Today marks 7 years since we first opened our retail shop. On March 8, 2009 we had a Grand Opening party at our first location, 367 Old Newport Blvd. Back then, I hadn't yet turned 23, Griffin and I had known each other for a whopping 6 months, I had never met Cam before, Jeffrey was in High School still, and our rent was something like $400. (Not a huge demand for new retail businesses in the Spring of 2009.)
Since that time we have moved the shop twice (no more moving, I swear), built a couple thousand surfboards, learned a ton (usually the hard way), sent our products to: Australia, Japan, South Korea, England, France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Denmark, Taiwan, New Zealand, South Africa, Dubai, Germany, and the Great Lakes.
When we first started Instagram didn't even exist yet. Most of our posts and updates occurred on blogspot. Our website wasn't even almondsurfboards.com yet, for some reason I thought lifeisjustswell.com was better, because I wanted to make people work to find us. (Kids, right?)
In the last 7 years we have had the immense pleasure of working with, collaborating with, sharing ideas with, and receiving wisdom from some of the most incredible people we could ever hope to know.
Griffin and I have a saying whenever we get frustrated or discouraged, or when we generally just mess up... "They're just glorified toys." At times, we need to remind ourselves that we are making surfboards, not healing the sick or building bridges that thousands of people are depending on. On the one hand, we are extremely proud of the work we do.
We try to never be self-congratulating in the way we talk about Almond, publicly or privately. We realize how fortunate we are to get to do this every day. But, we are very intentional about the way we have set this business up. It is an extension of values that we hold dear, even if those values manifest themselves more subtly. We have always chosen to build products that we believe in, and build things that we hope will last, and build them in the USA. We have always aimed to educate our customers about the products we build, and helped them make informed decisions. We don't sell anyone on buying a surfboard from us, we just want to explain the purpose and intention that went into the design, and let them decide if that aligns with their wants/hopes/needs. We are thrilled that we get to design, source, and make products. That process of taking something from casual conversation, all the way through development and design and production is one of the most rewarding processes of running a brand.
We are also extremely thankful to get to operate a retail space where we can interact directly with our customers. You guys have truly shaped us. We set out to do the things that we are excited about, but at the end of the day, you guys are the real test. You guys are the ones who dictate which ideas sink and which swim. And we get to have that interaction face to face every day. It's really a blessing.
That has been one of the best parts about our move from PCH up to Santa Ana Ave in Eastside Costa Mesa, we are back in the neighborhood, closer to where all of you guys are. The new space has been so lively and exciting and productive. We are so thankful for this new spot, and our new neighbors, and the opportunity to continue our journey in Costa Mesa. I have the weirdest time wrapping my head around our 7 year anniversary. Part of me feels like it has gone by so incredibly fast, that 7 years couldn't be the right number. The other part of me realizes how much life has happened in that time, and it's difficult to remember what life was like before we had a store.
As we head into our 8th year, we all just want to thank you for supporting, encouraging and be gracious with us. We have learned an immeasurable amount, and continue to learn a ton about making product, managing a store, and telling meaningful stories. We cannot thank you enough for allowing us the opportunity to spend our days making "glorified toys".
- Dave, Griffin, Cam, Jeffrey, Megan, Joel, Jack, and Gully
Now enjoy a look back at some of Almond's visual history: