05.10.17

By creatives, for creatives – the Death to Stock brand.

Do what you believe in and the rest will follow…

David Sherry, founder of Death to Stock, is proof that his philosophy works. A brand that pioneers creativity, inspiration and originality, we wanted to learn a little more about Death to Stock and how the brand functions. We caught up with David and it’s safe to say he’s got the brand safely nailed down.

Firstly, what inspires you?
I’m inspired by all types of random work out there, from fashion to physical products like smart-watches. I tend to pull bits of inspiration from anything. I like hearing the names of various products and seeing which demo they specifically gear themselves towards. There’s so many interesting niches that are exploding these days, so it’s an exciting time to be a creative.

What makes your brand admirable?
We’ve always done it our own way. We’ve never taken investment and have always just done what’s felt natural for us. So I believe that our brand hasn’t really done much that is ‘forced’. I’m proud that we’ve shown up every month for the last 4 years and shared our ideas and media.

Tell us some more about your brand story.
We started as an email list, so for the first 6 months everything happened basically by email. Once we had built enough of an audience who was paying attention to our work we were able to make our first premium offering, as well as crowdfunding a 5-city road trip around the US to shoot more photos. All of the images we supplied for the first year or so were ours. Mostly, my business partner Allie had taken them. Once we had 500 people or so signed up for our premium membership, we had enough cash flow to build our own site from scratch. We’ve collaborated with dozens of artists from all around the world from South Korea to Australia, and launched all types of mini projects like a USB drive that was full of mystery media to funding a short film based on a poem.

What are your values and why?
Human. Can people tell this was made by a human, for other humans? Are we sharing some of ourselves?

Rule-breaking. We have the opportunity to have fun trying something new by breaking rules. Why not make an attempt at something that hasn’t been done before? Often there’s less risk than you’d think.

Permission. DTS is a permission-giving platform for creatives who are starting or traveling on the journey to do work they love. This journey is a tough challenge for everyone. Therefore, we give our community permission to be where they are along the journey.

Trust. We always approach our community from a perspective of trusting that they are trying their best. This allows our audience to feel the same way towards us. We take action and put our work into the world and the trust that’s built between us and those that pay attention to our work is our most prized possession.

Humble. We don’t take a victory lap.

How do you ensure consistency in everything you do?
First, I think you can be consistent if you can be specific. The more generalities that are involved in the work you’re after, the harder it is to be what people see as “consistent.” Second, we choose collaborators and partners that we trust do great work, and so aligning with them helps our work shine too and makes our brand consistent in its level of quality.


 

“I think it helps to create a community that trusts we have their best interests in mind. I also think being generous is a big advantage that any brand should make use of.”

 


 

What gives you that extra edge compared to other brands?
I think we play the long game, which allows us to keep away from being too pushy with our messages or sales. We’ve been really lucky that we haven’t had to really make a big effort selling to our audience. I think it helps to create a community that trusts we have their best interests in mind. I also think being generous is a big advantage that any brand should make use of. I just went to a trade show, and almost every brand was trying to sell you on something, then there was a Kombucha company in the corner and their booth was simply “try out a few of our samples free” and they literally had nothing to sell. They just said check us out later or in a store if you want to buy. It made me want to go buy.

How do you assess the happenings in the industry around you and how do you react to them (if you don’t react, tell us why not)?
I don’t really pay attention to anything going on in the industry. When I do see it, I try and not to click or read. I’m not saying this is the best method, but I prefer it because I’ve always just wanted to make the work I have thought would be most valuable and interesting. Looking at everything else doesn’t really help me do that, so I try and skip over it where possible.

Then one random one – if you could travel in time to any period, which era would you visit and why?
I’d travel to the future. I read a lot of books and work by futurists. I don’t see myself as someone who would build tech for the future, but I like thinking and talking about it. I’d probably go 10,000 years in the future. Although maybe I’d return and be sort of crazy because it will probably look so different from now, ha! There’s an org I like in San Francisco that is trying to work on ideas that will play out over the next 10,000 years called The Long Now Foundation, they built a clock that is going to function for that long, which is pretty crazy. So I’d like to hop in and visit then.

Death to Stock has definitely got a sole aim, to please and help the people. Everything the company does is for others, providing, creating, engaging and there’s no limit to how far this attitude can take you. As David said, it’s all about building trust and reassuring your audience that you’re in it for the long haul, and in it for them, that’s how you get results.

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