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One thing I always get really stoked on is when people are going out and making their ideas and dreams happen. I’ve been a fan of Roy Van Kempen for quite a while and the website him and Tom Lammerse started a while back called We Are Orange Juice. Since it’s launch, they have been making moves to keep things fresh. A few weeks ago announced that they would be starting a full on lifestyle brand to accompany their blog with clothing and accessories sharing the Orange Juice name. I was really impressed with what they were able to produce for their first collection, so I decided it would be a good time to catch up with Roy to find out more about the brand, how they got moving in this new direction, the process of making it and happen and where they are going with it. Let’s check out what he had to say!
All right, let’s get this started. When did the idea of doing We Are Orange Juice pop up? What were some of the reasons you wanted to start up the website?
Back in February 2011 I was talking to my good friend Tom Lammerse about how it would be dope to have our own blog. We had three reasons to start the blog: first of all Tom wants to study at the Film academy in Amsterdam which he needs a portfolio for; the blog would be a good way to showcase his videos. For me a blog would be handy for all my BMX videos and photos too. Second reason was that we wanted to have a place where we can show the world all the aspects of the BMX/skateboard lifestyle. The blog has daily content about BMX, skateboarding, lifestyle, fashion, videos, photos and music. Last but not least we also try to help our friends and companies who deserve more attention by doing interviews.
Because the blog gained more and more attention we skipped the first reason and are now focusing on showcasing the lifestyle and helping out friends.
How did you guys come up with the name We Are Orange Juice?
When starting something new like a project or brand, finding the name for it is the hardest thing ever. Luckily, one day, Tom woke up in the middle of the night with the perfect name in his mind.
First of all, Orange refers to the Dutch national color. Secondly, in our opinion, a good blog is a blog which is up to date; it needs to be fresh just like Orange Juice. The site name is Weareorangejuice because Orange Juice was already taken. Also, Orange Juice is a blog ran by Tom, myself and our group of close friends, making “weareorangejuice” a good second option.
Who’s all involved with the site? I know you guys have a real solid crew of contributors these days.
The Orange Juice crew is really important for us! Apart from the fact that each of the crew members have different focuses, we don’t have strict tasks as we all council each other and work together as a team. The most important thing when working together is being adaptable.
The blog/brand is there by riders for riders. Right now our contributors are:
Tom Lammerse – Who does all the artwork and design for the blog/brand. This means videos, posters, apparel designs, logo’s etc.
Alex ‘Frenchie’ Coumailleau – I never met Alex in real life but when we started the blog he was retweeting everything and really promoted the blog in Australia. I talked to him on Skype and found out that he was the perfect person to represent us in Australia. Alex does all the daily posts, riders interviews and shares all the interesting news from Australia.
Fernando ‘Fer’ Gomarin Olaiz – If you ever visited Barcelona you know this guy! Fernando is the most famous spot guide from Barcelona. He also works at the best club in Barcelona to promote the sickest party on earth: Nasty Mondays. We met each other in Barcelona obviously. From Fer you can expect lots of sick exclusive photogalleries and BCN mixtapes.
Hessel Schuurman: Hessel is a good friend of Tom and myself. He does a lot of the writing and is mainly focused on posts related to music. As a music producer and fan, he tries to share his love and interests by posting new albums and mixtapes.
Roy van Kempen; Of course I’m a contributor myself. Just to post daily content but now I’m really busy with contacting stores and promoting the new Orange Juice line.
Apart from our contributors we have friends and family who are willing to help us with the brand. They are also an important factor for the blog, and thus should be mentioned.
The Orange Juice family is amazing already but we do have plans to expand the family with people who live in: New York, Los Angeles, London and Paris. So if you are into BMX, skateboarding, videography/photography, lifestyle, fashion and you are interested in reppin the brand/blog in your country send us an email: Roy@weareorangejuice.com.
What exactly is We Are Orange Juice all about? You guys have always been focused on creating new originals, which I’m real stoked about.
Thanks! As said before we started the blog for two reasons: First of all to show the world the amazing BMX/skateboard lifestyle; BMX isn’t just riding a small kids bike, it’s way more than that. Secondly, we want to help out our friends by giving them a place to showcase themselves and/or the stuff they are creating. This is why we have several original content posts:
The Art gallery, which gives artists a space to showcase their work for a whole month.
The Rolling in Business interviews, featuring an entrepreneur running a brand related to the topics featured on the blog.
The Rider interviews, mostly featuring upcoming riders. The pro’s are interesting but as AM rider myself I know that it’s really hard to get interviews on websites; that’s why we started these interviews.
And lastly, the ‘Tunes With:’ showcasing the top 25 most played songs from a pro rider.
You guys recently announced that you’re expanding things and getting serious about doing apparel with your first full collection. When did you guys decide you wanted to take things in that direction?
Tom and myself were always really interested in fashion and are both big fans of Animal Bikes and DUB BMX, so we wanted to create something just as cool only with our own touch to it. In August I had to ride demos for a big supermarket so with the money I earned from those demos we had just enough to finance our first full line. The first full line contains more than just clothing; that’s why we call Orange Juice a lifestyle brand instead of only a clothing brand. We are really excited about this new step because we now have two companies coming together: A BMX lifestyle blog with advertisers etc., and a lifestyle brand marketing apparel and other products.
How long were you working on getting that sorted? I can’t imagine it’s an easy process getting things rolling when you start getting into things like jackets and everything.
A lot of the designs came up real quickly. With the 9 different products that we have in the new line, we had to talk to a lot of different companies before we knew what would work and what would not. This took a while… Some were fairly easy, such as the new collaborative hat which we made together with Quintin, and some things were a bit harder like the skateboard decks for example, which required quality printing as well as shape and wood. At the end, the full line had to come from 6 different countries and took around 8 months before being complete (including time spend on design).
Care to take us through your first collection? Which item is your personal favorite?
In our first full collection we got 9 different products:
Orange Juice x Quintin hat
After the success of last years six-panel snapback, created in collaboration with Quintin’, comes a new one in Bordeaux red with the same leather patch used for our former model which showed our logo together with Amsterdam’s canal houses. The cap is made from woolen fabrics and has ‘We walk the walk’ stitched in subtle red on the back, placing emphasis on movement and creation.
Orange Juice beanie
It’s a grey beanie (American Apparel) with a round black and white patch on it showing our brand name and the orange logo. Because of the thick fabrics, the beanie has a nice feel and is sure to keep you warm on those cold days.
Orange Juice Pocket tee
It’s a Grey T-shirt (American Apparel) with a pocket on the left side of the chest. Has Orange Juice printed in black on the back.
Orange Juice Poppin’ tee
Our most expressive clothing article featured in our new line is probably the black T-shirt (American Apparel) with the words ‘If you hear any noise it’s just me and the boys poppin’ printed on it in white capital letters. This is a shirt that comes with a story: in the 70’s, a baseball player, named Dave Parker, playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was well known for his flare and his skill when it came to hitting homeruns. After the Pirates lost two games in a row to the Phillies, Parker responded by wearing a homemade shirt that read: ‘IF YOU HEAR ANY NOISE IT’S JUST ME AND THE BOYS BOPPIN’ in reference to the team’s potent offence. We liked the shirt, loved the story behind it, and decided to re-release the shirt with our own little twist to it.
Orange Juice crewneck sweater
Grey crewneck sweater (American Apparel) with the Orange Juice logo in black printed on the chest. This sweater has a nice and soft inner coating, making it really comfortable to wear.
Orange Juice skate deck
Our very own Orange Juice skateboard, showing one of our models, scantily clad and wearing the Quintin’ cap, on the bottom of the board. The decks are made of 100% Canadian maple and come in two sizes: 8’’ and 8.25’’. The decks can be bought either with or without grip, so you can either choose to skate it, or buy it as a collectible to maybe put on your wall. The decks are issued in a very small number.
Orange Juice x Frends headphones
We made this headphone in collaboration with Frends; together with sound quality, Frends’ top priorities when making headphones are comfort and durability, making them a great choice for daily use. These headphones have a steel construction, a black leather headband, brown leather ear-cushioning and black ear-caps with the Orange Juice logo printed on them in white. These headphones are different from your regular set of headphones since they also have a microphone for hands-free calls, and multifunctional ear-cap tap control (play/pause/next/answer/hang-up) so you won’t have to reach for your pockets every time you want to switch songs or answer a call. The number of these headphones are very limited and will only be for the happy few.
Orange Juice totebag
In addition to the whole product line we thought it would be handy to have something to carry around all our gear in. This is where our tote bags come in; coloured in black with our logo printed on both sides.
My favourite piece is the Orange Juice Varsity Jacket; I would have never thought that we would make something this dope! A Varsity Jacket with real leather sleeves is normally really expensive (Nike jacket is around $400), but our jacket is affordable for everyone. This is a black varsity jacket, based on the classic design of college and sports jackets, with leather sleeves and a woolen shell. ´Orange Juice´ is in black quilting on the back, as well as three crosses on the upper right sleeve, referring to the civic crest of Amsterdam. Also there is a little orange in white quilting on the upper left side of the front of the shell. The jacket has two side pockets and can be closed using a zipper and buttons.
I know you have a few shops carrying your products, right? Where can people get their hands on this stuff?
Yes, we already have a few shops that are stocking Orange Juice and the number of shops is slowly growing. At the moment we distribute our stuff in Holland and Belgium to shops like: Soulcycle, Grounded, Burnside and the Etnies store Amsterdam. Jack, the owner of DUB BMX and The Loot, is our distributor in the UK and sells our products to: The Loot and Premier shop, but with the new line the number of shops will increase. Last but not least, we got Alex who’s trying to get the brand to Australia; so far we have got LUX BMX store and Strictly BMX selling our merchandise. If you don’t live nearby, or want to buy the products online; don’t worry! All of our products are available at our webshop: WeAreOrangeJuice.com/shop. This is the only place were you get free stickers and Stijn Staal’s poster together with your purchase.
Do you guys ship all over the world?
Yes, we do ship worldwide! In our online webshop you can pay with Paypal or Ideal.
You have been riding for United for quite a while, will we be seeing Orange Juice getting distributed by 4Down by chance?
As said before, we already have a distributor in the UK, which is Jack, the owner of DUB BMX. I met Jack when he was in Amsterdam with his girl last summer. He was really into the brand and he wanted to help me out. After his big success with DUB BMX he started his own shop called The Loot, which is based in Liverpool. This shop is going really well too so he decided to take it to the next step by starting a distribution with Orange Juice as his first brand. I couldn’t be more happy with it, because Jack knows everything about starting your own clothing company; because we are his first brand he helps us out a lot. Bigger distributors like 4Down and Seventies don’t have much time to promote a new brand in the UK, while Jack is doing everything he can to make the brand develop. We couldn’t be happier with Jack as our distributor.
Let’s say a shop or distributor wants to get Orange Juice in their stores and warehouses, who should they get at to make this happen?
We are always pleased when distributors or shops contact us, so feel free to email me on email@example.com.
Speaking of riding for United, what’s a typical day like for you? Are you starting to feel the effects of trying to run a business and being a sponsored rider yet?
Right now I’m focussing on 3 different things:
First of all, I’m working at Soulcycle BMX shop in Amsterdam 2 days a week. I really like it there because this gives me the opportunity to give advice to beginners and I get to see loads of riders from the Dutch scene.
Secondly, I’m working really hard on the blog weareorangejuice.com and the brand Orange Juice. It sounds like an easy task, but everyday I check out the web for new interesting content, send out interviews, orders, answer emails and Skype with Tom about future plans. Other than that I also try to do a lot for the Dutch scene as well. We organized two of the best visited jams in Holland ever, giving us a positive boost to keep going!
Last but not least, I’m fully focused on riding. Unfortunately the weather is holding me back a little, but the Amsterdam indoor skatepark is helping me to get through the winter time. I don’t think that having a business is holding me back from riding just yet, which is great.
What do you guys have planned for 2013? Do you plan on starting up a team and doing some trips?
We thought about setting up a team but the problem is that we want to support too many people. Because we just started the brand we don’t have a lot of stock yet. Therefore we are waiting with putting together a team. There are a few people that receive goodies from us; For now these people are our contributors and riders Jorn Tuijnman and Stijn Staal.
I know you guys are always working on some videos. When can we expect to see a fresh one from you guys?
Stijn Staal is working real hard on his welcome to the crew video. I already saw some clips, which were all mind blowing so we can’t wait for that video to come out. I can’t say when the video comes out because we want to give him all the time he needs to finish it. Our crew must be proud on the stuff that they produce.
I’d imagine you are working on the next round by now. Any hints at what you guys will be adding to the line for your second drop? Do you plan on turning this into a full on apparel brand?
Our brand will bring out two lines a year, one just before summer and one just before winter. You can expect the new line around May 2013. We love collaborations, so in our new summer line there will be new ones with dope brands for sure.
Where do you see things going in the next 5 years?
With the blog we want to support as many cool people, companies and projects as possible. This was our plan in the beginning and will continue the next 5 years.
We would like to see our brand grow, and get our name out there. We are really big fans of Quintin and Animal Bikes, they started small and look were they are right now. It would be amazing if we could be one of the first brands that connects BMX, skateboarding and lifestyle all in one.
Let’s say somebody has a general question about the brand and its products. Who should they contact to get an answer?
You can contact me on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Is there anything I missed you want to say?
Thanks Kurt for this interview! Big shout out to all the people and companies that believe in weareorangejuice.com and Orange Juice. Thanks for all the support, stay Fresh!