DETERMINED TO NOT KNOW IT ALL - The more you know, the less you really know.
If you are going to dream – be careful, you could very well be doing it for the rest of your life... and it's easy to dream about something when you don't know much about it. This is pretty much how it's been since 1988. I really didn't know much back then and I basically don't know much now, but I'm at least experienced enough to duck when needed.
The ideas of starting a tee shirt company, opening retail stores, taking off to NYC, London & NoLa, building a city event, starting an artist incubator, designing furniture and saying I will be a famous artist one day are fine and dandy, but the allure of not knowing what I'm doing is even greater. Learning is and was more of a desire than worrying with the fear of failure. I was going to fail all along the way and look like an ass. I was going to be sized up as a waste of time and laughed at in the smart and opposing circles by those who have never really tried themselves. But most importantly, I was going to lick my wounds, stack my 2's (from failing 8 times out of ten), step away from the box and aspire to be a sly wit in a world full of pretenders. It's kind of like one of those sadist tendencies that once you know your limitations, you no longer abide by the rules of those limitations. I learned to thank God that I was not smart – a smart guy would have quit a long time ago because he would have seen the struggle ahead and quit, but the grass ain't greener on the quittin' side!
Don’t' worry, I'm not going to use the word “journey” here because it's cliché, but I will describe the commitment of being too stupid too quit as “looking over your shoulder while driving over the edge.” Hitting the target was never just a fun goal, but the way it was going to be. One thing I do know is something so simple that most have missed along the way. I learned to take the “THEY” out of the equation. Were they going to laugh at me for screwing up? Oh, they are not going to like that! They said it was not possible because...blah blah, blah blah blah. I never figured out who THEY were anyway. Once you put the YOU in the equation instead a certain focus starts to happen because you just gave the finger to fear – now you know something.
I did not know it all when I first made tee shirts. I did not know what would sell, what would suck, what would soar. I chipped away at the stone to shape it into an...uhhhm...well, not really sure what it is, but it's something that apparently has worked. They are not products of cotton, but products of millions of thoughts about life, people, mess-ups, and wonders.
Opening retail stores is nothing but not knowing what you are doing. I/We have learned that “not knowing it all” allowed us to learn from our customers and just as importantly learn from our staff members. Hiring those you feel you can learn from creates an atmosphere of growth and synergy. These newbies know stuff and you should pay attention to them. Ownership of ideas is how they get their wings – otherwise all you have is a “yes-man” and nobody likes those.
Not knowing what would be in NYC, London and NoLa are what created the desire to go there. Unknowns aren't what kill you. I learned just how small and vulnerable I really was and everybody needs a fist full of life sandwich sometimes. The more I opened up to the unknowns in these places, the more I embraced diversity and culture. Open-mindedness as I have learned is the natural progression of respecting the unknown as you think you know them.
Running a city event was a definite unknown as I picked one up out of the trash to revive. I got my masters degree in attitudes with this unknown, but I learned how to cope with humans and some not so human-acting specimens. This is where I collected the most “Chane doesn't know what he is doing-isms." Intricate personalities (putting it nicely) are a tough bi-product of being determined to swim in unknown waters with sharks. Either way it got sliced, thousands of smiling faces in growing numbers each month seem to appreciate the unknowns each time from a village idiot who was willing to try to build community.
Starting an art incubator (The Wonder Lab) was a blind leap of helping others who didn't know stuff either. The unknowns faced here are: will it work?, will artists pay rent?, will they pay on time or at all? Sometimes you take these unknowns and rework them to into new ideas that would have never materialized had you not leaped into the headache of unknowns.
Designing furniture is full of unknowns – I guess, I don't know. It sounded exciting so I jumped and found a niche market of placing in between several experienced local builders who really know what they are doing and the D.I.Y. guy who might be a bit timid to take on a project. Thus Dwello Furnitura was (re)born doing just that – not knowing – learning – and then doing. The result was that a 'certain forlorn quality' became the trademark idea.
I've always had an affection for 'friends without homes'. Some people refer to them as “homeless”, but that doesn't work for me. Not knowing many of these great people would have made me a lesser person. They know a lot and have seen a lot and want to tell you a lot. Me, not knowing a lot already, makes a better equation for learning here. What I do know is that I am no better than them or anyone else. I could just as well be faced with the same situation as a twist of fate. Our company has invested a few thousand dollars into assistance to several of the great people I have met along the way. You don't just go give a “homeless” person a hamburger or a dollar and think you have changed the world – these are called do-gooders and do-gooders are posers who brag and want a trophy for it. I would rather hang out with a person on the streets who needs me than hang out with a well-off person who is managing their social image.
Social media, specifically Facebook, is full of know-it-all's who don't really know much except how to pull out their soapbox. Maybe our desire to know less about what others are doing could give us more time to focus on being better people ourselves and help others.
Simply put, admitting that you don't really know it all is the first step to admitting you are a human. An open-mind to taking it in, taking a leap and sometimes signing up for potential failure is a hard thing to do, but it will make you better somehow someday someway. Just because you don’t know it, doesn’t mean you can't try it. Knowing it all is the best bubble of (in)security that will prevent you from learning from those around you.
“Clear eyes, full hearts – can't lose” (Friday Night Lights)
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Made in Mississippi Podcast

Mastermind behind this operation and neighborhood vigilante, Chane, was able to crawl out of a pothole long enough to be able to sit down with Casey Combest of Blue Sky Studios on the Made in Mississippi podcast last week. Casey's podcast focuses on interviewing local Mississippians on business experience, hard learned lessons, and more. He's had several of our fellow Jacksonians on there in recent past and now Chane's joined those ranks.

In this episode, Chane focuses in on our "try anything" philosophy and his roots and our roots. He details his past with how he ended up in New York, how he ended up in Fondren, and his experiences in the "school of hard knocks" and how he's learned it the wrong way. There's even a brief mention of a religious cult! So if you aren't sick of him yet, give it a listen through the link below.

listen to Chane babble here


(photo creds above to Jackson Free Press)

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Today starts our "SAY SOMETHING SWELL-O-PHONIC" Campaign on Facebook and Instagram.

All you have to do is say something GENUINELY NICE about SOMEONE (by name) on your Facebook/Instagram.

Tag them and tag us @swellophonic and #saysomethingswellophonic -show us at the physical store (Mon-Sat 10:30-6) and get a swell 25% OFF ANY 1 item at Swell-o-Phonic + Wilåi for the whole week now (July 24) through Saturday (29th).  

Also available on (this website!) Just screenshot your genuineintiness, or whatever and email and we'll send you the discount code for the website super quick!

Do as many positive posts about other peeps as you want and we'll give you the same deal for each post.  Think about how nice you can be and how many deals you can get with just a couple of presses of a button!

We double-dog dare you to say something nice !

Let's put those pissy little 2cent soap boxes away, quit your bitchin' and feed those gripes to your dog.  Nobody ever got a trophy for being a butthole or for being insecure...but you could say that you got some love for being loving !

...nICE nICE BABY - stop, collaborate and listen (to yourselves!)

As for us, we love Brandon, the hardest worker in all of Fondren! He makes those tables sQueaky clean Tuesday-Friday at Roosters and Basils and generally makes all our days brighter. 



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The Methodology behind Project Chane Tees

The Methodology behind Project Chane Tees
  1. a system of methods used in a particular area of study or activity.
    "a methodology for investigating the concept of focal points"
So, if you were expecting a simple breakdown of how we come up with our designs methodically based on the definition above – well, you're just gonna get dizzy reading the rest of this.
By now, most who have heard the name Project Chane or at least Chane, know us for designing tee shirts – at least locally in JXN, MS, NYC, London and in NoLa. In the earlier days, I "came up with designs" rather than designed them. Randomness was the method of let's just slap stuff on a tee and hustle like hell to sell them so we can do more.
eat your fuckin' vegetables
The more designs that were out there, the easier it was to eventually target what was and wasn't working among our BMX and skateboarding peers. Screen printing as a trend was really taking off with more and more funny tee shirts popping up in photos on mainstream media. We were in the company of plenty fly-by-night printers and so-called designers (well, kind of like now) and while we focused on simple logos, national brand knockoffs and our own attempt at funniness on tees, our peers would gradually fall off because either this tee shirt thing was hard work or they would go into cut & sew which would eventually be their end. We chose however to keep it simple and swim gracefully in the shallow end of the pool vs swim with the sharks.
The designs kinda got surfy in the early 90's as I was living in Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, Orlando and L.A (that stands for Lower Alabama – a.k.a. Gulf Shores). Bright colors such as fluorescents were a big deal and we milked that trend until we burned out everyone's eyes from bright and loud and then toned it down. Upon toes touching the asphalt in NYC, this pop culture idea became relevant with the designs and would become our backbone of existence mapping out our future direction. This new world of opinion and self proclamation was the beginning of the shape we design with today. Everybody had their 2 cents worth of verbiage and we were there to catch it and turn it into art form on tee shirts. In those earlier days in NYC, we began to understand the power of local pride which eventually birthed the JXN series of tees in JXN, Mississippi.
reunion swingers club
This local series of tee shirts in our hometown took off from the "git-go" as they say. Being from Mississippi, there is plenty of fodder to work with from southern pride to all of the irritations that local life faces. All of the sudden swingers, rednecks, politics, potholes, local corruption, etc. were the targets of a new art form for us. Once again everybody's 2 cents became the ingredients of local pop culture design. Our first localized design was simple. It was only 2 lines of block letters that said “SOUTH JACKSON.” Being proudly from South Jackson - with its less than perfect persona of rednecks and crime - it was a perfect design to peak intrigue for whatever reason someone wanted to wear it. And wear it they did. It even ended on a guy who wore it while doing stupid tricks on the Jay Leno show. We were off and running because it seemed like an endless supply of fodder that could go on a tee shirt – we were right and it hasn't stopped as we are still calling it like it is and producing 50 – 100 new designs per year.
south jackson shirt
Designing in this way felt more real in a sense because almost everyone around had an ingredient they threw into the bowl. We simply baked it, packaged it and sold it. Sure, you can't possibly make everyone happy with every single design. They can come into the store and laugh at the other areas of town getting ripped-on, but hemorrhage if they see one about their own neighborhood. Yes, some have even tried to introduce racial undertones to designs that never were based on such a thing. Sure, some would get their panties in a wad because they disagreed with some of our anti-political verbiage (after they laughed at all of the other tees)...but this is what became the charm of such an adverse line of tees – every single design was not for every single person. We went where no one else had gone. Yes, we set ourselves up for many a knock-off locals who wanted to get in on the bandwagon.
Outside of local ideas, I always knew that music played a huge roll in the inspiration of designing. Listening to bands such as: Smashing Pumpkins, Sigur Ros, Silversun Pickups, Bjork, Built to Spill, Interpol, etc always seemed to tip creativity just as when drinking coffee and you hit the tipping point where the caffeine kicks in and makes you super creative. Being in big cities like London and Nola also trip the senses of creativity in coming up with design ideas.
i hate mayonnaise shirt
So, here were are today, making tee shirts about foods we hate and love and laughing about pooping and peeing as though we were 6 year-olds on a playground. Well, we ARE on a playground, a playground of life imitating art imitating life. Sometimes you just have to let life go – it has all become so overly serious and too politically correct to enjoy living it almost. Maybe, just maybe a little stupidity on a tee shirt will make you forget it all for a minute as we laugh at others and of course learn to laugh at ourselves.
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5 Things To Take On That Vacation You've Been Waiting All Damn Year For

It's getting close. You can almost taste it. You've spent hours daydreaming for this moment and you've been x-ing off the days on your calendar. Whether you're a student and you finally got through that spring semester or you're fully entrenched in the real world working 40+ hours a week, it's that time we all wait for: VACATION. It's time to get out of town, stretch those legs, relax, unwind, and explore.

As you all know, one of the worst parts about vacation is the packing so I figured the least I could do is help you out there with a couple of items you're bound to need. (Also be sure to grab a camera (I love a good Polaroid!) to remember your favorite memories of the year!)


 I'm not going to make any promises but it's bound to be sunny at least at some point on your vacation and I picked these out just for you. Don't try to tell me you won't look fly in these guys, you already know.
If you're anything like me, you've got tons of little knick-knacks that need a home that's anywhere besides the bottom of your purse. Why not keep them in a home that's as cute as this? (And not to mention, you've done even the smallest, tiniest thing for the environment! Go you! Now go read up on United By Blue.)
Wherever you're headed, you probably would appreciate an easy, flowy dress to wear. Who says you can't be laid back and look good? Plus I know I can never have enough black dresses.
Adidas Superstar White/Copper
You might be lazing on this vacation or you might be trekking - just in case, how about you try to avoid the seasonal blisters and throw these bad boys on.
I would be remiss to not offer you a bag to throw all of these things in. Do you know how hard it is to keep up with a purse on a trip? Just buy a backpack; your one sore shoulder from your purse will thank you.
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