D.I.Y. N.J.

By Matt Chrystal (WNJ correspondent)

These days, you can’t venture too far in any direction in New Jersey without tripping over a pop-up-punk-rock flea market or bazaar, a record show or swap, an outdoor festival, a farmer’s market or a comic-toy- tattoo convention… and that’s a good thing! In fact, it’s a great thing… it provides an alternative to the mainstream shopping mall-big box-big business formats that have become all too commonplace in the world around us. These “alternative events” allow for customers and the curious to get a taste of homemade goods (goods that are actually good and actually made in a home) and sample products made with care (that are made by actual people who actually care)… it provides an atmosphere for people to meet and socialize… and it provides an “X marks the spot” on the map of NJ for people to find obscure treasure! But for me… the real treasure can be found by talking to the vendors, the creators and the entrepreneurs who are out there following their dreams and really doing it themselves.

There are some truly amazing stories out there about the journeys of New Jerseyans, who woke up one day and decided it was time to set out against the grain to follow their visions through to fruition. So, to kickoff the summer of 2016, each week I will be spotlighting a DIY brand that is raising hell, going wild or otherwise “Breaking Bad” in the good ole’ Garden State.
This weekly series will explore the who’s, how’s, why’s and what’s happenin’ behind several of New Jersey’s most unique and interesting DIY brands. I’ll check in on tattoo artists, pomade purveyors, hot sauce hawkers, craft beer brewers, emerging bands, classic barbers, b-movie makers, burlesque dancers, beard growers, music bloggers and record company reps as they as strive to find a release from the typical constraints of normal society and follows their transformation from hopeful upstarts to badass entrepreneurs.