Start-up companies founded by riders have been a part of snowboarding since the beginning. Some of them have gone from grassroots to global moneymaking machines. Some gain momentum with hype, but soon after fizzle out and the limited t-shirts, stickers or sweatpants become a coveted item of snowboarding’s past. Dinosaurs Will Die has taken neither of these paths, and instead beaten one of their own. This week I had a chat with Jeff Keenan, owner of DWD about how the brand started, competes in today’s market of snowboard conglomerates and stays true to the vision the brand was based upon. Founded by Jeff and Sean Genovese, DWD has grown from a simple idea in the brains of two snowboarders, to a world-wide distributed brand, all the while gaining momentum with a cult-like following.
How did Dinos start?
We started in Sean’s parents’ basement, in Surrey B.C. Â Sean and I shared a similar idea of what a snowboard company should be. At the time, we both idolized skateboard companies; how they operated and their raw feel. We decided to create a company based on this vision, a true rider-based company. 100% of the initial investment came from our pockets. We were the team riders and our own boss, so we could make company decisions that directly reflect the inspiration seeping from our minds.
A hard day at the office. Jeff Keenan, photo by Evan Chandler Soanes
How did you guys start marketing Dinos?
Sean and I both come from a background heavily based in the film aspect of snowboarding. We stuck to what we knew best, and we created a quasi-web campaign. ItÂ consisted of several mini videos of Sean and I that never really let on to what we were producing. I think there was a little bit of guesswork involved if you were watching them, because it was never really clear. Â And that’s what we wanted.
How did you guys implement a production plan, find a factory, get distribution, and the logistics of making boards dialed in?
DWD has always had quality in mind. We set out to make the best quality board that we could and at first we really wanted to build them in North America and support our economy without having to go overseas. We talked to many factories and choose one who we felt we had an opportunity to work hand in hand with, and not be just ‘some company’ on a long list of punch-out boards. In the end we started producing boards in Southern California. Our relationship with the factory was key and we were very happy with the outcome at that time.
Jeff Keenan kicks one out. Photo: Jeff Patterson
Where are the boards made now?
We never planned to produce outside of North America; however, the factory we were using at the time implemented some major changes. These changes ended up not being in our favor, so it was time to move on. Back to the drawing boards we went; we researched factories and had face-to-face meetings at SIA to see what was out there. Meanwhile, one of my old sponsors shut the doors to their factory in Vancouver.Â Because of that, many friends who had worked at that factory had moved on and dispersed amongst factories worldwide. When we sat down with the ELAN we realized that we knew some of the staff and they were like-minded in how we wanted our snowboards produced. That’s when we knew we had arrived at our new home.
How do you compete with the big dogs out there?
BIG dogs take BIG shits.
Who’s on the team?
Right this second our riders are Chris Larson, Brendon Hupp, Geno and myself,Â with a fifth in the near future.Â We also have a great family of AM riders who support us as well; they hold it down big time.Â Everyone who is a part of DWD has full input into the board design and graphics. We run everything through the riders before production.Â Without our team, our board line would probably just be a model line for Genovese and for myself.
Do you trust this face? Cause you probably should, even if he is Canadian.
What’s in store for the future?
Rumors of a movie are upon us, we will evolve!
Tell me about making DWD t-shirts in the beginning.
Many companies start as a t-shirt company, and then branch off into something else. We figured out boards first and t-shirts were the afterthought. In the beginning we just made our own t’s from printout iron on transfers that included instructions on our website for application. This way, anyone who was into what we were doing could make their own DWD tee for free by downloading the graphics. Sean and I made hundreds of these and we got really good at them. We were cuttingÂ out the transfer paper, screening them to a white tee, cutting them out of the t and sewing them on to a black tee. Â All this was done to give out to our friends.
Stay tuned for next week when Jeff walks us through the steps of making your own graphics on t-shirts from home. Either just for fun or for your new start up company, DWD is going to hook you up with insider t-shirt making knowledge. It’s worth a try. For now, enjoy some classic DWD vids.
https://yobeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/DWDasnowboardco.jpg396381Colleen Quigleyhttps://yobeat.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/logo-2.pngColleen Quigley2011-11-25 15:43:512012-08-18 18:48:14Gingervitus Goes Inside Dinosaurs will Die