The life of Pablo – on the front line with Kanye – Philly

This weekend was probably the busiest and craziest I’ve had in a VERY long time. I worked as a Brand ambassador with the Life of Pablo event.  Well if you have no idea what I’m talking about – let me fill you in.

Kanye West, rapper/entrepreneur released an album in February of this year and it seems as though he toyed with the idea of putting his lyrics on merchandise and selling at his shows. Well apparently the sales went so amazingly at the concerts that he decided to take them to the streets and sell them worldwide. The name of the movement was based on his album title The Life of Pablo and the lyrics were from the songs No More Parties in LA, Ultralight Beam, I Love Kanye, Real Friends and others.

So Mr & Mrs West decided to take the clothing to major cities around the world for 1 weekend only, and obviously, Philly was one of them.

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Rockin the Pablo Camo Jacket

Cities included Melbourne, Australia, Los Angeles, Boston, New York (of course), Chicago, Toronto, London, Paris and others. On Friday August 19, 2016 in 21 locations around the world, pop-up shops opened their doors for a weekend of super selling and crazed super fans.

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When your store is super secret and all the windows and doors are blacked out.

Everything was top secret! I got called in to interview for a job that I had NO idea what I was expected to do. Well, I knew it was for some clothing line but that was it. No names, no location just when to show up and how much I would be paid! Cool! I’m a risk taker, so I was like – why the heck not.

I was to show up at a certain time at King of Prussia Mall (only the biggest & best mall on the east coast – if not the country), Thurs. Aug. 18th at 6pm. When I got there, the store I reported to, my bad, I meant the space I reported to, was vacant and with only a ton of boxes and a counter. Then there were people seated on the floor just staring into space – ummmmm ok….? Others were working on computers and what not. I was lost and confused – was I at the right place, what’s really going on?

Anyways, to cut this novel short, the meeting/training finally began and they told us why we were there and what we were expected to do. It was short notice but it was now or never. Friday morning, we would be up and rolling.

When I came in on Friday, there were security and police officers, blacked out windows, a velvet rope, and a line that wrapped around several stores – about 300 people. Some camped out from 6am just to be first in line for the life of Pablo.

The crowds were insane all weekend long. People getting real hype for Kanye and the Pablo movement. What made it extra “special” was the now or never notion – after this weekend, Pablo sales would be no more……or would they?

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The temporary line consisted of long and short sleeved tees, sweatshirts, hoodies, bomber jackets, hats and vintage, military camouflage jackets. The colors for Philly were yellow/gold and white.

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Camo and bomber jackets

Personally, I thought Kanye could have done a much better job on the quality of the clothing. He used regular Gildan branded clothing and added screen prints. He then sold his merch for top dollar to a whirlwind of super fans. And I wasn’t alone in my thoughts, other workers thought the exact same thing! No real design efforts, just basic screen prints and MS Word fonts. Customers even complained about the “cheap” shirts he used, but they still bought one in every color.

I say Kanye West is a smart dude – he knows the weight his name carries and used that strategy in this business venture to his advantage. He knew people loved him, love his music and love the album, so it only made sense I guess. And guess what – it worked! He’s been saying he is $50 million in debt, but after this weekend, I think he knocked a huge chunk out of that debt. If the 21 cities were poppin as much as Philly – he hit a home run. (note: after day 1, Philly was the lowest selling city even with the constant bombarding of our store for 10 full hours – that position didn’t last long though).

But hey, I’m not watching anyone’s pockets – he found a strategy that worked for him and he rolled with it – successfully. You can’t be mad at that.

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Overall, it was a pretty cool weekend. I’m probably gonna sleep for a full day, but I’m fine with it. It was an interesting experience to say the least. What made it better is that we had great managers and an amazing team of employees – we had fun on the job – literally.

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Life of Pablo pop up shop. Team Philly minus 3

Kanye’s album and music was blasting – literally – all weekend. I’d never heard the full album til this Friday and I feel like I now know every song by heart.

My fav Pablo uniform was the all white we wore on Saturday – rocking the Ultra Light Beam tees and the Philly Pablo baseball cap. We were Kanye fresh!!

I wouldn’t call it a fashion must have, but if you’re a legit Kanye fan, then you may enjoy the Pablo line that much more. Of course there are collectibles too – you can cop merch from 21 cities in 21 color combos.

Pablo Camo
Pablo Camo
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And another one

Kanye says that this is a God dream – well God bless him, cuz whatever he’s doing seems to be working. The world loves him, his fans adore him, but it doesn’t matter cuz NO ONE loves Kanye more than Kanye loves Kanye!

~SM

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