Nestled at the corner of Lincoln and Venice BLVD rests a Venice Beach staple, the Deus Ex Machina – Emporium of Postmodern Activities.
Our CEO, Mike Hoefer, connected with Andre Acosta from Deus Ex Machina’s flagship store in Venice, CA to chat retail, Venice Beach culture, custom bikes, and everyday carry kits. While The Emporium is undoubtedly a great place to get some work done or draft up that perfect Instagram caption, it’s the experience off your device, soaking it all in or chatting bikes and boards with good friends that sets Deus apart.
Darkened and crispy on the outside. Chewy and delicious on the inside. Welcome to The Emporium of Postmodern Activities. Deus Ex Machina’s third addition to its global ground fleet of marvel outlets is proudly located in Venice, CA—one of the most vibrant hubs of surf, bicycle, and motorcycle culture on planet Earth.
Read the interview below and make sure to stop by The Emporium of Postmodern Activities the next time you’re in the area to ogle some ridiculously cool bikes, grab a cold brew, and browse an epic selection of take-home goods. While you’re there make sure to peak into Woolie’s workshop or imagine catching a running left on one of the local shapes.
Mike Hoefer : Tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Deus:
Andre Acosta : Born in Miami, grew up in North Carolina but took my training wheels off while living in NYC for 10 years and lastly, moved to LA a little over 3 years ago.
I've dabbled in a couple of different fields, but I guess the most relevant to what I do now would be having worked for a few (mostly) men's apparel companies in various roles of brand management.
I was brought on by the fine folks at Deus as the Retail Director almost 3 years ago and it's been quite a journey!
MH : For those who may not be familiar with Deus and its mission, can you give us a quick synopsis?
AA : Deus Ex Machina (day-us - X - makeena) which translates to "god from the machine" was born out of love for all things culture, enthusiasm and fun! The company started in Sydney, Australia in 2006. Opening the first shop, named "House of Simple Pleasures" in Camperdown. Since then we've opened flagships in Bali, Venice (California), Milan and Tokyo.
The company never sought out to be one certain thing as our interests go way beyond solely motorcycles and surfing. Every location we open, tends to bring on a new element to the brand; Italy tackling our bicycle program "Cycleworks", Japan making beautiful snowboards (Powder Tools), we recently launched our record label and have a few more things up our sleeves!
Deus likes to have its hand in a lot of things and loves to keep our fans guessing "what will they do next!?". Whether it's apparel, motorcycles, bicycles, music, surfing, art, etc; It's all the same juice and that's the beauty of the brand. Our goal is to celebrate a culture of creativity and have fun while doing so!
MH : Custom motorcycles and surfboards seem to go hand-in-hand, why is that?
AA : Do they though?? I think that although they are both extremely different from one another, they seem to have similar aspects when it comes to building/shaping; let alone when riding them.
I'm a decent motorcycle rider and I pretty much suck at surfing (still working on getting better). But I think that they both take that same level of practice and patience. Once you fully understand how they function, you learn how to carve the lines.
They're also both very exclusive sports. But sometimes I think surfing is more so than motorcycling because there are only so many waves.. Or maybe it's because I suck so bad that no one wants to surf with me.. ha.
MH : Why was Venice on the list for flagship locations?
AA : Mostly because of how eclectic Venice was at the time. It invoked so many different cultures! Nothing is defined in Venice and so we felt that the area was and still is exactly what the ethos of Deus is; to not be defined as one thing.
Tone on tone.
MH : How were you able to adapt & assimilate so quickly to the local scene?
AA : I unfortunately was not around in the beginning of Deus in Venice. Having known the team out here who started it all, I saw how important it was to them that they created a space that welcomed the community and had a sense of inclusiveness.
In order to become part of the community here in Venice, they had to take part in it! Before Deus opened, the team was living here for a bit over a year. They were out every night with the locals, getting to know everyone and were lucky enough that the community welcomed them with open arms...well mostly everyone. But that is exactly what needs to be done. If you want to create a community, you have to be involved with it beforehand. You're always going to have the haters but the best way to deal with them is to include them in the fun!
MH : What factors do you weigh when deciding what brands to carry?
AA : Because Deus is such a diverse brand, it gives us such an advantage to what we can carry in the shop. I love when people come in and expect solely to see motorcycle and/or surf related stuff but then walk out with a completely different take on the brand.
One of my favorite things to do is introduce people to new things. Whether it be music or new brands, I am forever in search for new things to bring into the shop that our customers haven't been exposed to. So the unique factor definitely plays a big part in my decision.
I'm a big fan of packaging and design. Nothing too gimmicky; clean, sleek and nice typeface are a major plus!
Obviously functionality & durability are big ones in the decision making but in the end if a product or brand falls within the ethos of Deus, then the likelihood of me bringing it in, is pretty high.
MH : Your store is so much more than just a retail front. How have you been able to create a community hotspot where you can chill for a few hours?
AA : Free WiFi!! haha no, but really that does help things out! We have absolutely become a community office here in Venice which is mostly a good thing. Having a solid cup of coffee, a variety of food items and good tunes playing in the background, helps set the tone to keep people in the shop.
But let's not forget about our friendly staff and the amount of eye candy! The beautiful bikes that Woolie builds, the gorgeous boards that are shaped for us, art on the walls, books, magazines, clothing, gadgets, etc. It's always fun to watch someone try to leave when they keep getting distracted by all the great things that live in our space.
We also tend to have some great events at the shop every so often. And what better way to bring community together than with free booze, food and music!
MH : Deus carries shapes from local shapers and the legend Michael “Woolie” Woolaway has a shop on the premises, what parallels can you draw from boards to bikes?
AA : I would say that the boards and bikes that we have in the shop, both exceed a level of precision and detail. Woolie's builds are carefully thought out but you really don't know how it's going to turn out till you scrap that gas tank you've been working on for the last 12 hours. It's a lot of trial and error. I'm sure all the shapers we work with, go through the same thing. But in the end- when it's right, it's RIGHT.
MH : What do you keep in your EDC kit?
AA: I try not to carry too much on me but the items that I always double check for before I walk out the door are: keys, cellphone, wallet and my bone white Chapter knife by a brand called "James"!