Photo: Andrew White
Over the years, Ipath has had a lingering presence in BMX. They’ve always hovered off to the side, doing their thing and creating some dialed shoes. It wasn’t until they brought on Brian Osborne that they started really putting the brand out there in BMX. When Brian joined the crew at Ipath, he brought along a few friends to kick some life back into the team; those friends would be Van Homan, Shane Weston, Seth Kimbrough and Alex Magallan. With the a new team all dialed in and the release of their fresh Fall / Winter 2012 line, I figured it was time to get Brian to answer some questions about his role with the company, the team, the brand as a whole and what they have cooking these days. Let’s see what he had to say!
All right, so let’s kick this off starting with you. You joined Ipath about a year ago after bouncing around a little between DuFFS and Beloe. How did this opportunity come about?
It came completely out of the blue. I took all of last summer off to recoup and heal the DuFFS battle scars. One day, I got a call from a friend that works for Journeys, and he was telling me that he thought there may be a position with IPATH to be a sales rep for Journeys. He gave me Tom McGee’s (owner) number, and we talked the same day for a few hours. We hit it off immediately.
So what’s your official job title at Ipath? Are you handling a specific role or are you kind of all over the place from sales to the team manager to shoe design? What’s a typical day like for you these days?
I’m all over the place. My most important duties are “Key Accounts Manager” and run the BMX program, but after that, it’s anything they need me to do. We’re a big family here. Everyone wears a lot of hats. You don’t ever hear the phrase “not my job”.
How do you feel things have gone since you came on board? Are you seeing more shops and BMX support?
Everyone has been very receptive. The first hurdle is always product. And we make a great product. Bike shops, by nature, don’t really buy a ton of shoes, but all of them will buy a few pairs. Our reps cater more to the specialty areas, so there’s a solution in the works to get us on a lot more walls.
Bouncing back to the brand as a whole. When did Ipath originally get its start? Is it under the same owners as it was when it started?
The brand has changed hands a couple of times. Timberland bought it from the original owners, and really did nothing with it. Good or bad. They just kind of sat on it. Tom knew the inner workings over there, and saw the potential in IPATH. Timberland was being acquired by someone else, and they needed to shed any competing brands. So it really worked out well. IPATH is back to being owned by a small company, and getting the attention that it deserves.
Where are the home headquarters located? Did you have to move for the job or do you have the work from home luxury these days?
We have a small office in SoCal, and then our main office is just outside of Boston. Office in the house? “Luxury” is not the word I use when it comes to having an office in the house. Sure, I don’t get stuck in traffic on the way to work, but I do spend way more time in here than if I were commuting. My wife has literally locked me out of my office a few times.
The brand has always been more of a higher end / style brand based around skateboarding right? What is their current line up looking like?
It started as a skate/lifestyle brand, which in all reality is action sports/lifestyle. We’re definitely more of a premium brand. We use better materials, and our designs are pretty well thought out. Fashion and function have to go hand and hand.
I know they just dropped their winter / fall line. How do you feel it came out?
The fall line is sooooo good. It’s the first line that is 100% ours. There was a transition when the company got bought from Timberland, and all of that product if finally gone. It’s only getting better. The holiday line is a sick update to fall, and we’re currently showing Spring 13’.
Check out the full Fall / Winter 2012 collection right here.
What do you have cooking for the start of 2013? Will there be any BMX specific or signature models for the team at all?
Each day is an adventure. We are working on some specific stuff for the BMX guys. First and foremost is a Van Homan project. There’s so much we want to do, and can do, but there’s only so many slots in the catalog. We have to time everything out just right.
How about the apparel department? I feel like a lot of shoe brands have been stepping up in that department lately.
We do some softgoods and hats. We’re also getting backpacks in, but we’re a shoe company first. We’ll never have a super extensive focus on apparel, just some nice accessories.
Personally, I feel you did a real good job with the team. Who all is on board these days? Any plans of making some additions anytime soon?
Thanks. I’ve done this a few times, so there’s sort of a blueprint for it, but you have to make sure everyone’s personalities mesh. The “team” as it stands is Van Homan, Seth Kimbrough, Shane Weston, and Alex Magallan. We’re also hooking up Raul Ruiz, Kenny Horton, Mark Mulville, and Randy Brown. There are endless possibilities when it comes to additions, but everything has to grow organically. Other companies have tried to go buy people, and that never works or looks authentic.
When you came on board, was there much of a push needed to get the BMX program back on track, or were they pretty open minded when you brought your ideas out?
They were really open minded to the ideas from the beginning. IPATH had kind of dabbled with BMX for a while. If you aren’t going to do it all the way, you shouldn’t do it at all. You either have to be committed to it, or leave it behind.
Obviously, with a team like that, you guys committed and have a lot of potential for making some big things happen. Do you have any team trips, web edits, videos or anything like that in the works coming up soon?
I’d love to do all of the above. We’ve had the team together for some various things, but haven’t done a full blown trip yet. Plans are in the works. Our guys seem to be machines when it comes to web edits. Obviously, when we do a trip, that will churn out a lot of content specific to us.
I know you have been around the industry for so long and worked with a lot of riders along the way. What kind of advice do you have for the kids out there looking to get sponsored by a shoe company these days? What kinds of things do you personally look for in a rider for Ipath?
It’s really weirder than ever to get “sponsored”. I watch every single video that gets sent to me, and there are some amazing kids out there. They have to understand that there’s more to it than being a great rider. Stand for something. Be at events and trade shows. Don’t be a complete jackass to people you don’t know, because you never know who that person may be. Word gets around.
Now that you are settled in, the team is dialed, what’s next? What kinds of goals do you have set for the brand here in the future?
We need to sell more shoes of course. But who doesn’t? That will happen as word spreads about what we have going on. We have a great product, and a great crew behind it. We had to refine the way we do some things, and change some distribution strategies. Everything will fall into place. We’re doing a taco tour around skateparks right now with the skate team, and working on putting in some stops for the BMX team. IPATH has always been great at supporting the shops that carry our products, and we will continue to do that.
So let’s say a shop or distributor is really digging the shoes. Who should they contact to get Ipath in their shops and warehouses?
You can use the contact links on the site. All of those emails get read and forwarded to the correct person.
Who should people contact with general questions about specific shoes or if they have some sort of manufacturer defect?
For general questions, again, use the contact us. option on the site. For defects, you could go through us, but it may be easier to go to the place you got the shoes. They’ve dealt with those situations through every company they deal with, and they’ll work with us to solve any problem. We don’t want anyone unhappy out there.
What’s the website for you guys? Are you guys on Facebook and Twitter at all?
We’re on everything! Our site is www.ipath.com, Twitter is @ipathfootwear and our Facebook is Facebook.com/IPATHshoes instagram is IpathFootwear
Anything I missed you want to say?
Come on man. That’s too open ended. You know I always have something to say…..
You can find out more about Ipath by visiting their WEBSITE.