I wanted to mix things up a bit and put out an original interview for this weeks column. As a photographer in the BMX industry for the past several years I have come to meet a lot of amazing people and have been to some rad places. Some of those places happen to be company’s headquarters right here in Southern California. I am honored to be able to take the time to go and hang out with some good people and sit them down for an interview. That was the plan when it came to stopping by the Quintin factory. They have been making their way onto the BMX scene for years now and surely you have seen some of your favorite pros rockin’ a Quintin hat at some point. I wanted figure out exactly what Quintin is all about so I sat down with Rob and Brett and fired some questions their way. Sit back, relax and enjoy a look into one of the few BMX apparel brands and find out why they do what they do.
Let’s start this off the easy way, introduce yourselves and let us know your role over there at Quintin.
Rob Paik- Business Development / Dir. of US Sales
Brett Wiley- Brand Manager
Where did Quintin come from and how long has it been around as an established brand?
Quintin is really birthed from this factory that we work out of, everyday. It’s been around since 2009, but I would say we started really become an established brand sometime in 2010.
I know that it is a fairly small operation over there but who keeps up on the day-to-day stuff, and who helps keep the gears turning on a regular basis?
Well, Brett and Rob handle all the day to day stuff and keep the gears turning, along with Chris M., our in-house photographer/videographer and Dennis D., our designer.
Quintin is based locally here in Los Angeles making it possible to do runs of certain products in-house. What does it mean to you guys to have control over your product here in the states?
In the beginning stages of a brand, to have control over a factory is huge. On the brand side of things, it’s really convenient when you can design something, turn it in, and get it back within a week. Having a factory basically allows you to experiment with more ideas, and to actually put them into play to see if they will ultimately work out or not. The factory has been crucial to the growth of our brand.
Although you have a lot of stuff made here in the U.S. you also have product made overseas as well. Want to explain the difference between dealing with stuff in-house as opposed to overseas.
We manufacture all of our headwear in our factory located in Los Angeles, along with our tees, and some of the “accessories” that we’ve made (i.e. pillows). We made our tops and bottoms that we just released for Fall 2012 with our sister factory, over in China. At the end of the day, it’s our factory over in China, so we place the same emphasis on quality control, as we do in our factory over here.
A lot of people have had the assumption that you guys were mainly a hat-only brand but after a quick look at the upcoming lines you have dropping it looks like you have been busy putting together full clothing lines. Why don’t you fill everyone in on exactly what’s to come from Quintin.
Ha-Ha…it’s funny because in our minds we have not just been a headwear brand for well over a year now. All the tops and bottoms that you see included in our collection have been in the works for that long. We actually released our first cut and sew item with Fall 2011, and have had minimal clothing items in each of the successive seasons. Fall 2012 is really our first strong push with a full clothing range. What you can expect to see from us in the future is more of what we’ve already got going on, as well as some surprises… very descriptive, I know. We will continue to expand our line to items that are relevant to YOU as a buyer, while staying mindful of our price points. And of course, we are ALWAYS looking at how we can improve our products, from both an aesthetics standpoint, as well as a functional standpoint.
Additionally, we’ve been knocking around some ideas for the past few years in our R&D department… which consists of the same people that run the brand… and we are finalizing some patents for new headwear ideas, as well as our takes on some classic headwear styles. In terms of our clothing, we’re going to continually improve the technicalities of our items, adding only the details that are essential to the type of people that are like-minded to us, while stripping away the unnecessary flair that add no functionality and drive up pricing. At the end of the day, we want high functionality, but functionality that is hidden throughout the apparel, to allow the item to have a cleaner, smoother appearance.
How did you guys originally get involved with BMX?
Mike Ardelean is really the guy that put us on game, here. He’s our official TM, and has done an amazing job with us. He set up our US team and has been an ambassador for us, in a lot of regards. Additionally – he’s worked with a few of our distribution centers around the world to ensure our worldwide team is set up properly. From there, we’ve all worked very hard, as a team, to nestle in and get comfortable.
What’s up with the official Quintin team? Let’s get a run-down of who’s on it and what kind of projects do you guys have in the works? Road trips? Signature products?
HA! – We do have an official team – check it out: QuintinCo.com! We’ve added a few people across the board (US, and different countries), and have had to remove a few. We enjoy what we do in the BMX industry, and our feeling is that there are a good number of quality people in the industry that enjoy what we do as well. People will get confused about who’s officially on and who’s not, but at the end of the day, our extended family reaches beyond who is “officially” on our team. We’ve got one project, in the works with the Bakery. It’s virtually at completion and will be pre-sold here shortly. In addition to that, we’re setting up a worldwide tour for a photo gallery we’re setting up, involving 5 very highly touted BMX photographers. Additionally, we’re finalizing a team trip out to Austin for Texas Toast Jam. One product we’re tinkering with is Gabe Brooks’ signature hat. As soon as we get a moment to breath, we’ll be redesigning it for him.
Just to give people out there an idea, what is Quintin all about as a brand? What makes Quintin different?
Aesthetically, we are constantly doing a balancing act between what is raw and what is refined, so you will see that a lot of the brands/people that we will collaborate with are the people that we think can hit both sides of the pendulum simultaneously. This philosophy is really birthed from the factory we all work out of. While most brands will send their hat designs off to a factory in China that they have absolutely no relationship with – the hat will inevitably be put through a much more mechanized process. For us, we value the importance of the human element in creating a product. We meticulously cut the fabric by hand, sew all the hats together by hand, and QC every hat that comes out of here. The end product between us and a bigger competitor or a company that goes overseas is actually quite evident. The results are that the ones made overseas usually look more uniform, however, the fit is inevitably not always the same. For us, the human element shows through to the end product, however, the fit is always the same.
What really differentiates us in the category of aesthetics is that we design hats like most apparel brands design clothes. While headwear is usually an afterthought with a logo slapped on there for most brands, we take the time to create pieces that maximizes the creative reach with each piece we make. We like to think that your hat can be the centerpiece to your outfit, and everything else you wear will be in-line with the hat.
Where can people get their hands on some Quintin gear?
Any shout-outs and people to thank?
Special shout out goes to our teams set up across the world, especially to our US team and Mike Ardelean, who’ve helped us grow this brand since inception. Shout out to everyone out here in BMX who have repped us, helped us, and been cool with us. And one final thanks to the workers in our factory who create the products you guys wear.
I was pumped for the opportunity to put this interview together and I hope you guys are into it. If so, feel free to leave some comments. I really appreciate the feedback and want to know what features the readers of TTL are into. We are going to be launching the next contest sponsored by Quintin this Friday so don’t forget to check it out and send in your entries. I will give you all of the details then. Be sure to check back next Wednesday for the twenty ninth edition of Through the Lens and as always feel free to leave any questions in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will hit you back as soon as I can. Feel free to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @jeremypavia.