Q&A: The Pretzel Company

The Pretzel CompanyAll images courtesy of The Pretzel Company

The inspiringly curious designer and entrepreneur, Jack Gooch, talks to us about the journey, motivations and future of snowboarding clothing brand; The Pretzel Company.

What is The Pretzel Co.?
‘The Pretzel Co.’ Is a lifestyle brand that aims to target the snowboard market. The name and concept is inspired by a manoeuvre in the sport called a ‘pretzel’, whereby the rider spins one way onto a rail and the reverse way back off- loosely resembling the flow and nature of the baked product. The Pretzel Company uses bakery-style branding as a kind of satirical metaphor.

The pretzel Company

What drove you to start the company?
I come from more of a skating background and can’t really get my head around how a lot of brands these days are charging so much for their garments. I have always dabbled in making clothing brands but it’s out of a desire to make affordable garments for the homies and I to wear, rather than for a love of fashion. I made the decision to start The Pretzel Company as I wanted to do the same for my friends in snowboarding.

Snowboarding as a sport has seen a surge of creativity, especially in recent years – much like skateboarding. But with skating, more and more companies are acknowledging the creativity of the sport and seen the potential in combining other creative disciplines that are more concept and process driven. Skater-owned brands like Isle and Satta to name a couple, who have a clear identity and understanding of their niche.

I started The Pretzel Company because I felt that there is not enough of this going on within the realms of snowboarding. A lot of design based responses to the culture has been traditionally loud and not too concept driven. From a design perspective I aim to take a slightly more sophisticated approach that values the importance of process and making it a prominent part of the identity.

You have a really clear brand identity, where did that come from?
As I mentioned previously, the snowboard market is quite crowded with large and loud graphics. As part of our ethos, I guess the aim is to try and detract, rather than amplify- to communicate ideas and meaning in simplistic form. A lot of my inspiration comes from bakery and other food and beverage identities that have a strong grasp on coherent, sophisticated design.

The pretzel Company

What kind of design projects has The Pretzel Co. led you to, or are you planning to undertake?
As I am still in the early stages of the branding process, I’m yet to figure out exactly what we are going to specialise in and where we sit in the market. This has led to experimentation and ideas for the near future, some of which goes outside the realms of the sport.

In an attempt to communicate a visual-link between snowboarding and the baking process, I recently found myself making ‘Bread Valley’- a model of a mountain landscape that I created using bread and flour.

The pretzel Company

The pretzel Company

The pretzel Company

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After doing some research on the progression of the sport, I found it was the origins that inspired me most. Snowboard hardware today is very tech and I’m sure there is good reason for that. However, there’s something I find quite compelling to the idea that the early innovators of the sport managed with just a piece of wood. In response to this I am going to strip a lot of ideas back to basics in an attempt to understand the nature of the craft behind the sport. I will be making a snowboard out of oak in the coming weeks, in collaboration with a friend of mine who owns a wood workshop. The functionality may not be up to scratch on the prototype but it should hopefully highlight an understanding for future projects.

The pretzel Company

The pretzel Company

One of your other projects, Sloaf Skate Club, revolves around a boarding. What is it about board sports that gets you excited?
I have always been drawn to board-based sports. It’s cliché to say, but I think it’s because these sports are not confined by rules which allows a lot of potential for creative freedom. Unlike most, I have never admired the idea of being constrained to just one discipline. I want to pursue a variety of creative outlets in all areas of the field. Working in a way that combines more than one of these avenues has always been appealing and just makes sense in my mind. I guess it comes down to that old saying ‘Jack of all trades, Master of none.’

Board culture seems to have a history of attracting interesting design and championing underground artists, why do you think the two communities go hand in hand?
Board-based sports are extremely creative and the surrounding culture is full of like-minded individuals. In the world of Art & Design collaboration isn’t uncommon, so if you look at these activities as creative disciplines then it would seem to make sense that they have naturally intertwined. It is often the case that the artists or designers involved either participate in these sports or are apart of their extended community.

What’s next for The Pretzel Co.?
Our exact route is still a little hazy, but I guess that’s part of the fun. This year will see the rise of a variety of different projects which will hopefully put us in the right direction for when we aim to truly establish ourselves as of January next year. Some snowboarding friends and I will be moving to Bear Mountain, California for the winter season to try and get the word out. Keep your eyes peeled for products and website coming soon!

Like The Pretzel Company on Facebook to keep updated with future projects.

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