What’s your job title?
Billabong Winter Marketing Manager
What’s your day-to-day work consist of?
I work closely with the snowboard team and the product development team to create new campaigns and new stories to keep Billabong in the loop on the snowboarding front. I also take care of the snowboard team and coordinate their travel and filming schedule. And I work on different partnerships with events and so on, to make sure that Billabong is shown as the athlete driven brand that it is.
Where is the Billabong HQ?
For Europe it is in Hossegor, in south west France
What makes it special?
It’s two minutes away from one of the best beach breaks in Europe, and two hours away from the best resorts in the Pyrenees. It’s one of the only places where you can ride in the morning, surf in the afternoon and skate in the evening.
How many people work there?
What are the perks?
Lunchtime surfs, cheap wetsuits, living on the beach in the summer and in the mountains in the winter. Two hour lunches (hence the good surf sessions)
Who’s the biggest character at Billabong?
I would have to say my boss Reid Pinder, He co-founded the company 15 years ago in Europe and is now at the head of Billabong Europe. Definitely a major figure in the company.
Do you all surf and/or snowboard?
90% of the company does, which sometimes makes for crowded lunches!
What does it take to get a job in your team?
A passion for boardsports, dedication, a good knowledge of the industry we’re involved with, loyalty and a strong work ethic.
How do new jackets and pants get designed?
We have a team of in-house designers that work on the snow collection all year. They are all good riders and have a great knowledge of snowboard clothing. The riders’ input is also vital, and we meet with them three times a year for some feedback and design things around the table. Our Signature series is almost completely designed by the riders. The design crew listens closely to the rider and inputs his wishes into the technical side.
How do you know what colours and styles will be cool for the next season?
We get into the market place as much as possible and listen to the riders. Just having your eyes open at all times. Plus the designers go to Tokyo, Whistler, Mammoth, NYC and other places to gather new ideas and get a feel for new trends.
Do you think tight snowboard pants are cool?!
That’s not for me to answer. The kids these days do. Well, not all of them do. I think it’s all influenced by the skate scene and the music scene. Not all snowboarders are into tight pants, there’s a style for everyone depending on your musical taste. You’ll have the tight pant rider and the baggy rider, and as snowboarding grows the fashion diversifies. The key is to have a product for each style.
As a summer sport, surfing is kinda the opposite to snowboarding, especially in the kind of clothing you need (like, we don’t need boardshorts!) How does Billabong’s surf heritage help (or hinder) its performance as a snowboard brand?
Surfing is at the base of all boardsports. It helps us to understand where we come from. Most importantly, Billabong knows that it’s the athlete – who is out in the snow every single day and pushing the clothing to the limit – who knows what is good and what is bad. Billabong has a history of choosing the right team, whether surfing or snowboarding, and therefore building the right gear. The surf heritage also helps with the use of different fabrics and the development of different breathability. All fabric knowledge is useful for manufacturing better clothing.
Has Billabong taken any technology or marketing ideas from snowboarding and applied it to the surfing side?
For sure. I sit right beside the Surf marketing manager and he’s always checking out the snow stuff. We tend to do our own thing and want our own identity, but when something works well and can be applied to the two sports we do take it on board.
What stands Billabong apart from the rest of the industry?
Billabong has been in the industry for more than 30 years and knows that at the end of every pair of board shorts, t-shirt or snow jacket sold there is a rider. The rider is the bottom line, and without him there is no industry. Billabong also prides itself in taking care of the riders that have supported the company – there are plenty of examples, such as myself, Luke Egan – who is marketing manager in Australia – and Sam Carrier (another former world class surfer) who works with us in Europe.