelling Schmidt’s All Natural Deodorant. Or at the very least, keep your dry cleaning bill in check - don't stink up that swanky new suit.
The butch accessories that we carry (including wallets, ties, deodorant and buckles mentioned above) are great casual, everyday essentials in addition to complimenting dressier butch fashion. Stay tuned for new arrivals. Our plan is to expand our product listings in our existing categories as well as to add new categories that offer solutions to the retail challenges many of us face.
Happy butch suit hunting, fitting, accessorizing and wearing.
It’s Official - Butch Basix Is Open for Business November 15 2013, 0 Comments
ButchBasix.com is open for business and ready for holiday gift giving!
We’re excited to announce the grand opening of ButchBasix.com. Butch Basix seeks to serve people like us who incorporate a masculine aesthetic into their presentation and style. We want to help our customers (and their gift-giving friends!) define themselves by providing basic “butch” accessories and clothing that go beyond conventional masculine style and also meet the unique needs of present and past female bodies.
We are particularly excited that many of the vendors with whom we work share our values around sustainability, fair-trade, supporting local & independent businesses, honoring the value of crafting by hand, and being open-minded and butch-friendly.
To find out about new products, promotions, Butch Basix news, etc, please stay connected with Butch Basix by signing up for our newsletter, by joining us on our Facebook page, on Twitter, Pinterest or Instragram, or Google+ or by subscribing to our Blog Feed.
Thank you for your support,
Susan and Ames
ABOUT BUTCH BASIX: Butch Basix is an e-tailer specializing in masculine clothing, jewelry, and accessories for masculine, female-bodied individuals and for people of all genders who want the freedom to define masculinity for themselves. Butch Basix is a part of a fast-growing movement towards expanded choices and personal freedom in the retail world and beyond.
Our company name is our personal reference point that unapologetically conveys meaning about the story behind our business. It's a name that honors the history of some of our bravest and often unacknowledged gender outlaws and warriors that have made it possible for us to pursue our mission with dignity and pride. Our name does not imply that anyone who shops with us should identify as Butch. We have reverence and respect for the beautiful diversity of gender expression, and this is our contribution to the celebration.
We're Working on It July 24 2013, 1 Comment
Stay tuned for updates on all things Butch Basix. We are busy planning the launch of our website, store and blog. We will step out of the dressing room when... we know we're lookin' good. Once we do, we certainly hope you'll be there with your support, opinions, advice and love.