Sometimes you make mistakes
Maybe I made a mistake, maybe I didn’t?
Chivaz has moved to Oregon and I am shifting the focus of the brand.
Since 2006, when I first began to think about awesome looking high quality long socks, I always envisioned that skateboarders and other “extreme” action sports figures would be the ones that helped bring Chivaz the exposure that would propel it into a successful and profitable company.
For years skate fashion was something that pushed the boundaries and innovated new looks. Typically skate fashion was worn by people that one hand didn’t give a shit what they looked like while on the the hand they had to conform to a certain standard.
Skaters are great because when they do something special, it really is special. The pictures and the videos coming out of the community always get a reaction and they are simply “viral” by nature.
I, like many other people, can watch skate clips for hours a night and constantly be amazed at the things they were doing.
On top of that, from a business standpoint, skate just made a lot of sense. Put some skaters in some Chivaz, they will look awesome while they do incredible things and the videos/pictures would be shared with the skate community. Then the skate community will see these awesome people in awesome socks and jump on the Chivaz bandwagon.
But alas, there is no set-it-and-forget-it in business. The fact still remained that these skaters got up and did something everyday that I simply didn’t have the balls to do.
I don’t have it in me to go shirtless over a 7 step gap time and time again until I finally land it. I still don’t understand how these guys can slam their bodies and still get up and try again. I mean most of these people aren’t wearing helmets and they are rail sliding something ridiculous on a piece of wood that has 4 wheels attached to it. I mean, holy crap. You have to be passionate and dedicated to something like that. I am in awe of these skaters, but honestly, I don’t understand them enough to base my whole company around what is driving them.
And thus, it was my bad.
Rule #1: Don’t market to people you don’t completely understand. When you do, it is obvious and you end up looking like a jackass
(#there are no other rules in this blog post)
Luckily for me, I have many friends that skate and I actually did learn how to do it, but at the end of the day, I still didn’t really get skating. Now that is not something that is easy to admit for me, but I think in order to move on, I must come clean.
And with that, I feel good. I never pretended to know skate, but I never fully admitted to myself that I didn’t get it either. I still have a ton of respect for skaters and I definitely identify with their passion and dedication, but it just became too hard for me to have to ask what type of trick someone was doing before incorrectly captioning an instagram post.
I am not planning on abandoning skate, I still have a ton of skaters that swear by Chivaz and I am thankful for that.
But, let’s be realistic here. I now live in a place that feels like home to me. I have Smith Rock and dozens of other places for trail running and climbing (both things I am amatuer at, but do on a weekly basis). I have a trail system set up for mountain biking and uncluttered streets for road cycling (both of which I have been passionate about for years). I am hiking and learning to camp, fish and all kinds of other things.
I am just simply thankful that I have the ability to get back to what feels right in my soul.
I have, like many of us, always felt like an outsider when it comes to this world. Here in Oregon the outsider and individual spirit is celebrated. I mean, the state slogan, depending on who you ask is “Alis volat propriis (She Flies With Her Own Wings)” or “We Love Dreamers.”
With that you might see more Chivaz “adventure” branding. But my definition of “adventure” is a bit more tame than others. An adventure is just getting out to do something you love.
Whether that is carving and flinging your own boomerangs or flying down Whoops trail on your MTB, Chivaz wants to be there. When you put on your Chivaz, you are telling yourself that you are following your passion that day.
So our new slogan for the day is:
Don’t be a sheep, be a goat!*
*full credit to my wife Zia (Live By Design!) for that slogan
It’s time to stop pretending I fit in. My real value is that I love a life of making socks. Thank you Oregon and all of the Chivaz Trip for helping me make this happen.
Stay tuned for more good things from Chivaz in the months to come!