They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well apparently it takes a village of freedivers to bring a diving clothing line to life.
Now, I’ve always been a great “do-er.” Want something done? I’m on it. Got an idea you need put into action? No problem. But want me to come up with an original, creative design? There I might need some help.
So when I started Pacific Coast Freediving, alongside Jake Bricker, another FDB contributor you’ve heard from, I welcomed advice, ideas and creativity from anyone with the experience and the willingness to offer it. While we obtained our LLC license from the state, got our website up and running and started setting up logistics for courses I outsourced the creative projects to people who could rock them.
We went to a local tattoo artist for our logo design…after going to a graphic designer who seemed to think that the best logo for us was a slightly altered version of the San Jose Sharks logo. We went to Brandon Beers of Forever Blue custom spearguns for sticker design. And when we wanted to make shirts, we turned to renowned freediving fashion designer Grant Hogan.
He may not rank up there with Calvin Klein or Gucci, but Grant had already come to me with numerous great shirt designs when he came to me one day and said, “What if we put gills on shirts?”
Well, needless to say, I loved it. The idea came from Grant’s telltale tattoo of gills on his ribcage. Now, I’m not committed enough to the idea to get tattoos, but I knew I’d definitely wear a shirt with gills on it.
So with the idea in place, I went to Ryan McClellan, a friend of mine who in the past year or two started Born of Water, a shirt design and printing company, who put the design to cloth. I’ve worked with Ryan since he started his business because his ideas on clothing match mine– make clothes that people will wear. Use high quality materials, print designs that people like and use inks and processes that last. It’s not the cheapest route to go, but it turns out the best product.
So when all was said and done, this team of divers, artists and do-ers come up with the “Got Gills?” shirts we have today. A few months ago if you’d told me I’d be selling out of shirts days after receiving them form the printer, I might have called BS. But now, watching this shirt come to life and seeing fellow divers sporting the PCF gear I’m incredibly grateful to my team of folks that brought this idea together.
So now we’re off and running, coming up with the next shirt design and moving to the next idea. I’ve always been told that the key to running a small business is to always keep moving forward, growing and changing, but I’m starting to think that the most important part of that is to surround yourself with great people.
So until the next design hits the store, check out the shirts and ask yourself…have you “Got Gills?” 😉