Interview: Theo Acworth
From Method issue 21.2
Yo Tor, how’s it going?
Good bro, good.
Where are you right now?
I’m in Verbier.
Yeah dude, I just moved here. My apartment is the same price as my one in Stockholm, but four times smaller.
And the drinks are four times as expensive. Why did you move there?
There are a lot of friends from my home town of Gothenburg who moved here around five years ago. They started a food truck back home and now they run a restaurant and a hotel here.
Wow, that’s a step up.
Yeah it went really well and this guy offered them the chance to start a restaurant here. My girlfriend has friends here as well, and she’s freelancing, so instead of sitting in Stockholm we both moved here.
So you’re a professional snowboarder but also run the BYNDMDLS brand at the same time. What are things like for you on a day-to-day basis?
There’s definitely been a lot of learning along the way with the brand. So we do everything we would usually do with snowboarding, but then also taking care of whatever comes up and learning as we go. Of course there’s the movie production part of it which we’ve been doing since 2012, and for the last three years we’ve also been doing clothing. Just making lots of mistakes and pushing through them. So it all runs simultaneously, dealing with the production, sending samples, designing. Then for the movie production stuff it’s coming up with a project, making proposals and talking to sponsors.
Do you and Kevin have a pretty good balance between you when it comes to the brand?
For sure. Kevin is designing and now also video editing whilst I deal with production, logistics, wholesale etc. Although we are both involved in everything - from sitting together and designing to visiting the factory together - we also have our day-to-day work areas.
How many shops are you in now?
We started about half a year ago. Working with a couple that we felt were right, pretty much snowboard and skate shops only. We haven’t been giving them lots of stock because we didn’t want them to be buying too much from us and then have it laying around or ending up on sale racks. So we’re still feeling it out and making sure the stuff sells, so we can keep doing more drops instead of just one and then the shops not being able to keep up. Then slowly they can order more with each drop if they want.
That sounds smart.
So all together around 10 physical shops and online through our own webshop.
So when’s the next drop?
Probably in the middle of January.
Any key features or pieces you’re particularly excited about?
We actually haven’t come that far with it yet *laughs* so I can’t really say. More than just hoodies and t-shirts, although we’ll have some of those too. But that’s the nice thing with doing drops. We don’t work in seasons so we don’t have any deadlines. There might be one month in-between a drop, or there might be half a year. If we have stuff we’re stoked on that we want to put out, then we send it out and ask the stores if they want to order. Then we produce it. So there’s no stress really, it’s kind of on our schedule. It would be too stressful to put stuff together just to put it together.
That’s cool. If the shops are down with, it then go for it. Just making clothing at the same time as everyone else does seem a bit outdated.
Yeah, and if the shops aren’t down then we’ll just do it for ourselves and sell it online. So we’re not dependant on anyone which is nice.
Have you had any major fuckups?
Definitely. But the factory that we now work with takes responsibility if it happens. In the past we had other factories that didn’t take responsibility if they fucked up, so we got fucked over. It happens now and then. Now it doesn’t affect us too much, it just means it takes a bit longer. We had one drop where all the prints fell off the clothes, so went sent it back and it took longer, but the factory paid for it, which is good.
Sounds like a good relationship.
Our guy has been good. He’s down to see it grow and give us high quality products, because he doesn’t have to produce too much for us, but he sees that there might be more in the future if things go well.
Nice. So you’ve done a few collabs with Bataleon, what have you got coming up with them this year?
We’ve just done our third board together, which is based off the shape of the Bataleon Goliath. This year the board is black with some kinda rainbow lightning and a little alien on it. I’ve been riding for Bataleon since forever, they were stoked to do a collab and we were stoked it worked out. So it was me and Kevin designing it together and making it a reality. We both come with ideas and he’s the one on the computer who really makes it into something.
Is it fun working with Danny and Rubby? [Brothers and Bataleon legends]
Definitely. They come with ideas and they really let us do what we feel like. They don’t look at it from a sales point of view, which has been really great.
You need to get some shots of them in the next movie!
Yeah for sure, Danny is insane! He rips so hard. When he falls, he falls hard too, but he’s a yoga master, so it’s all good. It’s fun riding with those guys.
So you’ve been shooting with Diggles again after taking a break for a few years. I hope you were all nice to each other?
Yeah it was good. We did a couple of trips this year shooting for our new movie Betty Ford. One was to Riksgränsen for 3 or 4 weeks. The weather was shitty the whole time except for maybe 4 days. Me, Kevin, Diggles and Alex Roberts sitting and waiting in a tiny apartment. There was no one else in the resort, we were the only guys in the whole apartment building. But we got through it and got some good shots.
I’m stoked to see them. And well done for not fighting.
It was fun to shoot with Diggles again.
I was also told to ask you about influencer culture. Anything you want to say about that?
I’m over it. In the sense that when brands use influencers for marketing, it’s going to take away budgets from the real snowboard video projects and real snowboarders who work with brands long-term. Instead of an influencer that will pose with another brand’s product next week. I don’t think that looks good for anyone. Also when you work with the same brand for a long time, that’s when you come up with cool stuff to do together and meet awesome people. Although influencer marketing works to sell products which I understand, I think it’s important to support and work with the core. That will be better for everyone and it is the right thing to do.
Yeah it doesn’t contribute much to snowboarding culture. It’s just someone doing their thing, which is fine, but if that takes away from people who put their whole lives into it, that’s pretty wack.
I mean it does work in some way, but as long as brands take both approaches. I guess that would cut the budget from somewhere, but as long as they do both and support the core in some way then that’s what’s important.
Fair enough. You’ve got a pretty badass method. What are your tips for anyone who wants to crank theirs like yours?
Just do a lot of them. And I do a lot of yoga. Well not a lot, but I try to do a bit each day, just stretch. So yeah, that’s the key, yoga.
Are you going to buy a fur coat now you’re living in Verbier?
I don’t know. Never say never.
What’s coming up for you this winter?
We’re doing another video project with BYNDMDLS and the whole crew, and Colden Rand just moved over here and is going to be filming. Kevin is going to edit the movie again. Just another season of getting after it and snowboarding as much as possible.
Last words are yours:
Thank you Methodmag for doing a lot of good stuff for a very long time. Keep on doing it. You’ve always been great, and you’re still great.
Aww. We’re blushing.
Make sure to check out the Beyond Medals webshop, and also peep their latest movie Betty Ford below.