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Meet Colleen Alexander and Spencer Dorsey of Discount Cemetery in San Fernando Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Colleen Alexander and Spencer Dorsey.

Colleen and Spencer, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Our story began ten years ago at a dive bar/venue in Philadelphia called Kung Fu Necktie. I had started a record label out of my mom’s house and just released my friends’ 7″ record. It was called “No Funeral” and we wore formal all-black attire for the occasion. This night happened to be our record release show. As I placed myself in the corner, packing record sleeves and setting up the merch table, I saw Colleen and she had this magnetic persona. Her charisma and energy was instantly apparent and highly contagious. There was something that drew me to her and we have been partners ever since. Safe to say, a loud dusty dive bar and one seemingly normal night can change your entire life forever.

We lived in the heart of South Philly for many years, enjoying its charm, it’s history and the city’s thriving D.I.Y punk scene. I was born in LA but moved out very young. I always dreamed of returning for good. Once Colleen touched down she too was hooked. We knew we were destined to be Angelenos. We made a pact with each other to move to Los Angeles. When the opportunity arose, without hesitation we packed up and headed to the best coast. One day, Colleen got me a little craft store screen printing kit as a gift. My sister is an amazing artist, she came to visit and taught me how to screen print and we made our first design together. We still have it in our shop to this day, every time I print it I think of her.

Every Halloween, we created a home haunt transforming our entire yard into a cemetery. All year, we looked forward to October and our favorite holiday. We loved sharing our passion for Halloween with our neighborhood, keeping its spirit alive. At this time, Colleen and I both had different positions working for the same company. Within the same year, we experienced downsizing and were both laid off. Colleen and I teamed up and went all in, chasing a dream together. Discount Cemetery was born. We combined our background growing up in Punk Rock, with our love for Horror and Halloween. Now our life’s work would align with what we were most passionate about. And now, everyday could be Halloween.

Has it been a smooth road?
We hit the ground running because we had each other and a mindset to always keep moving forward. Any road has its speed bumps, anything worth doing will be challenging. We choose to be hands on with every aspect of what we do. Everything from designing to screen printing to shipping and going on the road to events – it is just the two of us. We put everything we have physically, spiritually and mentally into this brand. That means long nights and very hard work. We feel tremendous support and are connected to an entire community. Our circle is called the “Skeleton Crew”. People inspired by the clothing we create is more than enough fuel to keep going. When we do finally get some sleep, we wake up grateful and excited to keep pursuing our dream.

Please tell us about Discount Cemetery.
Horror, Science Fiction & Punk Rock. We believe these things create a much-needed commentary that can and does in fact change the world. We want to do our part to contribute and bring forth positive change through creating quality clothing that’s as unique as you are. We print all of our garments by hand, here in the San Fernando Valley. We use manual printing techniques that have been passed down for decades. This ensures that everything we create is made with love and is a piece of art that you can enjoy for years to come. Community and Intersectionality is at the core of everything we do. We are proud to contribute to ACLU, Black Lives Matter LA & Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Everything from our packaging to our pop-up shop is focused on providing an elevated experience. We are best known for how we put a personal connection on everything that comes out of the Cemetery. We make mail order and vending events interactive. It isn’t just a merch table or opening a poly mailer in your mailbox, it is an enjoyable and empowering experience. We host virtual horror trivia on our social media, invite everyone to create mixtapes with us and much more. We want you to feel connected to us and to each other. By creating, printing and shipping everything ourselves, we have a very personal connection to every single product and every single person that joins the “Skeleton Crew”.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Colleen and I both grew up going to punk shows. We both joined the workforce as teenagers, so we were pretty independent early on. Although the punk mindset was anti-fashion, it was undeniable that each punk subculture had it’s own look or often at times, uniform. We both made our own clothes, frequented thrift stores and expressed ourselves through our clothing. I worked for an independent record distro & local record stores, as well as playing in punk bands. Merch was a big piece of the culture. The shirt you would wear was an extension of who you were, a flag you would fly every time you wore it. We still have some of our beaten and shredded clothes from back then, they bring back great memories every time we see or wear them.

Los Angeles has an iconic style and attitude when it comes to punk rock. It is also loaded with haunts and horror history. It is home to a network of people like us, inspired by the LA’s past, that want to bring it into the future. Los Angeles has everything you need and more. You just have to work hard and return the favor by respecting and adding value to its culture. We would not be where we are today without this city. We print “Made in LA” on every garment we make to pay tribute. We love Los Angeles and it’s people with all our hearts.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Priscilla Deathly @priscilladeathlyphoto, Marlee @marloween_, David Martinez, Christina Creeps @christinacreeps, Dior Jazmine @spyroyalty, Alfred Black @alfredblack

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