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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Interview with Nollie.tv

Blueskin turns 10! We celebrate with an interview with founder Niki Kerr

Blueskin_2
It's not just female riders that are pushing the boundaries and putting a bit of sex equality into the extreme sports world, Niki Kerr, founder of clothing company Blue Skin, who have just celebrated their 10th birthday, tells us how she's doing her bit to prove that there's more to women than flowers, hearts and butterflies - hear, hear we say!

Congratulations on your 10th birthday! How does it feel to have been around a decade?

Thank you! It feels amazing to acknowledge the 10 year mile stone. I don't think I properly realized how long Blueskin had been around for till I looked at the calendar and was like blimey it's been 10 years, I had better throw a party. Everyone has been so thrilled and excited, congratulations came in from everywhere, it's been a real pat on the back, plus a chance to take stock of where Blueskin came from and where it is today.

What prompted you to start up Blue Skin?

Steph_jo_copy_1 Basically I just I wanted to do my own thing. I had finished a Fine Art degree at Brighton University and moved to London without a ‘proper job’ in place. My plan was that Blueskin would support my fine art creativity, so I could be off at the weekends building crazy art installations. But as Blueskin grew, I quickly became full-time within the business, and my creativity adapted more and more to the branding and designs of the company. My fine art creations had always been about communication and consumerism so it kind of all makes sense.

What did you do before you started Blue Skin?

I did various jobs from working in a health food shop, to being a runner for TV companies. I was trying to work out what I wanted to do. I even tried my hand at hairdressing, a slight career tangent but I guess you have to try many roads till you find the right one for you.

Has the industry changed a lot in the last ten years?

Yes definitely, in the past snowboarding or any of the ‘extreme sport’ industries were very male dominated. This has significantly changed over the last five years and it's great to see new products specifically for women coming through. Although I do find it amusing that ‘women’s specific’ graphics are still mainly flowers, hearts and butterflies. I would love Blueskin to design the graphics for a major snowboard brand on their ‘women’s range’. It would be great opportunity for Blueskin to challenge the female perception of graphics.

Do you have more girls to ride with now?

Yes there are more girls to go shredding with now, it is ace to go away with a bunch of good riders who are mainly girls. They really do encourage you to try new things and progress with your riding, plus we have a real giggle which is what it’s all about.

Who/what inspires you?

I get inspiration from everything and anyone. Funny people always inspire me it’s great to have a laugh and not take life too seriously, even when things don’t go to plan. On a personal note, my mum inspires me.

Blue_skin_skull_pink What's your favourite Blue Skin item?

At the moment my favorite Blueskin item is the ‘Skull’ T-shirt in pink, I wear it all the time and it brightens me up a bit, plus it looks great with black jeans and matches my ‘Skull’ pink high top Vans. ;)


Where's your favourite place in the world to snowboard?

I love Morzine in France, although I am always open to new and far away destinations. Some friends of mine are looking to go to Niseko, Japan this season which sounds amazing, so the answer to this may change, and I can’t wait for the new journeys to come into fruition.

www.blueskin.com

Girls who rock: Jo Chastney | Blueskin Tees

Blueskin 10th Birthday Party

9.00am

Blueskin HQ in Hoxton, London. The RSVP emails have now reached 242, the Vibe bar have said the party ‘red room’ can fit 180, urmm? hopefully everyone will arrive at different times.

DJ"

11.00am

The mobile cackles, ‘Hello’, ‘Happy birthday to you’ is being sung down the line, ‘Now who is this?’ ‘It’s Sonia’ shouts Sonia Shaw, ‘Me and Jo (Chastney) are coming down tonight for the party, Jo has bought a big truck with blacked out windows and alloy wheels, woop! woop!’ she screams. Ah bless, my quiet residential street in Stoke Newington will be impressed. The mobile beeps again, text message, ‘cn I brng bfrind?’ Yes of course bring him down. More emails flood in and the office phone rings, yes bring your flatmate, your work chum, that random hot guy/chick you met last week, bring them all down, everyone is very welcome! Birthday cards arrive that say, ‘I am 10’ from friends and family. More text messages. I’m beginning to feel pleasantly overwhelmed with the good wishes from people far and wide. I suddenly realise that it has been an achievement setting up a clothing brand from scratch, fresh out of Brighton Art College with absolutely no business training, and running it successfully for 10 years, eeek!!

6.00pm

After a day in the office, I arrive at Vibe bar where Teresa from Mr Ed, my favourite PR company and Hayley from Hoxton Works are armed with stickers and grins, they start setting up. Stickers are stuck, poppers and silly party hats are put on tables, the Petty Krooks begin playing some good sounds, the lights are dimmed, Bacardi staff are ready, with the Mojtos stacked up on the bar. Ok lets make party!

Blueskin Party

7.30pm

People start to arrive, I suddenly feel very nervous and excited, Lyndsey from Bacardi casually slips me a strong Mojto, as I’m introduced to Jessica from the BBC, we start chatting and Lucie from powderroom.net saunters in, 'Hello' she beams, 'this is ace'. The party starts to fill, the drinks tokens are given out freely, there is a mad rush for the bar, everyone is clutching as many Mojtos as they can gather, it’s a free for all, and it’s great! More people are still arriving, the dance floor is filling up and some rare dance moves are being busted out.

10pm

Around 10 o’clock I look around at a packed party and have a quiet moment to myself, ‘Blimey’ I think ‘I did this’. There are friends and supporters here from 10 years ago, skaters, snowboarders, BMXers, retailers, interns, people who have travelled far to be here tonight. There are also people I had just met, new people who are excited about the Blueskin brand and it’s really great to meet them and welcome them onboard.

Feeling the love from everyone, was for me a true celebration, so a massive thank you to everyone for making it such an awesome night. There will be without a doubt more Blueskin parties!

www.blueskin.com