One of the most buzz worthy events of SIA was the debut of Public; Joe Sexton’s new board company. We caught up with Joe on the floor of the show and got the low down on the origins of Public as well as the lessons he has learned in the few months of being a snowboard company owner.
Arkade: So tell us about your initial inspiration to start a board company.
Joe: From the start it was always a dream as a kid, but you kind of think it’s never really obtainable because it's the pinnacle to have your own snowboard company. I’d been running 1817 for a while on the clothing side, but I felt like I just wanted to do something bigger. I’ve been with Stepchild for a very long time, and it wasn’t a sense of being unsatisfied with them it was just me wanting to do more.
Arkade: So you mention Stepchild. Once you started leaking images of Public it definitely got the rumor mill going. Tell us how Stepchild fits in to all of this.
Joe: The tie in is with Ultimate Distribution. They distribute Stepchild and they will be the distribution for Public. I’ve been with Stepchild for so long that it only felt right to stick with the family so to speak. It makes so much sense to use their experience and advice. As far as the brands themselves they are separate but I couldn't be doing this without their support. To have that backend support is humongous, it allows me to do the marketing, team, and creative side all the fun stuff while they help on the numbers/distribution side.
Arkade: Tell us about the name Public and its origins.
Joe: Well originally I wanted to go with the name Private just as a random word. I talked to people about the idea and they were like “you know that’s kind of weird concept” so then on a whim I thought well if not Private what about Public. Then when I really starting thinking about it I realized you know what a great word. Public is for the greater good and I liked the idea of it not being some clever kitschy name but rather something normal. From the idea of doing a brand through the brainstorming phase and coming up with the name and direction kind of a light bulb went off.
Arkade: So what we see here will be available fall 2016.
Joe: Yep we are good to go in the fall. This is the first time anyone has really seen them, but the reception has been great. Just a having these out and under my feet is a success story in itself. Having Darrel (Mathes) on the team with me as well already makes it feel like a win.
Arkade: So at the stage of not even having product on the self what is the biggest lesson you’ve learned about starting a brand?
Joe: Timing. You want something done but to do it right takes a long time. You can go with that first idea and shove it out there but for me learning to be patient and let things happen has been key. Like with graphics you have a certain amount of time and you do have to rush it to some extent but at the same time you need to work and then step away so you can come back and let new things fall into place. Working with our artist Josh Manoles has been amazing as well. He’s done so much great work, most of it under the gun, and I’m super thankful. I’m sure there will be many more lessons down the road too.
Arkade: Well thank you Joe for taking a few minutes and we wish you much success with Public.
Joe: Thank you. I’m really grateful and appreciative of all the help and support. We want to be a relatable brand for everyone. It’s truly a rider owned effort, I mean both Darrel and myself are still out there filming parts you know and I don't think that happens too much anymore. It’s cool to be out there riding the boards and being part of the company at every aspect. Thanks again to everyone.
- Words and photos by Daniel Cochrane