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FRENDS Profile: Pros Create Biz

Not too long along a core group of professional snowboarders decided to come together and create a company fittingly named, FRENDS. Mind you, not just any pro snowboarders, the best of the best through the years: Keir Dillon, Danny Davis, Kevin Pearce, Jack Mitrani, Luke Mitrani, Mason Aguirre and 2010 Olympic Bronze Medalist, Scotty Lago. Not too shabby.

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After a few years of solely t-shirts, hats and a plethora of stickers, the guys are set to unveil their first collection of headphones come October 2010, with a spring collection already in the works. We had a chance to sit down with one of the leading forces behind the business side of things, Keir Dillon, on a recent trip to New York City. Dillon, a long time Burton Snowboards pro, knew his next step within the industry was something more his own. Over a quick chat, here’s a brief synopsis of what Keir shared with the Stylesight Active team about the new line and a bit more about FRENDS:

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SS: Where did the concept stem to create FRENDS?

KD: It was the 06 winter X games. Danny Davis and myself were doing what any other snowboarder would be doing after not qualifying for the halfpipe finals – being pissed. While we were hanging out, I brought up the idea of doing a company and asked if he was down to do it with me. We were amped on the idea and determined to find a name right then and there. We landed on Frends cause it summed up what we were all about as a crew; there is no ‘i’ in Frends. From day one we knew we wanted to do something different, to run our own race. I had seen a few companies do this in our industry and it had always driven me to channel my creativity into something tangible like they did. I think the reason it took almost four years to get Frends to where we are today was this determination in the beginning that if we did something, it had to be done right. Now looking back I realize it was also that things for us had to happen organically, we needed those years to mature as a crew and then company. It wasn’t till about 16 months ago that all the pieces of that puzzle came together and allowed us the chance to give it a go.

SS: Who or whom designs the headphones?

KD: Our first line was a collection of all of us – it was amazing we chose a design firm that allowed us to have full creative freedom to create what we wanted. You might think getting more then seven people to agree on a look and feel would be impossible, but we shared the common thread of wanting a design esthetic that was clean simple and made sense to us. We were looking for that perfect blend of design, form and function, like a flat wide metal yoke that looked clean and different but also served as a way to strengthen a part of the headphone that normally blows out when snowboarding and putting them to the test.

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SS: What are some of FRENDS’ inspirations?

KD: Style is everything to us, from the way we dress to the way our style comes out in our snowboarding. Clearly this was something we had to get right. We have spent our whole lives living this culture – experiencing it and, now have been put in the position to lead it and put our style mark on it through these headphones. We looked many places for designs as most people do – cars, T shirts, art, guitar amps and furniture just to name a few, but I think the thing that hit us the hardest was when we came across these designs from Braun that were done in the 60’s – that was then compared to the new Apple designs. The similarities are so close it looks like they just repackaged the old with new insides. People think Apple’s designs are ahead of its time but in actuality they are behind our time and that is what makes them pure. That revelation helped confirm our thoughts that a clean design and pure form can live today 50 years ago or 50 years from now. Reference: http://gizmodo.com/343641/1960s-braun-products-hold-the-secrets-to-apples-future

SS: What are some key pieces in the collection for the coming fall and can you give us a sneak peak for what’s to debut next spring?

KD: The key piece that most embodies what we’re all about is The Classic. This is the piece that I will be running on planes, trains and automobiles. At $30, The Coupe is a must. Blackberry & iPhone compatible, it has a full aluminum body with a custom mic, connector and tangle free cord. Which to me is a lot packed in to a $30 price point. And there’s more coming….. I will just say as we have been able to elevate our sport, we will be doing the same in the headphone market.

SS: Since FRENDS is a relatively newbie on the headphone scene, what does the brand envision for itself?

KD: Maintaining the soul and vibe of what got us to this point of where we are. The idea that everything is better done together and there is no I in Frends. On top of that we want to push the limits of what is thought to be possible in the headphone market and help drive a better product for the kids that expect more. I remember rocking Sony’s as a kid and the feeling of being in the zone. That to me is what it’s all about, allowing the music through our headphones to be the sound track to life. I think if we can nail those things the rest will be easy and fun!

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