RECENTLY I THREW AROUND SOME QUALITY BANTER WITH FOUNDER OF JAEMSCO CLOTHING AND INCREDIBLY DECENT BLOKE, JAMES SCOTT: A CLASSIC HEARTWARMING TALE OF AN AVERAGE COUNTRY KID MAKING IT IN THE BIG SMOKE, THANKS TO A HEAP OF CREATIVE TALENT AND A TRUCKLOAD OF HARD YAKKA. JUST IN TIME FOR HIS COLLABORATION WITH NEWCASTLE MIRAGE, IT SEEMED ONLY FAIR THAT WE GAVE YOU ALL A GLIMPSE INTO THE LIFE OF ONE OF OUR NEW FAVOURITE NOVOCASTRIANS.
Originally from Bathurst, James’ childhood apparently consisted mostly of ‘playing footy and hanging out’. His interest in art began at a very early age, with young Jimmy often doing little doodles here and there.
‘I always liked drawing and that. And then when I was younger I liked a lot of tattoo shows,’ he said. ‘My mum took me into this tattoo shop... We got chatting to them and they said that I could go in and hang out for a day. I was only twelve! I used to help out in there, do some little odd jobs. After a while I started actually doing the stencils for them, and that’s where I actually learnt how to shade and how to colour, how to do a lot of that stuff.’
When he wasn’t sticking on stencils at the tattoo joint, James gave a number of other creative projects a go, such as decorating surfboards and producing a mock clothing line for school.
‘I painted on surfboards for mates and stuff like that,’ he explained. ‘I used to always do big A3 drawings, like tattoo-style drawings. For my HSC major Design and Technology project I did a clothing brand… I didn’t try to sell it or anything, but I got good feedback from mates.’
Unfortunately his talent wasn’t always appreciated, however, with his creative use of schoolbooks often landing him in the teachers’ bad books (at least his were more aesthetically pleasing, I guess).
‘At school I would get in trouble for drawing and stuff like that, like when I was supposed to be listening,’ he laughed. ‘Me and my mates always used to draw up logos and brands and stuff, just mucking around, and then when I moved up here I kind of took that all more seriously.’
In 2015, James moved to Newcastle and began his studies at UoN, where he ended up completing a Bachelor of Visual Communication. During his second year of uni, while living on campus at International House (#yeahthejuggers), a few rough shirts and a couple of keen mates threw everything into motion.
‘I went out to my mum’s cousin’s daughter’s place, and she has a kids’ clothing brand… I kind of went out with her one day and printed up a few shirts,’ he told me. ‘When I came back home Crawfo said to me, “What are those? I’ll buy them all off you for however much it cost you, I think they’re pretty mad.” Then some of the other boys said that if I got a couple more properly printed up that they would buy them.’
‘I never would’ve done it if they hadn’t sort of pushed me to do it. I would’ve always thought that no one was going to buy it so I wouldn’t have bothered, but once some of the boys got around it… I thought I’d give it a crack.’
And so, after being egged on by friends and doing some solid research, James used some leftover coin from his work at the tattoo shop to establish his own clothing line, known as JaemsCo. His consistent use of fun phrases and edgy artworks is bloody wonderful to look at, and with products ranging from T-shirts to long sleeves to hoodies, he’s got your back covered for every month of the year!
‘For me, JaemsCo has just been a big part of me. Like all the drawings and designs, they represent me, hence the name,’ he said. ‘I just try to make it represent having a bit of a laugh, having a good time, and focus it a lot around mateship and things like that.’
James also touches on these things when describing his design for Mirage – a piece that denotes grouse times and great friendships, something I’m sure we can all relate to our own time in Newcastle.
‘I came up with this design because I wanted to do something that was a representation of my drawing style and something that could be recognised by people,’ he described. ‘I also wanted to incorporate my experience in Newcastle, which has involved plenty of good times with some of my best friends.’
Since its humble beginnings in 2016, the business has gained substantial momentum in both Newy and its outer areas, with James regularly manning a stall at the Hunt a& Gather markets in town, as well as maintaining his online store.
But as the orders pour in, so too do the various challenges he has had to tackle, such as juggling studying with extensive hours of unpaid labour, as well as dealing with a lack of space.
‘I think that one of the biggest challenges is putting in all the hours and not getting anything out of it. I don’t think people realise that I might spend four hours at night counting stock and no one pays me for those four hours,’ he explained. ‘Another challenge, a big one too, was space. Living in my college room, I had boxes EVERYWHERE – I never had the space. And then when I moved out, my unit was always packed with clothes too.
‘I don’t think people actually realise the time that you put into it. Those are all the challenges: keeping your mindset to be able to want to do all that, because they’re the shit things.’
To help reduce some costs, James recently purchased his own screen-printing carousel, which has actually resulted in him setting up his second small business, a design and printing company called Good Daes. Not only does he design and create professional logos, he can now also do the printing himself, making him a smiley, black-haired one-stop-shop for all your promotional needs.
‘I sort of said that this year I was just going to go all out with everything. Because with the clothing, it was something I always enjoyed doing, but it was on the backburner because it was always – uni came first, work came first, even my social life kind of came first,’ he said. ‘I’d rather end this year broke as and give it a real red-hot go, because if it doesn’t work, then I can at least turn around and say that I know I gave it everything I could.’
James’ main goal for the year is to build up his brilliant brand even further, as well as trying to infiltrate a few more stores along the coast.
‘At the moment, I’ve just started importing a lot of stuff from China, so the next thing will be to release all that,’ he told me. ‘I’ve already got it in a store in Bathurst… It’d be cool to get into a few stores just to sort of spread the word a little bit more. At this stage, I think I’m less concerned about the money and more concerned about spreading the word, because that’s how you sell stuff these days.
‘One of my personal goals is to do a bit of tattooing… I never actually did one. I was sort of close to that point and then moved away, so yeah, I want to get back into that.’
When asked if he had any wise or whimsical words for all you young folk out there trying to create your own business, James’ main mantra is pretty much to just lace up your boots and start runnin’.
‘I think the first thing you need to find out is that you want to do it 100%,’ he stated. ‘Just give it a crack and go for it. I think not knowing and being a bit vulnerable can be a good thing; you never really know what’s around the corner, and I think that just makes you work harder.’
Not bad for a 21-year-old cobba from Bathurst, eh?!
Good on ya, Jimmy, you’re an inspiration to us all.
Have a sticky-beak at JaemsCo Clothing via www.jaemsco.com.au or check out his Instagram accounts @jaemscoclothing and @gooddaes.