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Ayumi is Kickin’ It with the ’Terns

One of the great crimes of late-period capitalism is the erosion of the entry-level job. We no longer pay our youngest workers to do the tasks we don’t want to do; instead we offer them class credit, or shrug off the idea of “compensation” almost completely, replacing it with such unquantifiable terms as “contacts,” or “experience.”….Suckaaaaas

Our Summer intern Miranda took the initiative to spend her unpaid time to offer up a little behind the scenes at OBEY HQ and bother our very own Ayumi for a little of her time to find out what exactly she does around here and how she found her way into OBEY –

The best part about interning here is that I’ve gotten to meet so many talented and down-to-earth people… and it’s only my 3rd week. One person that stood out to me was Ayumi Hanaoka, she is a big part of the marketing team. I met her last week when I asked her what kind of coffee she wanted. If anyone ever wants to surprise her with a pick-me-up, hint: she likes iced lattes from Portola Coffee Lounge. I set up a little interview with Ayumi, so let’s get started!

So, for all the readers, what exactly do you do at Obey?

I am a sort of hybrid in marketing and sales here at Obey. For marketing I assist in managing all operations that are produced for all e-commerce and marketing platforms, and anything conducive to the brand image with marketing director, Steve Ternosky. Additionally I work on special collaborations and or projects for the brand. In sales, I work with select accounts, work with reps in providing marketing materials for their retailers, and also provide retail assessment.

How long have you been working at Obey and how did you get the job?

I have been here for a whopping six months. I came from a buying background, and previously worked with American Rag for six years. Essentially I was born and raised in retail. I wasn’t looking to sign up with a brand, I actually was moving towards getting out of the fashion industry. I was introduced randomly to the Obey team through a coveted friend, and LA rep of Obey. I loved the idea of working with other mediums associated with the brand culture not limited to fashion. I just wanted to work with rad people 24/7 and not car salesmen. In addition to utilizing my specialty in retail and partnerships, I think they liked that I wasn’t an idiot snob, so it worked out.

What excites you about coming into work everyday?

The people. I have met a number of extremely talented individuals at this camp that not only excel at their craft, but also teach me something new everyday. Whether it is about plants, music, galleries, or new artwork; I thrive off of ideas and knowledge, and I always am learning something new here.

How would you describe Obey’s office culture?

Unpredictable. I always said I’d never work a 9-5-office job or in a cubicle ever in my life. Obey re-affirms that. If you walked around to everyone’s office space here and sat with them for five minutes, guaranteed you will not be dissatisfied. And if you are- you have no soul or substance.

Besides Obey, what are your passions?

I have always enjoyed writing. Originally, I was planning on being homeless in Spain with a notebook and a fantastic Rick Owens trench coat documenting the culture and my religious curiosities. Then I got the job here.

Other areas include taxidermy, communism, revolutionary figures, and fun (because fun is fun).


Who has inspired you in your life and why?

No one and everyone. I judge myself on my own merit and rarely look to ‘inspirational’ figures to motivate me to excel to the level that will satisfy me. At the same time, I’ve molded my ethics in a fashion that have been built off of my own experiences and various personalities from strangers, coworkers, and dead gods like Hunter S. Thompson.

On a personal level, my dad and my oldest brother. My brother always tells me, “work builds character” and it does. I’d say this area of my life is where I devote most of my time to, and I don’t believe it should ever be compromised with the belief that “its just a job” and do things half ass. Some would say I’m psycho, but with my dad passing I learned early on that all areas of your life should be taken seriously to build a legacy you’re proud of.

What are your “go-to” bands and artists on your iPod?

My ipod broke, but transferring to my iphone and the digital advances that are so damn rapid—the main components will always be Depeche Mode, Cold Cave, Joy Division, The Clash and Tupac.

Who is your favorite artist besides Shepard?

Ralph Steadman. No explanation necessary.

We saw your blog post about Benjie Escobar and his pizza art, would you say that pizza is your favorite food?

I LOVE PIZZA. But no- hands down, it’s popcorn. I can beast through an entire large one at the movies no problem. I’m not a big foodie otherwise- you’ll always find me with coffee and cigarettes. That’s primarily my healthy diet.

What is your spirit animal?

An absolute blasphemy. Perhaps a horse with a wolve’s head, wings of an eagle, and the brain of a monkey all molded into one creature. Does that count?

What’s a quote that you love to live by?

“Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law” -Aleister Crowley

Thank you for taking the time to let me interview you today! See more from Ayumi’s here.

-Miranda “the intern” Gonzalez

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