Three months in

Its been a lot of fun over these first three month since the Bolt store was launched in March. Signing the contract, and being instantly overcome with the fear of both the unknown and the known, I had little idea of what i was going to do, or what i could do. I really loved the space that much was for sure, the arch  at that time was still an office but with the glass front and the light beaming in, its potential was clear. I had three weeks over christmas to develop the concept, create the space and then open. It was always going to be essentially a motorcycle shop and social space but being an industrial unit any chance of obtaining a license to trade as cafe or bar was out of the question. I basically had no idea how to make the money for the rent and I didn't sleep very much over the first few days,  just kept stirring my coffee and waiting for an answer to appear.  

In truth the first step started a few months previously when i was worming my way through Brick lane having hoovered up black thursday's free bars as best I could. There in a dark corner was a massive light box, beautifully made in metal, as drunk as I was it was clearly too big to be dragged home. I came back the next morning and it was still there, I was not going to risk another day, it was coming back with me one way or another. I found an old packing cage with tiny coaster wheels, I managed to yank the light box on, overhanging a good three foot either side and precariously ploughed my way through the crowded streets, heckled as I went. The tiny wheels meant navigating the pavements was like tackling a motor-cross track with a boat balanced on a skateboard. I took to the roads with the determination of a rolling wall, a bemused police car kept track of my progress, until eventually I made it back to my lock-up in Dalston. Whilst I had no use for it, it gave me something to pin ideas to, whatever i did from now on i'd have a massive light box to advertise the fact that I was doing something.

My inspiration came from my friends who were already out their making things, whether is was apparel or art works, they were talented and doing things the right way. Whether it stemmed from a shared interest in motorcycles and scooters or by chance, there was an appreciation for craftsmanship, quality and timeless style that tied everything together. Such a simplistic approach leads to a purity in design and functionality. A camel is a horse designed by committee, and these were all products designed by individuals,  with a clear vision for how something should be.  

I was fortunate to be able to work with people who's work I was in awe of to make the idea of bolt a reality. From the first time I sat down with Graphic Designer David Hardy to talk about something other than engines I was really excited about the creative potential, and how much I was enjoying Lisa's pea soup. Steve Millington and Em prove were the first two artist collaborations and their different illustrative styles marked the stylistic scope of the brand.  

Converting an office into a motorcycle shop was never going to be easy with both a shortage of skills and cash. The desks were stripped out and the wood salvaged to make a dj box, whatever happened with things at least a few good parties would mark its journey. Over the next through months various items have been selvaged and the space has grown into itself organically. Even screws were extracted and reused.  

Having the initial support,  and working with friends like the Black Skulls, Scott Fraser Collection, Dawson Denim, Kindgom of Kicks, Sidewinder Apparel, Barrie Sharp, The Real Intellectuals, Redmax Speedshop, Old Empire Motorcycles, November Nooks and Muff Customs has been the best part so far, and I am continually inspired by what others are doing.  

The launch saw some 300 people and around a 100 bikes turn up and carried on through till 5am the next morning. Bolt is not easy to find, and Hackney filled with the sound of bikes circling, lost and frustrated. Over the coming days i'd piece together an idea of just how chaotic things had turned out as I found best forgotten pictures on my phone.     

Over the coming months Bolt will collaborate on a range of bespoke pieces including jewellery, denim, leather goods and sunglasses; and work with artists in the fields of illustration, photography, air-brushing and embroidery. There will also be a lot more custom bikes for sale passing through from different builders, and the first Bolt motorcycle.  

Every saturday from the 28th of June will see the weekly social, Tourism, kick off with bands and djs through out the summer. Independent record labels from the Kartel family will be curating the music with Platterform and guests providing a global kitchen. If you can still function and want to ride out somewhere on sundays check the Facebook page for details.  

Andrew AlmondComment