Originally launched in Boston, Massachusetts, over the years Bodega has become one of them highly respected, Consortium type, streetwear stores. After recently launching in Los Angeles, Bodega now boasts 2 US stores, with a global online customer base, as well as some of the most in demand drops and retail raffles from the likes of Nike, OFF-WHITE, adidas, YEEZY and Stone Island. We caught up with Matt Zaremba to discuss how he got into the industry and what plans Bodega have for 2019.
So first of all talk us through your role at Bodega and how you got there?
I’m the Director of Online Marketing here at Bodega. I oversee our marketing strategy which includes all digital channels including (but not limited to) social media, email, SEO, SEM, and of course bdgastore.com. Because we’re a very collaborative team, I also assist in managing projects or contributing to branding, customer support, or business development initiatives. It’s definitely a dynamic role and gives me a lot of freedom to utilize my experience and insight to contribute to the bigger picture and greater good of the business. Prior to Bodega I had been working for another streetwear e-commerce company for years. I have known the founders of Bodega since the beginning in 2006 so when it was time to start a new chapter in my career, Bodega was not only a perfect fit, but somewhere I intended to help grow because I’ve been a supporter of the company and brand for years.
What do you think are the main things that have changed in the streetwear industry over the last 5 years and how Bodega has evolved from a marketing perspective?
I think there is such a strong global influence in the industry right now, whereas in the past, certain cities and regional styles really dominated. It’s great to see brands popping up all over the world and people carving out their own trends, based on their own scenes as opposed to what one market is projecting at them. Additionally, things have shifted in terms of what a scalable business looks like. For example, what some people may have once considered as just re-sellers are now building multi-million dollar companies, and the very same brands they were selling on the secondary market are collaborating on releases with them. We’ve also seen streetwear become more intertwined with luxury fashion and start to have more influence over the greater fashion industry.
In regards to Bodega evolving from a marketing perspective, we’ve done a lot of backend work including a brand new redesign of the site, put a ton of new initiatives into play, and have continued to refine not only our product offerings, but also our creative approach in everything we do. Bodega is a marketplace, bricks-and-mortar retailer, private label, and in many ways, a creative force. That’s a lot of hats to wear and it’s important to us that we put authenticity, consideration, and originality in everything we do. To put it simply, we curate and create quality goods.
What have you enjoyed working on the most and why since working for Bodega?
It feels like every day, a new project comes in. So not only are we operating retail locations on both coasts and globally online, we’re also developing new product or working on a collaboration. There’s always something to do and I think being a part of a team with such a dynamic range of things to work on is enjoyable. Some of my favorite projects have been UX-related for the site and the re-design, various brand collabs like our recent G-Shock watch or Vans release, and the roll-out/opening of the LA shop… I could go on and on. It’s never boring, that’s for sure!
Bodega now has stores on both the East and West coast of the US. Do you think there is a still a difference in trends and styles on the different sides?
As I mentioned, there’s such a global influence on style now that regional trends are starting to transition. If we go into the history of streetwear and street fashion, there’s definitely differences in styles between the two coasts (same goes for music, art, etc) but I think in general, people are utilizing e-comm sites like Bodega to shop global styles and dial-in their style based on personal taste, not just what’s trending in their region.
“I think there is such a strong global influence in the industry right now, whereas in the past, certain cities and regional styles really dominated.”
Matt Zaremba, Marketing Director Bodega
What else can we expect from Bodega for 2019 without giving too much away?
Without giving much away, you can expect more US and international events, brand collabs, Bodega collections, new brands being added to the roster, and of course tons of new products and releases dropping on the regular.
Your favourite personal brands and sneaker styles?
I come from a skate, art, and music background, so for brands we carry, I’m into Carhartt WIP, Pleasures, Brain Dead, LQQK Studios, and Powers. For sneakers, I’m definitely an Air Max head (1 or 90 mostly), Nike Blazers, or Vans. I really liked the Nike Air Humara range and some of the Converse collabs the past few months.
What advice would you give to someone looking to make their way up the marketing ladder in the streetwear industry?
Gain a firm understanding of different aspects and branches of marketing, not just what you think is most appealing and relevant to THIS industry. You’d be surprised how many people are behind marketing for brands, that don’t come from a streetwear background. Learn analytics inside and out. Don’t get stuck in auto-pilot mode. Always look at what’s working and what’s not, then optimize and explore new opportunities to potentially move the needle. Take on challenges… Sometimes getting thrown into the fire (so to speak) is the best way to learn and prove yourself to be a valuable asset to the team. Lastly, pay attention to the industry and marketing trends as a whole.
What do you do when you are not heading marketing duties for one of the world’s most reputable streetwear and sneaker stores?
Most importantly I’m a dad to an amazing little dude (shout out to Augustus aka Gus) and I have another on the way. Family is everything. I’m also an exhibiting artist (@MatthewZaremba) and I still dabble in music, murals, etc. I’m big into the outdoors and getting out of the city for adventures as much as possible. Doing whatever keeps me inspired really… At 35 I’m all about a healthy work/life balance.