Gravis Hires New Senior Business Unit Director, Brian Moore

On January 5, 2003, The New York Times Magazine ran a piece, “How to Beat Nike, by Seth Stevenson. Pretty much everyone in the footwear industry read it. One passage stood out to Gravis Footwear President, David Schriber. “I read how New Balance was so anti-style that they were totally blasé about the person that probably put them on the map for the youth market. The passage to which Schriber refers:

NB’s lack of pizazz is nearly comical. One of its biggest hits was a shoe called the 801. Designed for trail running, it somehow struck a style nerve and sold more than a million pairs in a short time. When I asked a New Balance executive who designed it, he said: ”Oh, we let that guy go before the shoe took off. I don’t know where he is now.”

“We live in Burlington, Vermont, where the 800 series is still part of the uniform. I think about that shoe all the time. In its day, it hit just as we want Gravis to keep hitting. I wondered how accidents like that happen, says Schriber.

About the same time, Saucony Vice President of Product Marketing , Brian Moore, heard about an opening at Gravis. “The way they described the job, I felt like they weren’t taking it seriously enough. I tracked Schriber down and told him why I felt Gravis was in such a great position, and why I wanted to get involved, says Moore. “I could see a huge part of the footwear market heading in the direction of Gravis, and I wanted to meet it there to make it happen.

The two finally connected on the phone late one night, and about an hour into the discussion, Brian mentioned being a 24-year-old at New Balance and initiating the 800 series project . According to Schriber, “I was like, ‘You’re the guy from the New York Times article?! Holy shit! Tell me how that happened?’ When I heard how the 801 was no accident, I started to realize this was the guy we were looking for.

After New Balance, Brian Moore ended up at Saucony. There he engineered the re-emergence of the brand for youth by managing their Originals program. The Saucony Jazz, a low-price classics “accessory shoe to hook up with in-style clothing colors, became a streetwear staple.

“A few months into my role at Gravis, says Schriber, who moved over to Burton’s footwear start-up after 10 years in Burton Marketing, “I realized that we needed a pro. A lot of us here are homegrown, which helps us keep it real in board sports. The challenge was finding someone who came from footwear and could really get a handle on the Gravis user. It only took about a year, and he had to come find us, but, hey, we got him!

Gravis has clearly focused its attention on the 19 – 23 old, style-conscious, board sports participant while remaining extremely careful to remain a lifestyle brand and not simply become a equipment manufacturer. “We don’t make skate shoes. Yeah, you can skate in many of our shoes – they’re solid – but we don’t think you should be going out at night in your equipment. You don’t bring your skateboard to the club, says Schriber. Instead, Gravis has been developing a hybrid of athletic and casual footwear, with attention to details from board sports like skate, snow, and surf . The same mentality goes into their bags and sandals. “We’ve been very proud of our women’s bags, which seem to strike a balance between sport, function, and style. You can go out at night with them and not look like you’re going to the beach or the gym, but still represent surf as a part of your life.

These hallmarks are part of the attraction for Brian Moore. “You see a lot of brands inside board sports, but they are primarily category or sport specific, and so making lifestyle gear is kind of a betrayal of their core principles. Or the brand is a little guy that doesn’t have the backing of a successful company like Burton. And then there’s the footwear giants who, let’s face it, aren’t living this lifestyle, they’re just ying to bite off it, or buy their way in. Gravis is real. We’re authentic to action sports but have been lifestyle from the start, we’re loyal to our team riders who drive the product and the image, and we know how to make quality product.

Since Schriber has come on board, a lot of changes have been made, but the Pro Team (which includes surfers Benji Weatherly, Kalani Robb, Kassia Meador, and Blue Crush star Sanoe Lake, as well as snowboarders Dave Downing, Keir Dillon, JP Solberg, and Torah Bright) has remained central. “We just did a roundtable at the US Open of Surf, and within a couple of hours we were able to call bullshit on some things, totally validate others, and basically come home and execute. Anne-Marie Dacyshyn, Director-Brand Management, has the rider-directed process dialed.

It’s up to the home office to develop these team-backed concepts into viable shoes and bags. “I see a major cultural shift coming, says Moore, “that parallels the shifts I saw when I was at New Balance and again at Saucony. Surf, skate, and snow are becoming part of the basic style of youth. It’s not just kids playing video games, or wanna-bes hanging out at the mall in skate shoes. These are people genuinely putting on the styles that originate in board sports-and maybe they don’t even know where they came from. The board sport look is becoming the uniform of today’s style influencer and that will have a profound effect on the impact of authentic action sport brands.”

Moore has been through basic training at Gravis, which included a 72-hour team roundtable at Jake Burton’s house, tour of NYC boutiques, a surf retreat with the Gravis staff. Not long after, he spent 40 hours on planes flying to Argentina, strapped next to the Gravis reps on their way to the Summer Sales Meeting. “The next step is to lose him in the woods at Stowe, midwinter. If he rides out, he’s earned his wings, says Schriber. In the meantime, Gravis is launching its SS04 product line on the floor at ASR San Diego, a first for the brand. “This is our sickest line yet, so it’s a good high bar that Brian will have to keep clearing in the coming seasons.

Gravis and Analog Welcome New Marketing Manager Ben Velez

Gravis Footwear and co-located Analog Clothing have brought Ben Velez, former Director of Marketing and PR of NYC-based Triple Five Soul, as Marketing Manager. “We’ve completely turned over our Marketing Department with the additions of Team Manager Rebecca Roose, Art Manager Bodhi Oser, and Ben. We’ve actually had an impact on Vermont’s immigration figures!

Velez, an NYC native, has spent his last 3 years holding down the Marketing Department at the high-profile apparel/accessories brand, Triple Five Soul. “Triple Five feels quite comparable to Burton, Gravis and Analog in several ways. I have, repeatedly, positioned Gravis/Burton as a stable brand partner to Triple Five, so the evolution of the relationship is quite organic.” David Schriber, President of Gravis/Analog, says of Ben, “we’ve worked together, including collaboration on some product designs. Ben is a rare breed. He’s connected, he’s got an eye for style and design, yet he can drive a spreadsheet, write prose, and he can even ride a snowboard. For its size and marketing spending, Triple Five has had massive exposure and has built a solid following. “Ben has set a high standard for what an individual can contribute to building a brand. If you know about Triple 5, chances are, Ben had a hand in getting you the message.

Previous to driving the Triple Five Soul brand, Velez was a Project Director for the stealthy high-end London brand Maharishi, where, amongst other accolades, he co-authored and oversaw the production of owner Hardy Blechman’s socio-art coffee table tome, DPM. Prior to this stint in London, Velez earned his Marketing stripes as a self employed style council, having been a stylist, PR/Marketing consultant, events producer and all-around creative head.

Just as Gravis/Analog’s former Marketing Manager was leaving, Ben was contacting him about a job. “I got an email forwarded to me written by Ben. It said ‘Still thinking about leaving NYC.’ The second I see talented people wanting to come out of New York, I’m on the phone, says Schriber. “I called Ben’s cell and he was in the middle of a photo shoot, on location, trying to print a catalog, and on his way to an event he had set up. I think we said three sentences to each other, and that was the interview. Knowing his experience and reputation, and hearing his work ethic in real time, I didn’t need an hour to know he would be the right fit.

The Marketing Department Ben joins handles two brands, Gravis Footwear, and newly-launched Analog Clothing. It’s a multi-season, multi-board sport, multi-brand environment. Ben’s first day was at the annual Gravis retreat, where brand strategy is laid out for the next few seasons. “Although Schriber told me to speak out, I initially hung back and listened to the group out of a desire to enter the brand humbly. But at some point, I realized I had to play a part in it, and I jumped right in. Analog’s core crew was also at the retreat, warming up for a brand strategy session of their own, but the topic was Gravis, “It became clear to me that Gravis knew exactly where it was going, and it was time to get to work on it. A month later, in Argentina, at the Burton/Gravis/Analog summer sales meeting, Velez gained a Satori-like vision for the Analog image. “I was watching (Analog Creative Director) Tyson White present the spring Analog collections, looking at the new ads, and (a vision) for the brand kind of hit me full-force.”

According to Schriber, “The two brands complement each other. Both come from a rich heritage in snowboarding, from Burton-especially Analog’s ongoing style-lab outerwear collection. Our audience is the same: 19 – 23 old board sport lifestyle. We’re both developing progressive products and we believe in style. Our distribution, from more elite boutiques to sport and lifestyle specialty shops, overlaps almost entirely. And, I feel, both brands will benefit from Ben’s flavor.

Bodhi Oser Joins Gravis As Brand Art Director

Gravis rounds out its Marketing Dream Team with the hire of Bodhi Oser as Art Director. Gravis requires a great balance of art and style as well as experiential action sports market know-how. Oser, a seasoned veteran in the action sports and art direction arenas, has proven to be this Renaissance man.

Prior to joining the Gravis crew, Oser served as Art Director for Shorty’s Inc. for three years. His resume also boasts long-standing work with Quiksilver/Roxy, ESPN, Echo Audio, RCA Music, Sex Wax, Solitude, T. Adler Books and Arbor Snowboards. Beyond design, Oser’s lifetime passion for surf and snow alike (he has served as a judge on many East and West coast events) completes the rounded expertise that the Gravis brand requires.

“Driving the visual branding of Gravis was simply a natural fit. Gravis has always upheld a style aesthetic that is unique to itself in a manner that greatly compliments my own work. Gravis President David Schriber states “we now face the great and positive challenge of communicating Gravis’ visionary art-and-design brand assets to the greater public. Bodhi’s avid participation in our respective fields as both commercial industry expert and athlete and judge places his design sensibilities exactly where we need them – informed by the realest aspects of our market yet driven by the commercial necessities that drive it.ative head.

Just as Gravis/Analog’s former Marketing Manager was leaving, Ben was contacting him about a job. “I got an email forwarded to me written by Ben. It said ‘Still thinking about leaving NYC.’ The second I see talented people wanting to come out of New York, I’m on the phone, says Schriber. “I called Ben’s cell and he was in the middle of a photo shoot, on location, trying to print a catalog, and on his way to an event he had set up. I think we said three sentences to each other, and that was the interview. Knowing his experience and reputation, and hearing his work ethic in real time, I didn’t need an hour to know he would be the right fit.

The Marketing Department Ben joins handles two brands, Gravis Footwear, and newly-launched Analog Clothing. It’s a multi-season, multi-board sport, multi-brand environment. Ben’s first day was at the annual Gravis retreat, where brand strategy is laid out for the next few seasons. “Although Schriber told me to speak out, I initially hung back and listened to the group out of a desire to enter the brand humbly. But at some point, I realized I had to play a part in it, and I jumped right in. Analog’s core crew was also at the retreat, warming up for a brand strategy session of their own, but the topic was Gravis, “It became clear to me that Gravis knew exactly where it was going, and it was time to get to work on it. A month later, in Argentina, at the Burton/Gravis/Analog summer sales meeting, Velez gained a Satori-like vision for the Analog image. “I was watching (Analog Creative Director) Tyson White present the spring Analog collections, looking at the new ads, and (a vision) for the brand kind of hit me full-force.”

According to Schriber, “The two brands complement each other. Both come from a rich heritage in snowboarding, from Burton-especially Analog’s ongoing style-lab outerwear collection. Our audience is the same: 19 – 23 old board sport lifestyle. We’re both developing progressive products and we believe in style. Our distribution, from more elite boutiques to sport and lifestyle specialty shops, overlaps almost entirely. And, I feel, both brands will benefit from Ben’s flavor.

Bodhi Oser Joins Gravis As Brand Art Director

Gravis rounds out its Marketing Dream Team with the hire of Bodhi Oser as Art Director. Gravis requires a great balance of art and style as well as experiential action sports market know-how. Oser, a seasoned veteran in the action sports and art direction arenas, has proven to be this Renaissance man.

Prior to joining the Gravis crew, Oser served as Art Director for Shorty’s Inc. for three years. His resume also boasts long-standing work with Quiksilver/Roxy, ESPN, Echo Audio, RCA Music, Sex Wax, Solitude, T. Adler Books and Arbor Snowboards. Beyond design, Oser’s lifetime passion for surf and snow alike (he has served as a judge on many East and West coast events) completes the rounded expertise that the Gravis brand requires.

“Driving the visual branding of Gravis was simply a natural fit. Gravis has always upheld a style aesthetic that is unique to itself in a manner that greatly compliments my own work. Gravis President David Schriber states “we now face the great and positive challenge of communicating Gravis’ visionary art-and-design brand assets to the greater public. Bodhi’s avid participation in our respective fields as both commercial industry expert and athlete and judge places his design sensibilities exactly where we need them – informed by the realest aspects of our market yet driven by the commercial necessities that drive it.