Las Vegas has grown to become a foundation for a variety of communities. With the strip being the focal point, we want to shine a light on the cultures and influences that also contribute to the greatness found within the valley. Our latest edition of our ATG Hidden Gems highlights a shop located within the heart of Las Vegas that contributes to our DNA of music, art, and fashion. On The Arm checks off all of the boxes as they provide the valley with vintage apparel, footwear, events, and more. Their unique outlook gives the public the ability to obtain sought-after brands and labels. At this destination, consumers are able to buy, trade, and sell streetwear clothing in an environment that is educated specifically within the styles. We sat down with Mike, who is the founder of On The Arm to learn more about the history of the store and how its influence is becoming more than just a consignment shop.
At a very young age, his family introduced him to the world of fashion. The streetwear scene within Southern California was very prominent in this era and his parents were already highly involved in the primetime of sneaker culture. Their love for clothing and footwear started long before Mike’s arrival as they were invested in online forums such as NikeTalk and InStyleShoes. Mike’s parents would dress him in the latest clothing and sneakers and his love would evolve from there.
He remembers wearing a pair of Chicago Jordan 1’s and becoming a sneaker enthusiast ever since. But it wasn’t until his middle school years where he became more involved in clothing and streetwear. His uncle would introduce him to online sites including Karmaloop and Moose Limited. But what really triggered his passion was the implementation of Nike SB’s and everything that followed the “if you know, you know” behind it. Skate culture began to grow and he understood the trends; collecting exclusive Supreme content was his main criteria.
With time his collection would grow and he would obtain exclusive garments online and through in-store releases. This collection was in preparation for a bigger plan, which led him into his own business. Graduating from high school two years early, Mike was determined to open On The Arm. After three years of building his inventory, he would then travel to Las Vegas to open his very own store in 2016. Now being solidified within the industry, On The Arms has grown exponentially since its initial launch and Mike continues to thank his family for instilling the anchors of apparel and footwear as it allowed On The Arm’s the opportunity to become a successful location. We sat down with Mike and talked about his favorite moments within his adventure and what the future holds for On The Arms.
What was the concept for opening On The Arm?
Initially, I wanted a platform where I could showcase exclusive clothing but also give the people around me a place where they could excel and be a part of something big. At the time there wasn’t a lot of hyped clothing so I wanted to bring something to the city that wasn’t there before along with allowing the OTA name to help people in the same category.
Did you always want to have a shop here in Las Vegas? How did Las Vegas become the hometown for On The Arm?
Since I’m from California, I originally considered Hollywood, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, and even Chicago for a bit. Las Vegas was actually at the bottom of our list- I did my research though and my parents visited the city for a weekend trip. During this vacation, my dad called me up and said he found the perfect location for the store. Of course, I was skeptical as I was only 17 about to turn 18 at the time and I couldn’t do anything in Vegas. But my dad convinced me and a week later we went ahead and visited the spot. Once I got there, I envisioned it all and I knew this is the place for OTA. It was the last choice, but the best choice.
Any notable milestones or crazy experiences that have occurred at the shop?
There are way too many. But one of the most memorable was when we held a show with Pi'erre Bourne right before COVID last year. It was crazy to think that our storefront was turned into a venue and held about 150 people was really mind-boggling. We also held an event with Playboi Carti which was also surreal. He was incredibly personable and just wanted to meet everybody and have a good time. I would have never thought that I would see the day when my favorite rappers would be performing and hanging out at my own shop. Throwing concerts and events at OTA was an eye-opener for me and made me realize there is so much more to the shop.
But one thing about the shop that we are able to do is our Black Friday sales/hunts. For example last year we had a pair of the Freddy Kreuger SB’s on sale for $20. But the twist was you had to find it, no one found it at the end of the day. It is great to be able to do things like this as it shows how much we have grown and want to do cool things for the community. I’m excited to see what the next Black Friday event holds for the shop.
How did you grow your celebrity clientele? Did this grow into any personal relationships?
When I visited Round Two a lot in 2015, I would let people know that we were opening a shop up in Vegas and that’s where I would meet a lot of celebrities. But the first celebrity to actually pull through was Travis (Scott), which was about a month after opening. I actually DM’ed Chase B because I knew they were performing for Memorial Day Weekend but they never got back to me. So initially I was bummed but a month later I received a message back saying that they are trying to stop by. Though they weren’t as popular at the time, they really solidified our status and showed us the potential the store has.
But to me, the biggest relationship that was built through OTA was with Metro Boomin. He’s a producer and well-known within the music industry. He had a residency here at Light at the Mandalay Bay and during that time I would sell him stuff that evolved to us to just kickin’ it. We were both really young but success was rising for Metro so I asked him for advice as I was trying to find my way as an entrepreneur. He gave me great advice and pretty much said I had to keep working- the fruits of our labor may come overnight or within 10 years but regardless you cannot obtain the success you want without the work you put into it. This has stuck with me throughout my venture and he is now like a big brother to me and the closest relationship I’ve built through OTA.
What are your most sought-after products/What is the majority of products that you guys sell?
This kind of changes with the times. In the beginning, it was Supreme as many Youtubers would come through and purchase a lot of Supreme making it more limited. We still have quite a few of Supreme but we see the shift going back to exclusive sneakers. This is really cool because shoes are what I was originally rooted in. Now we see our shoes gaining more popularity than ever before.
How has the local Las Vegas community played into the success of your business?
We have a lot of love for our Las Vegas community as they have built and cemented our presence. If it wasn’t for our local support, especially with COVID, we would have become nothing. I think the locals appreciate the talent and style we bring to the City which allowed us to gain respect and recognition within the community. So we definitely appreciate their support and believe they were able to make us even more of a hyped location. We have grown deep roots in Vegas and it is now becoming my new home.
How does OTA help the environment?
One thing we like to take into account is that we originally began OTA with buying, selling, and trading exclusive pieces. This is important for the environment as we don’t have factories and we recycle clothing which reduces carbon emissions and offers a sustainable option when it comes to buying apparel. Instead of buying into fast fashion, this is another way of being more conscious of the industry and eco-friendly practices.
What’s next for On The Arm?
Right now we are trying to do a lot of build-outs for the shop. After seeing the success of the Pierre pop-up, I want to start implementing more events into our spot. We’ve got a couple of future collaborations with prominent artists, Metro Boomin is one of them and Playboi Carti being another. We are ultimately just trying to grow the brand and make people aware of us. We want to be a location where people can find exclusive streetwear pieces along with just a destination where everyone knows.
We’d like to thank Mike from On The Arm for taking the time to talk with us and give us the inside scoop on how the brand was developed and what is to come. Along with the exclusive interview, we will be launching a collaborative capsule that is geared towards Earth Day with hopes to spread the word on how to keep Mother Earth alive. A handful of the pieces within the capsule introduces a reversible aspect allowing users to get the most out of their garments giving you the ability to wear the tee inside out that illustrates things you can do to save the planet. The FEATURE x On The Arm collection is set to release Thursday, April 22nd, and will be available at On The Arm’s brick and mortar and our Chinatown and Wynn Las Vegas locations + online. For more information on the capsule, head to our Instagram to stay up to date as we will release more information throughout the week.