Posts Tagged ‘Alex is the Answer’

Alex Olson’s Braids Go Hard Dudes

March 6, 2014

fred_grandy

Time was, a young man headed west to probe the frontier, seek fortune and treasure, and just maybe discover a small piece of the American Dream along the way. This was the inspiring tale behind such 1980s computer game franchises such as ‘Tha Oregon Trail’ and 1990s escapades in skateboard distributorship involving chiefly American Dream Unit, but the ensuing years have seen several stars realign and scripts flipped such that Alex Olson, heir to a Dagger dynasty and budding entrepreneur, leaves the Southern California desert basin that raised him in search of a more-inspired industry pathway to be had in New York City, known to some as the City of Lights.

Of a piece with the ‘classic era’ tricks and sensibility that helped land a young Alex Parker Olson on the cover of that now de-funked Skateboarder mag, the breakaway Crailtapper’s brand vision involves pushing skating outside its corporate and cultural comfort zone. However, a couple decades removed from the racially/sexually/violently charged graphics of the World heyday, Alex Olson’s personal vision quest seems to revolve in large part around some of the few remaining industry taboos to be had: the Italian tongue, rave music and a more malleable view of sexual orientations that earned him a ‘Skate or Bi-Curious’ T-Eddy award. Is he or isn’t he? What’s up with the phone number? Will the market continue to bear premium prices for fancy t-shirts? Is Bianca Chandon what’s hot in the streets?

Alex Olson recently divulged some of the venture’s spiritual touchstones when crafting the company with raw mindpower.

AO: I think I had mentioned to Brian (Anderson) before 3D was thought up that it would be really cool to name a company after a boat.

Belying Alex Olson’s beguiling cat-and-mouse branding game is a quiet assertion of aggression via his recent hairstyle, as captured within some Thrasher photos. The embrace of pigtail braids not only pushes the grand Alex Olson envelope that much further, it also harkens back to 1990s rap hairstyles sported by game-related legends ranging from Snoop Doggy Dogg to Wish Bone, Ice T and that other redheaded stranger, Willie Nelson. Alex Olson is challenging the industry to keep pace with his assertive moves, even as he challenges up and comers to match his vertically oriented wallrides, absorb his rave sounds and sport spotless white linens on tough city streets.

AO: I wonder if pigtails will come in as the new style.

TWS: You launched it bro.

AO: It would be funny if everyone had pigtails (Laughs.)

Is the onetime APO nonchalantly carving out his own lane or risking a multi-car pileup by shifting gears on fickle hard- and softgoods consumers one too many times? Will the Supreme vid answer all or just unspool further questions, like an unhelpful Cheshire Cat that is also bearing coveted Scott Johnston clips? Will Bianca Chandon’s party line grow in stature to one day rival They Might Be Giants’ ‘Dial-a-Song’ service for domestic phoneholders? 

Rob Dyrdek Bids Against Self In AWS Pursuit, Vexes Merger Arbs

January 14, 2012

As skateboarding’s most-recognized dealmaker, Rob Dyrdek has built his career on the risk of embracing different kinds of risk. A Jackass for the CNBC set, Dyrdek is as comfortable negotiating his homeboys’ contract terms from beneath a Motel 6 hangover as he is nollie frontside nosesliding to fakie or cooly inhaling intoxicants from colorful balloons at a European rave event. Among those who invest their business expense money in gas station trinkets and accept automobiles as payment, Dyrdek’s business sense is high lore, which only added to the shock following his premature exaltation this week that he would take ownership of the hardgoods concern that has employed him since he was a tyke.

Dyrdek surely knows that dealmaking of any kind is a gamble, yet chose to break a cardinal rule of M&A and show his hand to his opponent — the snurfer lord Jake Burton — by announcing not only the advanced stages of their deal talks but vowing to keep the beloved Ohio memory-screener under his financial protection forevermore, implying that profits and losses are but a passing fancy on the wind that take a back seat to his emotional connection to the Alien Workshop. Which is understandable and even worthy of praise from fans such as this weblogging site that bore with some of the at-times questionable decisions re: team and otherwise over the past 10 years, but Dyrdek’s business sense oughtta be reptilian enough at this point not to let something like love enter the picture when you’re trying to bend your trading counterparty over the table.

The deal confuses me. Few details are out there, because maybe they have yet to all be determined. Let’s assume Dyrdek buys DNA Distribution in full from Burton. He gets AWS, Habitat, Reflex bearings, Habitat shoes. I would think Burton keeps Gravis’ IVSK8 effort. For one thing I wonder why Burton would sell after acquiring the AWS business just four years ago. Maybe Burton is looking to trim its balance sheet, as they’re rumored to also be trying to unload a surfboard company also. Decks and wheels are known not to be tremendous moneymakers and the t-shirts/hats/etc business seems as flooded as ever. What I don’t get is how Dyrdek would be able to run it more profitably as a standalone company, since you would assume that under the Burton umbrella AWS could get better deals on materials like shirts and pants and whatnot since Burton already buys a lot of that stuff for its own purposes. Maybe he has plans to integrate his Rogue Status thing there, or realign AWS with DC, by way of Habitat shoes. DC’s new advertising person would be interested in such a move no doubt.

The most likely scenario to me seems like Dyrdek becoming majority-owner with Burton keeping a stake, since that way maybe the two companies could maintain their ties in terms of volume discounts on raw goods, stocking DNA and perhaps other Dyrdek products in Burton stores, some skateboard-world cred for Burton, etc. Long-term I’m not sure whether such a deal’s a positive in terms of DNA, or at least Alien, maintaining the weird and “separate” vibe that made it seem to cut deeper and matter more than your typical deck and urethane purveyour. You’d like to think that Dyrdek the actual dude stands somewhat apart from the MTV and Street League character, and that he knows when to leave shit well enough alone. I think he trusts Carter/Hill/Castrucci.