YEA.NICE. It’s A Brand.
Owners: JJ Thomas and Josh Sherman
Office: Boulder, Colorado
Shelves Since: October 2nd, 2010
Team: JJ Thomas, Queralt Castellet, Linn Haug, Kendall Brown, Zack Black, Dirty Disco Kidz, Shane Flood, Josh Sherman, Bryan Daino, Scotty McNally, Colin Spencer, Mark Hoyt, Kevin Senes.
When I first saw JJ Thomas kicking it in his custom YEA.NICE gear, I thought nothing of it. JJ’s always been a style-savvy kind of guy, so the natural response was to assume he was just running some heady Euro threads, or was kitted out by some new city boutique, etc. Fast-forward to a year or so later, and people are starting to get the tip: JJ and his good buddy Josh Sherman have a full-on brand pushing through the seam. YEA.NICE apparel, hats, and stickers are popping up all over Colorado, SoCal, and the Northwest, as well as everywhere along the competition circuit and tours. You might see the logo while shopping at Tactics, or being repped on the podium during this year’s Dew Tour (both JJ and teamrider Queralt Castellet are in the running for the Dew Tour Championship this coming weekend)—or hell, maybe even atop a hyper-faded Antwuan Dixon—all that aside, it’s time we sat down these two shreds-turned-apparel mavens and got the scoop. In-between hectic lives that already include webisodes, contests, filming, touring (JJ’s band, MileHI), and endless other projects, Josh and JJ take a moment to reflect on where they’ve been, and where they’re headed.
“YEA.NICE. It’s a brand.” Well, this is the interview. —A.H.
Josh and JJ, tell us what you do at YEA.NICE. Your roles, titles, all that good stuff.
Josh Sherman: Co-owner. My role is all over the place … when you’re as small a company as we are, you have your hands in everything. From going into shops, to handling production, working with artists on new designs, Facebook, putting tags onto clothes, desk jockeying, hosting events and parties, official janitor, team manager, head of morale… [laughs] the list goes on!
JJ Thomas: Co-owner, as well. Really, we all do everything, but more specifically … I’m into the marketing side, overseeing and consulting the direction of the brand.
In your words, how did YEA.NICE get started?
JS: I remember sitting on Tim Windell’s front porch, talking to JJ about the idea of starting a clothing brand. Fast-forward to a year later, and I send JJ an email that says: “YEA.NICE ‘It’s a brand.’” After a month or so of talking about it, we knew that we had found our name. We had talked about making clothes before, so then came all you can think of, from producing the line, launching the brand, and everything in-between.
JJ: YEA.NICE began about three years ago, while Josh and I had a Signature Session at Windells. After showing the name to our close friends, we decided that “YEA.NICE” fit our vibe. From there, it was easy—we already knew we wanted to make clothing, so I fine-tuned what clothes we were going to make, oversaw the designs and direction of the brand. That’s when I hit the road to start getting YEA.NICE out there with my snowboarding, and begin recruiting people for the team. From that day one, the company was born…!
JJ, how do you juggle being a pro shred while helping to run an apparel company?
JJ: The beauty of what we have going on at YEA.NICE is that Josh and I both have specific role. So when it comes time for me to ride for the wintr, Josh takes over the day-to-day tasks (along with Ryan Sabol), so that I can focus on riding and promoting it on the road. When the season dies down, I become a lot more involved in the daily operations of running the brand. But, at the end of the day, we’re a really small company—as of now, it’s enough for Josh and I to handle.
How big is the link these days, between fashion and snowboarding?
JS: To me, snowboarding and fashion go hand-in-hand. I think a lot of the industry and people that live the action sports lifestyle have a clear sense of how they want to look and how they like to wear their clothes. To me, that’s the definition of style. At YEA.NICE, there are no “Brand Managers”, no CEOs, no investors, and no one saying, “This is what Quiksilver is doing…” That’s why we search out talented artists to create original designs—because at the end of the day, we’re making clothes that we want to wear.
What drew you guys to building a clothing company, as opposed to just hats, or gloves, hardgoods, etc?
JJ: I’ve always taken pride in the clothes that I wear, whether they’re simple or not. So for me, it was a no-brainer to start a company that gave me the opportunity to outfit people with a style that I’ve always embraced.
As far as the team goes, what was your process for picking the current group of riders, musicians, and artists?
JJ: We want people on our team who are like-minded individuals and fit our brand. We don’t necessarily go out hunting for someone; we let them come to us. [We want] people that are into YEA.NICE and want to support it, and in return, we support them as much as we can. Besides having them out there riding well, we’re really into good, humble people. I feel awesome about our current team. For me personally, watching young, upcoming riders kick ass while representing YEA.NICE … it’s one of the most gratifying things you can feel when you have a company!
Where do you see the company going, your hopes for the future? Outerwear?
JS: I see us growing our line into a lot more pieces that offer different styles of clothing. Over the next few years, we’re focused on putting YEA.NICE out there, and having people feel what we’re all about. We’re a rider-owned clothing brand, which is cool. And it’s important, because most everything that’s out there right now is just some guy that saw our lifestyle, made a shirt, and bought into it … it’s really just someone trying to make a buck off of our lifestyle. We want to grow into having fashion-forward pieces that outfit a world of awesome people, who surf, skate, snowboard, etc.
For now, we really pride ourselves on being a year-round clothing brand, so I don’t see outerwear being a part of YEA.NICE. …But, you never know!
To [our team], Ryan Sabol, Wetrat, Cort Muller, Antonio Trujillo, AH, Kaitlyn Farrington, all our friends in SoCal, Oregon, Wisconsin, and anywhere else: We thank you for all the support!
YEA.NICE is available online at Tactics (www.tactics.com/yeanice), and in stores at Tactics, The Cage, Big Hit, TS Boardshop, Savvy, Mountain Wave, Sol Skateboards, Powder Pursuits, Crisis Skateboards, All Board Sports, Focus Boardshop, and more. For retailers looking to contact YEA.NICE, shoot a message to Josh at firstname.lastname@example.org.