Why did you decide to launch a footwear company at this time? What opportunities do you see in this market?
Tim Gavin: Right now we see a huge opportunity for a footwear brand with a different mind set when it comes to product. I decided it was the right time for a concept that I’ve always wanted to do for so long. I wanted to think different with our product as that is our primary focus. We are brand-driven and product-focused as we feel product prevails and a lot of what is out in the market simply looks very similar in terms of overall product mix. Our mix of product is very different as a total collection with no vulcanized soles in the first season. I always thought about how skateboarding, art, and music have such a deep connection. The catalyst for the footwear direction really came about in the discussion and belief that skateboarding is not only an art form, but a modern day individual sport. So, we used that as the basis to create a footwear collection that delivers great functionality and style. There is a quote from Mies van der Rohe that we use as a brand guideline: “Create form out of the nature of our tasks with the methods of our time.” That really says it all.
Meanwhile, in Cincinnati…
You recently started Hela Cool Skateboards. What’s the vision for the brand?
James Kelch: HELLA COOL SKATEBOARD CLUB is a little company I started on my front porch. It’s a cartoon me and my girl Lee Ann were working on. It’s about a princess who skates and has pets who skate. And a plant also. Each character is a version of a modern skater. Hella cat is the maniac rager skater. The princess is the skater who thinks they deserve everything. The bunny is the skater who can ollie but has no tricks. The squirrel is the skater who spins in circles running his mouth and won’t shut up. The potted plant named Potty is the stoned skater who you drop off at the park, and when you come to pick him up, he is sitting in the same place. He has no feet. They all live in a haunted house. I started it in May 2013. The vision is to just maintain and sustain a positive attitude in such a weird high-profile business-owned skateboard world. No pros at the moment. Maybe never. I have no plan. I let the universe decide what happens. I just go with the flow. Since I ain’t trying to get rich—I’m a vagrant—I won’t waste the money living like a movie star. It’s all for the club! And you’re all invited to join #HELLACOOLSKATEBOARDCLUB. And one more thing—the club isn’t about me or my past. It’s about enjoying skateboarding for what it’s worth. And the only thing it’s really worth is your own peace of mind.