Punk rock is a music genre that is rich in culture, and those who are part of the community are dedicated to listening to their favorite bands and wearing their favorite dark clothes and accessories.
DeadRockers is a local punk rock clothing and music shop located on Fourth Street in Long Beach where punks in the area can go for anything they need. From exclusive records to cruelty-free clothing brands, the shop has uniquely curated items picked by its owner Lindsay Shaver.
Established in 2005, DeadRockers started off when Shaver spotted a need for more places where she, friends, and other punk rockers could go to buy the music and clothes that they actually liked, without having to travel all the way to Hollywood to find something.
“I just started sourcing brands and alternative companies and record labels,” Shaver said. “I started doing pop-ups, which is like such a thing now, but back then it was not.”
Setting up shop at shows and roller derbies was only the beginning for DeadRockers. Shaver then moved on to the digital space, trying to reach customers through the internet. She began selling on the social networking site MySpace, then eventually built her own website.
“I always just thought of [DeadRockers] being like an online thing,” she said. “I always dreamt about having a store, of course, that would be cool but that was so unaffordable to me at the time.”
As the store continued to grow, different opportunities presented themselves for DeadRockers to have a storefront. With sacrifices, hard work and dedication from Shaver, customers can now walk into a store full of leather jackets, band tees, records, boots, and more.
But running a small business is not as easy as people may think. Shaver said that she thinks people have a preconceived notion that business owners have “insane flexibility” in their work schedule but “I’ve never had less time in my entire life, it’s a 24/7 thing.”
Along with packing and shipping orders from her house before getting to the store, Shaver does her own inventory, bookkeeping, marketing, social media, email blasts and even accounting.
“I’d say physically being in the storefront is really only about 10% of my job,” she said. “Being in [the store] and ringing people up obviously is a very, very important part of it but it is also a small portion of what I actually do.”
Shaver credits being a good business owner with her self-discipline and loving what she does. Three elements that are her favorite part about being her own boss are meeting people in the community, sourcing new products not found anywhere else, and collaborating with different bands.
“In the last two years, we’ve got to work with a lot of bands doing exclusive releases on records for the store,” Shaver said. “That’s been really personally rewarding for me because some of those bands are bands that I’ve been listening to my whole life, and it’s awesome to be able to work with them.”
Being into punk rock music since her early teens, Shaver has experienced a sense of community in the punk rock scene. Even as a business owner, she said the community continues in punk store owners all over the country. That is why it was so hard to see other businesses close due to difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was really sad to watch so many people suffer and go, and go through that, you know,” Shaver said. “Seeing big places go out of business is always a shocker.”
During the pandemic, Shaver thinks that DeadRockers was lucky to already have an established online and social media presence.
“I kind of went into fight or flight mode and I pushed everything online, and tried to remain really active on social media, and anything we could to keep everything going,” she said. “And I feel really grateful for all the people that supported us during it because we are still here and we’re OK.”
Even though the effects of the pandemic are slowly resolving, small businesses are still being affected. About 25% of small businesses in California are still feeling large negative effects of the pandemic, according to the Small Business Pulse Survey done by the U.S. Census.
But Shaver has been noticing a shift happening in business since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.
“A lot more people want to come into the store, people want to get back out there,” she said. “They want to see stuff in person.”
Which in turn could mean that business will be back to usual as it once was. DeadRockers will continue to offer many of its products on its website as it had done before.
Shaver encourages anyone who is not only interested in punk rock but also likes horror movies, or anyone with a deep appreciation for subcultures to check out DeadRockers.
“If you’re an open-minded individual that has an interest in subcultures, you’ll feel at home,” she said. “We welcome everyone and it’s a safe space for everyone.”