Sunday, April 1, 2012

BEHIND THE BRAND: VOX FOOTWEAR

We all know the name - Vox Footwear. A true skateboarding shoe company, for skateboarders by skateboarders. With a team ranging from legends like Pat Duffy and Darren Navarrette to modern-day rippers like Dave Bachinsky and Shawn Hale, there's no denying that the company has a solid lineup of skateboarders backing them. Add a determined shoe designer to the mix and a pack of pure skate enthusiasts as your employees and what you're left with is a hefty dose of skateboarding filling the offices and warehouse at Vox. A mini-ramp doesn't hurt, either. And because change is as necessary in skateboarding as it is common, things can (and do) change in the blink of an eye sometimes. However, despite all the changes that have taken place since Vox's birth, major to minor, it's a sense of comfort to still see two-page VOX spreads in the major skate publications. They've managed to stay afloat and remain alive in this crazy era of skateboarding, and continue to remind us all that this is still our voice.
INTERVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHY BB

VOX TEAM: DARREN NAVARETTE, JUSTIN STRUBING, PAT DUFFY, DAN DREHOBL, RYAN SMITH, DAVE BACHINSKY, PETER WATKINS, TRUMAN HOOKER, BRYANT CHAPO and SHAWN HALE CLICK ON THE IMAGES TO SEE FOOTAGE FORM EACH RIDER.

(NOT PICTURED CODY MCENTIRE)

Interview with Marketing / Team Manager, Daxter Lussier:
What's your current roll at Vox and how long have you been there?
My title is Marketing Manager, but I also oversee the team and work closely with the sales department. I've been working at Vox since April of 2010.
DAXTER LUSSIER- MARKETING/TEAM MANAGER

How familiar were you with the brand prior to your employment?
I was good friends with the guys who launched Vox so I was familiar with the brand from the start.

What was it like sort of picking up the pieces of the company during the arguably "darker days" of VOX? How did everyone break through it all?
It was an uncomfortable feeling in the beginning because I felt like I was working against my friends who had left the company. But at the same time I was excited about working with the guys who stayed. I'd say as far as the break-through though, Navarrette was a big part of that. We brought new guys on the team but Darren helped tie them all together. He has the personality and charisma to get people behind him and want to move forward. Everyone that stayed and came on board of course helped play a part in getting us back on track.
VOX was really backing Gravette and Guzman as the future of the brand so with that split you're going to have some ripples in the water, but VOX is still here and we continue to push forward. Yeah, all the guys leaving definitely had an impact on the brand.

What was the motivation behind some of the team changes? How did you approach dudes like Duffy and Bachinsky to become the new pros backing VOX?
Wanting to stay true to the feel of what VOX was I thought Duffy and Bachinsky would be the perfect fit. I think in one of the meetings with Navarrette I mentioned Pat and Dave as possible guys. Navs thought that they would be a good fit as well so I just sent them a message about a possible opportunity for us to work together.
BACHINSKY SIGNING POSTERS
 
Would you say the brand still represents the same DIY, blue-collar type of feel as when it started? Is it still for skateboarders by skateboarders? Explain how you personally define VOX these days?
Different people are involved throughout the brand, but it is still the same blue-collar do-it-yourself mentality for sure. Our intentions have always been about "for skaters by skaters" and we're the last shoe brand who can honestly say that.

Have you been on any trips with the whole team? What was it like?
I had one of my best trips with the team last year. We got everyone together and headed to New Mexico. I would have to say Ryan dressing up in all black covering his face in shoe polish and "liberating" the spots in Albuquerque was one of the funniest things ever. New Mexico owes Ryan big time because even if he didn't skate a spot he would cut the rail out so you could hit the hubba. Plus just hanging out with such a good group of guys for a couple of weeks was great. And it was the first real trip with the new team.
 BRIAN BLAKELY- MARKETING

What's your favorite shoe in the line right now and give us a little reason why?
I haven't skated in it but the Navagator is one of my favorite looking shoes for sure. I'm currently skating in Duffy's shoe and it has a great feel and durability.

What should fans be looking forward to seeing from VOX in the near future? Any new trips or videos lined up?
We have some stuff planned as far as new additions to the team and projects that will be coming out later in the year.

Tell us a little about the new mini-ramp?
The ramp came about out of necessity and opportunity. Being that I have always wanted a mini ramp and thought one would be good for my physical therapy on my knee. The other being that VOX was willing to give us the space in the warehouse. So it has functioned as a place to skate with the guys and for the employees to have something to have around as well.


 I know Vox is a small company, there aren't that many employees behind the scenes in comparison to other skateboarding shoe brands. How does this change the process of everything? Is it nice having a small family type of feel?
It is good and bad for different reasons. We have a tighter group of people all working together which is great. On the flip side we have fewer people at our disposal to get things done causing each person to wear many hats. This can be stressful when we have multiple things to do and a few people to stay on top of it all. For that I would like to thank all the riders and employees working to make VOX successful.


Ray Gauthier: FOOTWEAR DEPARTMENT

Interview with Shoe Designer, Ray Gauthier:

How long have you been designing shoes for Vox Footwear?
I'm currently working on my third season now.  From Spring / Summer 2012 - Fall / Holiday 2012 to Spring / Summer 2013.

What are three new models you've designed that you're most stoked on?
My favorite three new models would be the LOCKDOWN.  Especially on the new VOX cup sole.  Also, I'm really feeling the new GRIFFIN and ACCENT which will come out for Fall / Holiday 2012.

Have any past VOX models or styles influenced your new designs?
I've been a fan of VOX's past styles and yes, I did try to keep certain design elements incorporated into some of the newer styles.

What are some of the more important features to have in mind when designing a shoe for skateboarding?
Form fitting footwear with proper flex points and durability are clutch.  Light weight and breathable as well.

CALEB MARTIN-SALES

Do you test your own product?
Yes, I personally product test all shoes confirming for production.  I love that part of the job.

What is your favorite Vox Shoe to skate?
Right now, I'd say the LOCKDOWN_ CUP.

What's it like working alongside dudes like Pat Duffy, Darren Navarrette, and Dave Bachinsky to design there shoes?
That's one of my favorite parts of the job.  I'm really hyped on the team.  To me, all the dudes are a solid investment and great to work with.

ANTHONY ROBLES-  WHAREHOUSE

Closing thoughts, comments, etc.
I've been down for VOX since the beginning of the brand and it feels great to be a part of skateboarding and make a difference that others get to enjoy.

1 comment:

  1. How do I go about becoming a shoe designer for a skateboard company like you? What should I take in college and how do I land a job in the industry?

    ReplyDelete

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