The Evolution Of Zenful Men

The Evolution of Zenful Men

So, back to where we left off…I've started meditating. Finally I’ve begun to drop the huge ego that I was carrying around everywhere with me. Feeling like a little bit of a tit since I used to walk around thinking I was Billy Big bollocks because of all the drugs I'd been around and all the girls I'd been chasing. But realising this was good; I'd changed. No longer motivated by shallow things in life, I’m carrying around a broader perspective. 

The more I looked around, the more I realised UK lads were entranced by getting pissed and trying to out-do each other with how many drugs they could take or how many girls they had slept with. And whilst we are not here to tell anybody to completely stop any of this, but to strive for balance, it ponders the question - Why can we be like this? Is this society that has shaped us this way or was it an innate, natural, male instinct of wanting to be an alpha? Personally, I think the first. 

I wanted to share the changes within my mindset and maybe make other lads wake up too. If I had undergone this substantial change in my way of thinking was it now possible that this mentality could be broadcasted? Could I help other lads in having what I would call a "spiritual awakening"? I f*cking think so. 

This is when Zenful Zak Made an appearance, I wanted to embody the LAD culture of your typical “CHAV". (For those of you reading outside of the UK - a CHAV is essentially what you could call a "roadman"; it stands for Council Housed And Violent.. and I've pretty much been called a chav my entire life LOL.) Zenful Zak is me, I am Zenful Zak. I use this character (drawn by a childhood best friend - Dominic Forte) to tell a story with a message that people can relate to. Wether that be Zak mediating around magic mushrooms with society burning in the background or doing Yoga to control his sexual urges; they all have a story to tell but we like to keep it cheeky for entertainment purposes 😏 If you haven't already, check out Zenful Zak in the Blog section of our website. 

Zenful Zak

So the spark for Zenful Men had been lit but the embers were just starting to flicker and I needed to fuel this idea so it could burn eternally and grasp the attention of males around the country. What could I incorporate to get the attention of my fellow brothers? How could I make a profitable business so that I could redirect profits to help out the family, elevate friends of mine to reach this new found mindset, and maybe try something positive rather than grabbing a 40 and heading down the local watering hole.

"Well i've always liked clothes" the ego inside myself spoke.

But could I incorporate clothes into an idea that was based around distancing the materialistic side of life and appreciating the smaller things?

"Why not?" The ego self persists.

If done properly, I began to see that a clothing brand was not so much as materialistic, but more of an opening into many of the practices and revelations that had been taking place inside my head. If done properly, I knew it could be right -

It would have to be sustainable.

It would have to be minimal.

Of course, the quality would have to be unparalleled as I'd spent many of my younger years spending 200-300 quid on shite expensive brands that actually held no materialistic purpose in quality... I'd recently spent £120 on a Bugo Hoss jumper, within 2 months the letters had half peeled themselves off…the letters literally resembled the Emoji: 🥴. We can do this SO much better I thought.. maybe I could make this work, maybe. 

Of course however, I didn't just want to make clothes. This was merely an aspect of the brand that we could use to monetise and re-invest profits into the future projects we had in mind. Whether that be events to spread the awareness of our ethos, programs we could put together to elevate people's mental health (a project we are nearly ready to launch), and also to be able to donate some of our proceeds to charity's that have helped my mental health - a way of giving back so to say.

During an extremely toxic relationship I was struggling really badly with my own depression - I had to use the MIND helpline and I was desperate for some counselling at this point. The woman was so supportive on the phone, she was able to calm me down and ground me - but she told me the wait for therapy support was up to 6 months!!! (This was 12 months ago still no word). Imagine - a struggling male had actually grown the bottle to reach out to somebody but had been told to wait to talk to somebody, and 6 months at that - this could have been catastrophic and I knew this charity needed more and more funding to help with this growing problem within our society. This had cemented the charity I wanted to support alongside the streetwear brand. 10% of all our profits would be donated to these guys alongside running our own health and mindfulness tips as well as sponsoring individuals where we could. 

I began to get to work with my uncle, Ian Neath and a Graphic Designer from Cannock in the West Midlands. We spent a good 4 months toying with the idea of a logo for Zenful Men. Until eventually we ended up with an iconic, almost retro style of ZM with a mandala background, and a Yoga stick-man sat on-top
of the letters inside. It was certainly unique, and I felt it was a great representation of what the brand would begin to represent - I also loved the retro style ZM, it showed my uncle’s passion for retro style gaming. It has a slight Zelda feel to it (a game I loved playing on my gameboy advanced when I was a teenager). I felt this gave my branding a connection to my youth and the simpler, deeper things that mattered to me. It was safe to say - My uncle had smashed it! 
So the branding was being cooked in the oven. Next was manufacturers. As previously stated I wasn't into my cheap clobber. I knew this would have a nock on effect with the pricing of our products. But I'd much rather charge a bit more for a garment people was proud to wear time and time again - instead of buying one and it getting chucked in the bin, becoming a victim of the throwaway fashion we see all the time. As the saying goes: buy cheap, buy twice. 

I came across a recommendation of a manufacturer in Nottingham - October Textiles. These guys had a client list longer that Usain Bolts leg and I have to admit, I was anxious to reach out! Even a cheeky little shit like me who doesn't necessarily worry about reaching out to strangers and initiating conversation. Looking back I think it was the passion within me burning that really wanted to make an impression on this manufacturer that had been around since the 1800's! 

After speaking to Paul - The ancient screen-printer from October Textiles. I basically asked him for the best quality T-shirt they had in the locker. He told me "The cheapest any other brand sells this T-shirt is £50" I had a look at the margins and I know I could reduce this to £34.99 at a push still working within an honest 2.4x profit margin basis. That meant every customer was receiving an incredible product at a value that would hold its own. 

Agreeing on a simple, minimalistic design was next - An adaptation of our Mandala logo (blacking out the background for embroidery purposes) and moving the yoga stickman onto the back of the neck with a tone on tone style of fabric design. I felt it was extremely unique and that my first product was done. The small touch of the yoga man in the unusual, but prevalent position on the neck was certainly the icing on the cake for me. 


We were nearly there! Nearly ready to push out this new movement that I hoped would grasp the attention of lads across the country and initiate change. I wanted to include some custom packaging that could be recycled ♻️ - this meant a lot to me as I believe in looking after our planet and how this is intrinsically linked to our own mental health. Happy Environment = A happy mind. I was happy to pay over the odds for this also, knowing that it would further give our brand dimension. 

We also brought 1000 recycled piece’s of printed cardboard, and printed them with a heartfelt message on behalf of the brand, making sure every customer would receive one with purchase. We wanted to send out a messaged of love and gratitude whilst also hitting home an important message about male suicide rates and a crisis in which we needed to pay attention too.
Want to experience this message? Grab yourself a garment 😉 I'm a cheeky bastard I know - I'm only joking. And I’m sure by this point you've seen them plastered over social media anyway lol.

That weekend, on February the 20th 2021, We opened our online store and the overwhelming amount of people that purchased a T-shirt actually brought a tear to my eye! Whether this was the building of emotion of anticipating the release of my brand or sheer shock of support from my peers, I don't know, but one thing was for certain - The movement had officially started and the ball was rolling. Zenful Men had begun.

 

We are now 6 months into trading. We have raised over £1,450 for MIND Charity, we have raised another £1000 for The rebuilding of Nepal Project, (In which we raised during a Charity football match with another clothing brand, that's right we built Zenful Men FC 😏). We have sponsored 3 individuals for counselling which we are extremely proud of - And we are building OUR VERY OWN Mental Heath initiative program... Something that means  more than anything to me. Being able to give back in a way that I can share my experiences with others allows me to see how far I've come and give back what I've learnt to family and friends - there is no better feeling in this world than watching Zenful Men create change in somebody's life. And now I've been asked to go back to my childhood High school to be a part of the PSHE sessions - we are making ripples like I could never of imagined 🌊🌊 


More information coming soon about our Natural Holistic approach to tackling your mental & physically well-being 🧘🏼‍♂️ Until then, feel free to check out our new selection of Premium Streetwear (I can't believe how many items we now have!) 

Just wanted to personally thank every single person that has stood by me throughout this process, it has not been easy, we still have a very long way to go. But the facts and figures speak for themselves and hand on heart I'm the happiest/most content I've ever been right now. That's down to the changes I had to make and implement to my own life, and I know Zenful Men has, and will, continue to elevate my brothers and sisters together 🙏.

Keep it Zenny. 

Sam aka Sneath aka Zenful Zak 

X