Lula speaks

Border Hopping: Benny Gold

Native San Francisco label Benny Gold didn’t start as an intended apparel brand – instead, it was the result of a series of life events that gradually steered the creative genius to own what is now an internationally distributed brand.

Still and forever a skater at heart, truly humble and straight up down-to-earth; Benny took the time to share a bit of the history of the brand and his views on his success with us – dropping down some sage advice. If you don’t already know, he’s also got an absolutely adorable daughter – you’d have to follow him on instagram to see what we’re talking about (@bennygold).

bg

You mentioned in an interview that Keith Hufnagel got you to start putting your own line out – why did you pick your own name to represent the line you put out?
The funny thing is, the clothing brand came to be before I even realized it. At the time, there were already a good amount of design projects out there with my name attached to it. Keith said to me, “Why start with a new, unfamiliar name?” So here we are with good old Benny Gold.

Tell us a bit about your relationship with Keith Hufnagel.
He was one of the groomsmen at my wedding! That’s how close we are. Keith is someone who completely changed the way I look at things. I used to be so focused on designing for clients and he taught me about making myself the client. I wouldn’t be where I am now without him. Thanks Keith!

As a graphic designer, how did you learn other facets of the business like manufacturing and operations once you decided to come out on your own?
Designers don’t learn any of that stuff studying art in college or working for other people. I have been picking all that up on the job as we go. There have been a ton of mistakes made along the way, but I’m a firm believer in ‘nothing happens without a reason.’

How big a role would you say photography plays in the running of a brand?
It’s a game-changer. Photography is how you present your brand to the world. The more pro the images are, the more pro you look.

What do you look for when you shoot lookbooks? What’s the process like?
A strong concept is the core to everything. We focus on concept in every aspect from the initial sketches to the finished season’s lookbook.

bg 1

What role do you play in the shooting of your lookbooks? Do you shoot them yourself, do you art direct?
Most of our lookbooks have been shot by friends of ours and we’re crazy lucky to be surrounded by tons of creative people all the time. We always look for photographers whose work we respect.

Tell us a bit about how long it took before your brand got picked up to be distributed internationally and what the story leading up to that was like. How did you feel about all this?
Honestly, I don’t remember when international distributors initially reached out to us about bringing the brand to their countries. It just happened and we’ve had solid relationships with them for years now. It’s exciting to see that we’re all growing together.

We often see photos of your really cute daughter Rumi, on instagram – how are you enjoying fatherhood and what are you like as a father?
Fatherhood has been amazing in that it really put into perspective what’s important in my life. It’s obviously challenging to run a business and be a father, but life is about balance. I can’t waste time on stuff like watching skate videos or looking at blogsites anymore and it’s definitely worth it.

Article: Major Drop
Instagram: @majordropofficial