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Tiffany Montgomery
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Deus Ex Machina comes to America

By Tiffany Montgomery
January 16, 2012 6:30 AM

Australian motorcycle surf brand Deus Ex Machina is preparing to open an American outpost next month.


Billy Stade, founder of The Closet who now runs Stade California, raved about the brand the last time I saw him, so I stopped by the Deus booth at Agenda to find out more.


Deus started six years ago in Sydney building custom, American inspired motorcycles, said Stefan Wigand of Deus. After about three years, founders Dare Jennings, who previously owned the Australian brand Mambo, and Carby Tuckwell, a graphic designer, began putting graphics of the motorcycles and motorcycle parts on Ts.


Deus motorcycleA Deus custom motorcycle


The brand grew to include a full range of clothing, and now Deus’ Australian headquarters are located in an old cookie factory. The space includes a store, a café and restaurant, and a bike workshop.


Deus holds lots of community-building events like swap meets, and attracts a like-minded group of enthusiasts around its brand, Stefan said.


About a year and half ago, Deus built an outpost in Bali, where it began shaping surfboards, in addition to building motorcycles and bicycles. The space in Bali connected Deus more strongly into the surf world, and Deus favors retro inspired surf.


For the U.S., the company bought an old Conroy’s flower shop in Venice, stripped out the inside and added a second level for offices. The space will include a store, a café, and a custom motorcycle workshop.


Deus jacketA Deus Ex Machina jacket

The store and café generate cash flow and help support the wholesale operation, a combination that has worked well in Australia, Stefan said.


Deus is hoping to tap into the large custom motorcycle culture in Southern California, and Stefan and others from the brand have been living in Venice, riding motorcycles and surfing with locals.


In Venice, Michael Woolaway will handle the custom motorcycle building side, Stefan said.


Deus expects to hire between 15 to 20 staff for the different parts of its business here.


Stefan acknowledged opening the U.S. outpost is an expensive proposition, but said Dare did not come to the U.S. with Mambo brand, and wants to bring Deus here. He also thinks the brand is a great fit with what is happening here now, and thinks Deus can distinguish itself by creating a community of enthusiasts for its different activities.


Deus SweaterA sweater from the winter line


The strong Australian dollar also makes it a good time to invest in the U.S.


On the wholesale side, Deus is offering summer and winter collections in the U.S., while in Australia it offers four seasons. The line, aimed at men 25 and up, includes denim, jackets, Ts, and wovens. Prices range from $28 to $48 for Ts, $150 to $200 for jackets, about $90 for wovens and $120 for denim.



Jason Bleick, formerly of Ever, is also designing a capsule collection for Deus, Stefan said.


Deus TA Deus Ex Machina T. T-shirt graphics are of motorcycle parts.


Currently Deus is in about 20 doors on the West Coast, from British Columbia to California, mostly boutiques.


The Deus Ex Machina shop, café and offices will open at 1001 Venice Boulevard.
















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