World, meet Willie McMillon. He is not only one hell of a shred, but he is also the owner of Bluebird Wax Company. “What’s that?” you say, “A company owned by someone who actually snowboards?” That’s right, in fact there is quite a few of them out there, some bigger than others. “Well then why don’t I see their 2 page glossy spread in the beginning of the mag?” You ask. The answer is simple; these guys gotta pay for rent, food and most importantly lift tickets and passes with that cash. Companies like Willies aint in it for the loot they are in it cause they love to shred. When I was growing up my mom always used to tell me “find something you love to do then find someone stupid enough to pay you to do it.” These guys just skipped the middleman. So next time you’re out buying some goodies think about were your moneys goin’. Is it going toward bottomless pow turn face shots or a faceless Corporation?
How come I have a feeling this is going to make me a lot of enemies? Oh well.
How ya doing Willie?
Great man, its been snowing. It’s supposed to clear off. I think it gonna get good “round here (Jackson Hole).
Who runs the shop when you guys go ride?
Now we have some people we can count on. I try to get everything done when it’s shitty out, so that way I’m freed up when it’s good. But ill still pretty much blow work off whenever, luckily most of the shops we work with understand.
How did start this gig?
In about ’96 we started making Bluebird stickers, giving them out to all our friends, like (Kurt) Wastell next thing you know we started getting a little play in the mags. People started calling me wanting to buy Bluebird stuff, whatever it was. The only problem was we didn’t have any idea what it was going to be.
So you had made up an imaginary product?
Yeah, there was nothing to sell. All we had was a logo and a name. I was trying to figure it out when I met this kid name Jeff who showed me a simple formula for wax that I could make in my house. So I started just mixing up wax on my stove and packaging it in tinfoil. We got a good response from it so Lance (Pitman) and I each put like two hundred bucks into it. And here we are today.
Did you start a team?
Yeah and most of those guys still ride for us today.
Give me a quick run down.
Johan (olofsson), Brian Iguchi, Lance Pitman, Nick Drago, Justin Mooney, Brandon Ruff, Kurt Wastell, Travis Rice, Chris Englseman, Chad Otterstrom, Jeremy Jones (big mountain) Carsten Basten and Bobby George, that most of the U.S. dudes. I probably forgot someone, sorry.
There are some big guns in there, how do you go about paying those people?
The pro team is in a pool. Basically what we do is take four percent of our gross sales and split it up every month. I’m trying to motivate everyone to get coverage. If we do really good I want people to get paid accordingly to that. I’ve seen my friends help make companies huge, they (the riders) are out there getting the name out, promoting the company, and get nothing out of it while the owners make millions. So I’m really trying to avoid that. I want the team to be apart of the company. Luckily all of are team back what were doing. They’re not doing it for the twenty-dollar check, that’s for sure. They know we ride everyday and were trying to do this on our own.
Tell me about your team movie.
It kinda of goes against the current format of a music video with some skits in it. Don’t get me wrong there are some great movies out there we just wanted to do something a little different. Our idea was to make a digital movie that actually had a screenplay. Since tons of money isn’t floatin’ around the office we did it pretty low budget, about three hundred bucks. We wrote everything and got a pretty damn big Hollywood actor to be in it. I can’t say his name due to the actor’s guild. But he was nice enough to fly out and film with us for a day. There’s ggonna be a lot of our own music in it too.
What’s it called?
It’s going to be called Water to Wine. We’re gonna’ try and premier it on Halloween at the Cowboy bar in Jackson. But if you can’t make it, you’ll e able to download free off the Bluebird and Illuminati websites. So keep an eye out.
Anything you want to say to kids out there who are thinking of starting their own companies?
Don’t plan on making any money and don’t plan on ever sleeping again. It kind of like giving C.P.R. to the same dying person for seven years you gotta keep going if you want it to stay alive.
Check out the Bluebird website at http://www.bluebirdwax.com