Few brands have been able to grab the attention of their city quite like eTceTra (eTc). eTc has been able to build a hub for fashion and collaboration through their eTc Tacoma store.
With Evergreen State influenced clothing, eTc has been able to solidify themselves as one of the most promising up and coming clothing brands in the Northwest. With a heart that lies in Tacoma, they continue to put on for their town and represent the grit that the best of Tac-town has to offer.
We at RMR will be working alongside eTc for our eighth anniversary. To mark the historic collaboration, we wanted to conduct a deep dive into what eTc is, their history, and what’s to come. I had the opportunity to catch up with eTc’s owner, Umi.
RMR Exclusive Interview With eTc Umi
*This interview was edited for clarity*
RMR: I’ve written about eTc before, but it’s great to be able to hear it from the original source. For all of those out there wondering, what is eTceTra?
Umi: eTceTra is the brand. The apparel, accessories and those kinds of things. eTc Tacoma is the store. The two are separated because eTc solely focuses on branding. eTc Tacoma acts differently by being a storefront and creative space for the community. Originally we had brands from all around the world, but as time went on it made more sense financially to focus on our own product. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be other brands in the future.
RMR: eTceTra is nearing the 5-year mark. Y’all have done and accomplished a plethora of things up until this point. What has eTc accomplished to this point?
Umi: Building up our open mic night to be something that’s sponsored is still a really big deal to me. Shout out to Mary Mart for being the sponsor for it. They provide all the equipment and they always show out for us. Other than that all of our in-store events we’ve been able to cultivate for artists that aren’t just musicians. We’re talking about sculptures, painters, glass blowers. But with that connecting people and being a hub. When people say “Where can you meet me in Tacoma?” it’s dope that people can say “Oh eTc” or “Down by eTc!”
RMR: When you think of eTc, what are some of the most iconic pieces that pop in your mind?
Umi: My taste is a little different than the consumer but the Mount Tacoma is our sell-out hat. The Take Off Take Out t-shirt and Frisko Freeze t-shirt definitely stick out to me. The Take Off Take Out shirt is a graphic that’s inspired by an artist who paints throughout the region. We saw the original artwork at the Taste of Tacoma and we knew we had to work on it. He combined several different landmarks from the region and combined it into one piece. He was always making it look like an island or ocean, and we decided to flip it into space. Frisko Freeze is always in our mind as well. They’re loved and well-known but there isn’t a lot of art based around it. We decided to make a shirt inspired by them because it’s truly 1 of 1.
RMR: In the future, what’s coming up for eTc?
Umi: We want to focus on the 5-year celebration in July. Year number 5 is huge. We’ve been reaching a lot better growth so we’re going to be making a little more. We want to boost product supplies to be seen in other retailers. It won’t only be under eTc’s roof anymore. We’re hoping to work alongside some brands up north sometime soon. Where people from Seattle can go to a local store to get our gear is dope. This way it’s more accessible for people all around the state.
RMR: We talked about the five-year celebration, what is going to come up for eTc in the next 5 years?
Umi: We want to really feel like we took over Tacoma. People say we already have, but it should be like how BAPE was in Harujuku. Everybody has it on. It wasn’t like Supreme with hype, it was like it was a true lifestyle. Columbia is huge right now and they were super cool at the time. We want to be like that. We want to be like Filson more than anyone else. They’re vertically integrated and we want to be able to give job opportunities like that.
RMR: Years from now, what do you want eTc to be remembered as?
Umi: Mostly as a brand from Tacoma, and also a brand for the Pacific Northwest. It’s like what does our region have that’s cool? With Patagonia and stuff, there’s a lot of stereotypes and looks that get attached to them. No matter what that’ll happen to us too if we got to that level. We want something that feels based on lifestyle branding, pop culture, and a fashion world mesh. Imperial Motion is a Tacoma brand, but push it to the side and not cherish it. There should be more compassion for brands based through our region. We want to be a lifestyle brand that lasted.
RMR: Your guys’ winter release did very well. Just released the canary jersey and triple eTc hoodie, can you tell me a little bit about your most recent releases?
Umi: Everything that dropped at the end of the year was considered our holiday releases. We literally just thought “what would be good gifts to give?” and built around that. This is why all the releases were very Dome-centric. We’re from Tacoma so let’s play to our fan base. That way in the future we can spread the Tacoma-ness elsewhere. The goal is to be more up on it. We want to be low quantity and keep things moving. We want the two to three hundred who have it to never see each other, and when they do they can link up through the brand. We’re going to start pushing to release every two weeks to try and give our consumers what they want. We’re ready to saturate the market.
RMR: What’s coming up here soon for eTc?
Umi: Our Winter 2019 release is set to drop on February 16th. Black History Month piece is gonna be sneaking into February somewhere. We have some dope things planned for the month, but we don’t have specific release dates quite yet. Then we’re gonna be doing Climb Tacoma, it’s free and we want people to get in and know about it. To be in the space and be comfortable to learn about the business is gonna be a dope opportunity. We really want to focus on business to business connections and build our relationships.
RMR: So our 8th anniversary is coming up and I hear you’re apart of it. What’s the news on that?
Umi: We’re gonna be hosting a cipher alongside RMR. We’ve always been huge RMR fans and one phone call with Joey let me know that it’s mutual. I always felt like the events you throw, helping out weed companies, keeping people in the loop have always felt extremely genuine. We wanted our first collab to be organic. We’ve always seen each other around but it was never the right timing. I feel like now is a perfect time, we’re both in a comfortable space and it’s perfect. GMK & Duke are gonna be producing beats live for locals to go in over. We want to make sure we can support RMR and their future ventures throughout Seattle. If all goes well we hope to have some very exclusive merch.
RMR: Anything else you’d like to cover?
Umi: Besides all that just make sure you follow us on our socials and remember the date, July 20th is our fifth year anniversary! We’re planning some dope stuff so make sure you’re on the lookout.