When you think of snowboarding, what comes to mind? Fun, stoke, what the kids used to call Steez? Or perhaps all of the above? The Uninc crew symbolized all this and more.
All good things must come to an end, and sadly, 2009 was the last year of the Pig. For 2010, the boys have come back guns ablazing!
Yes (we can) snowboards is the brainchild of Romain De Marchi (RDM), JP Solberg (JPS), and David Carrier-Porcheron (DCP). The graphics are pure Jim Zbinden (JMZ) (see Hoon's interview with JMZ on 5ones.com) and the manufacturing is from Nidecker, which just oozes quality with its Swiss Army factory.
With all that Euro, you'd think YES is rocking the murse ("Plus it's not a purse, it's called a satchel. Indiana Jones wears one") while they ride a Vespa. To keep things legit in the U.S. market, YES has the dynamic duo of Donny Mealing (DM) and Chad Perrin (CP). We had the chance to "sit down" with this dream team and pick their brain.
Name? Business title and what that means?
DM: Title hmm No real title, possibly chief everything officer.
CP: Chad Perrin, Sales and Marketing Manager – it means I eat, sleep, and drink all things YES.
What were you doing prior to YES? How'd you get your start in the industry?
DM: Instructor Trainer / Supervisor at Mammoth Mountain.
CP: I started out in retail during the college years. I then became a sponsored rider and followed the dream for a few years living from one couch to another. In 96 I became a sales rep and moved to VT, where I also became involved with Out Of Bounds snowboard shop. I was the rep for Option Snowboards, 686 Clothing and XXX Snowboard Wax in New England and the Mid Atlantic. I then became the Team Manager for Option then eventually was the Global Marketing Manager until 2005. I also worked for Flow and most recently at MNMNT Snowboards as their GM. I joined YES late this fall.
Tell me more about the YES introduction and launch in the US.
DM: YES had a very passive launch in Vegas 09 at the SIA trade show, well passive, if you weren't partying with the boys. Really the intro was done through Neverland (Absinthe movie). When it was released, people realized the passion and dedication that the boys are putting into the brand. And that was really the springboard to YES getting into the public light.
CP: Yup, it was at SIA. The line was small, yet represented by three legendary riders that were a critical part of the Burton team and snowboarding history. It drew a lot of hype at both SIA and ISPO, and to have Nidecker backing it from a production side really made people pay attention as Nidecker is known for such high quality, Swiss craftsmanship... remaining individual, supporting the underdog, making amazing snowboards, and having a good time.
I gotta say the YES WE CAN slogan is very Obama, but also Bob the Builder. Where'd it come from?
DM: "Yes we can" was David's (DCP) words. Yeah, yes we can do it! The three of them can have lives after Burton! [Laughing] And you know YES, we have hope, and YES, we want to have fun. Plus it's a play off Obama and a reference to his Yes We Can campaign. Which for us is really cool.
CP: After Romain, DCP and JP were let go from Burton, their options for board sponsors were limited, as the industry paired with the economy was in a very difficult spot and they were not getting any serious offers. So as the sponsor search was happening for them so was Obama’s campaign for presidency, and they decided that “YES WE CAN” meant – YES WE CAN start our own company, and so from that phrase the name YES comes alive as a brand. The company is actually called YES. NOW BOARD, basically stating, shred right now in the here and now-have fun right now, leave your worries behind and let snowboarding right now define who you are.
You mentioned that YES will start with a list of key accounts at the retail level. How are you choosing your shop partners?
CP: We are partnering with retailers in each major region that authentically support snowboarding in their communities. Shops that understand what YES is all about and embodies, and most of all are fans of the brand and know who we are and what we are all about.
Tell me more about the association with Nidecker. Technically you work for them, right? Not many kids in the US are that familiar with them.
DM: Nidecker has an amazing story, It is a family owned company that have been making boards since 1984. It has been about quality since the start and their main focus is still about the product not the hype. That's why the co-op partnership between YESnowboard and Nidecker is so awesome. The boys can design boards and take care of hyping up the industry, the kids and the peeps while Nidecker produces the final product using that Swiss ingenuity they are famous for.
CP: Nidecker is a Swiss based brand that is really well known in Europe. Nidecker owns two factories and is known for its commitment to building high end, high quality products. Nidecker had a stronger presence in the US in the past, especially with the NDK brand (Antti Auti recently signed with NDK).
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this interview with the U.S. YES crew here. Plus we'll be testing one of their super-hyped boards shortly.