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Meet Zach Szakin of Virtual Confusion in Westwood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zach Szakin.

Zach, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
A little over three years ago, I moved from Dallas, Texas to Los Angeles to pursue a career in film. I worked on various productions to soon realize that I didn’t want to do film as much as I originally thought. Dreams change okay? After that, I worked a few other random jobs and ended up doing graphic design and marketing for company that provides online courses for teachers. However, LA is expensive and that caused me to be pretty broke which, really forced me to get creative.

After some thought, I landed on the idea of selling t-shirts online. My original idea for the theme and design of the shirts was awful and super generic. There had to be something that would set my brand apart from all the other clothing out there. Then it hit me; the 80’s. I loved the idea of creating t-shirts that looked like they could be from the 80’s but with absolute nonsense written on them.

Thus, Virtual Confusion was born. It was a decent amount of work to get the online store up and running, but it’s never been easier than now to do something like this, thanks to platforms like Shopify. As of now, I am working on marketing and creating new shirt designs for the store. I have no clue as to what will happen with Virtual Confusion, but it has been an amazing learning experience so far and I’m determined to make it go far.

Has it been a smooth road?
Pretty much ever since I moved out to LA, it’s been a one-way ride on the struggle bus. This is mostly due to financial matters but emotionally and physically too. The first place I lived at was in the Valley and it was definitely not a preferred living environment due to me having to basically be a nanny to three rambunctious boys. It was free rent though and I was grateful for that.

It was also pretty difficult trying to keep any of the money I made because of the inconceivable amount of parking tickets I received. From applying to numerous jobs and never hearing back, to just trying to pay rent on time, LA is not for the faint of heart. As for Virtual Confusion, trying to get it going has been very discouraging at times, but it is my goal to make this thing work. I just need some perseverance. Thankfully, I have been able to overcome most everything that’s been thrown at me and I don’t plan on leaving or quitting anytime soon.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I like to describe Virtual Confusion as a fast-food chicken nugget. No one really understands what it consists of, but they still enjoy it. I make 80’s styled t-shirts with phrases that have nothing to do with the 80’s, hence the confusion.

Any 80’s shirts I could find online all have some sort of verbiage relating to the 80’s but I have yet to see an 80’s styled shirt with something as random as the phrase, “donut kebab” on it, at least until now. I love seeing peoples puzzled stares when I wear one of my shirts around; I get a lot of questions about it. The beauty of it is you really just have to take it at face value. If you feel there is a deeper meaning to it, by all means, please find it.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I think LA is a great place to start a business. Granted, there are a lot of people trying to do a lot of the same thing and it is very competitive. On the flip-side, because there are so many people, you have a greater chance of meeting the right person or getting your product in front of more eyes. Plus, the rest of the world is always so fascinated with LA so by having a business located in this city, you already have the interest factor going for you.

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