It's baaaack! Here is the third installment of the NS interviews, this time with Joshbryant, founder of Jibij ProShop!
Please remember to leave feedback/suggestions on my interviews too so I can keep them fresh and interesting for you guys!
Ryno: Can you start off by explaining to those reading, who you are and what you’re up to these days?:
Joshbryant: I'm the owner of Jibij Pro Shop, based in Boulder, CO. These days I'm working on getting the store ready to re-open (August 1st), heading to the water ramps, and trying to get my basic A license for skydiving. It's a full life.
Chris Myers in front of the original Jibij
Inside the old store
Ryno: Can you give us a little insight into how you got started with Jibij? Did you go to school beforehand, or anything to help you with this venture?
Joshbryant: I never went to college. I was a ski bum in Breck right out of high school, but I made a lot of connections in the ski industry. I started the shop when I was 20 (25 now). It wasn't my first time at SIA, but it was my first time as a retailer, and a lot of companies didn't want to talk with a 20 year old kid about selling their products. Luckily there were some that did, big thanks to companies like Line and Orage for taking a chance on me.
Ryno: Where they the first brands to take you serious?
Joshbryant: I knew Jason Levinthal, Matt Connelly, and Jordan Judd (now at Atomic) since I was in high school, so they were really helpful to me when I was getting started. Orage (and Siver) was stoked on the idea of the shop from the beginning, and we still work closely with them to this day.
Ryno: Has Jibij always had both the physical and online presence, or did one come before the other?
Joshbryant: Our first year was mostly a physical store, but we did have a basic information website. After that we started online sales.
Ryno: Do the online sales account for a significant amount of your business? Has it changed over the last 5 years?
Joshbryant: Online is definitely the majority of our business. It grows every year, and so does in store, but online is far bigger. That's why we do nearly all our advertising on Newschoolers.
Party time outside the current Jibij store
Inside the current Jibij shop!
Ryno: Interesting…now you mentioned earlier you were getting into skydiving. I'm not familiar with skydiving qualifications, so what does a basic A license mean?
Joshbryant: It takes 25 skydives to earn a basic A license. Once you have that, it's about $25 to jump anywhere in the US. Each dive is super expensive until you get that license though.
Ryno: How much?
Joshbryant: Jumps average $200 per until you get your license.
Ryno: Damn thats not to cheap at all.
Joshbryant: Nope, but such a fun time.
Ryno: So now that you’re licensed, can we expect to see some skydiving gear in the store? :P
Joshbryant: Oh, I'm not licensed yet. I'm working towards it though.
Josh kicking ass in 1999!
Ryno: Oops…my bad :P Anyways, how did you come about deciding that you were going to take a legitimate stab at operating a 'core' ski shop out of CO? The market is thin as we all know, yet you seem to have found a way to make it work, what was your secret?
Joshbryant: The best thing for us has been finding the small brands that other stores don't know about yet. I'm really excited about Moment and Lethal Descent this year.
Ryno: What do you think that they are bringing new to the table?
Joshbryant: With Moment making their skis themselves, they can make tweaks and test out new designs right away, and it's a young group of guys with fresh ideas. And Lethal Descent is not trying making products for every segment of the market, they know who their market is, and they're focused on it. It's impressive to see what they've achieved at their age.
Ryno: Do you think these small upstart companies like Moment, Amplid and Lethal Decent (to name a few), that aim at such a niche aspect of the sport, will be around 5 years down the road? Do you think that can freeskiing support all of these current 'indie' brands?
Joshbryant: There will of course be brands that don't make it, but I think the companies that genuinely offer an innovative, quality product will do well. I do my best to find and sell those brands, and I'm pretty happy with my selection for this season.
Ryno: You have a unique stance/perspective in the skiing market because of your current job within it, and you likely have an equally unique opinion to match... so I’m wondering what sort of things you want to see change within the market over the next few seasons?
Joshbryant: I'm actually pretty happy with where skiing is right now, although there's always room for improvement. This year more than ever, there are a ton of brands that have unique skis, that really help them stand out. As I get older, I've become a huge proponent of rockered skis, and moving forward I see more and more variations on this being the future of skiing. It will let skiers do things previously thought impossible. I'm excited for it.
Ryno: Can we expect anything extra special coming from Jibij this upcoming season?
Joshbryant: We've got some product collaborations coming with some of our brands that I'm pretty excited about. We're going to start doing more video stuff as well. Think Guatemalan Persuader 2.
Ryno: HAHAHA...for the youngins though that dont know what the first Guatemalan Persuader was (an old ski movie), a little insight on your part perhaps?
Joshbryant: It will be raw chaos, featuring antics from the entire team, but mostly Jon Hartman. Oh, and some skiing as well.
Ryno: Sounds most excellent. What can we expect from the product collaborations you mentioned? Hardgoods, softgoods?
Joshbryant: A little of both.
Josh’s birthday present from Momemt…will they make more custom skis for Jibij?!?!
Ryno: Nice to hear, I'm looking forward to these. You’ve also mentioned you’re doing something in the shop regarding the former freeskiing magazine “Freeze,” some insight perhaps?
Joshbryant: Well, if anyone comes into the shop, there’s a giant wall full covered in pages from old Freeze and Axis magazines. It's a timeline of freeskiing. It took me a while to make, so I'm pretty stoked on it.
Ryno: How big is the display?
Joshbryant: Around 20 feet across I'd guess.
Ryno: Thats impressive, you should get a picture of that up for all of us online to drool over :P
Joshbryant: There should be in an update soon.
Rapid Fire Questions :
Ski Gabber or Non Ski Gabber? Ski
Favorite ski movie? Royalty
Favorite upcoming ski movie trailer? Claim
Favorite beer? Whiskey
Passion outside of skiing? Friends
Whats in your cd/mp3 player? Ludwig Van Beethoven
Reading anything right now? Under the Banner of Heaven, Watchmen
Pet peeves? Excessive, pointless noise
Afterbang, yay or nay? To each his own
Dream vacation spot? Anywhere I don't speak the language
Other hobbies? Skydiving, getting ridiculous tattoos
Ryno: Do you have any ridiculous tattoos?
Joshbryant: Check my recent Jibij updates… my latest one is in there.
*Ryno - Here is it*
Ryno: Haha, hats classy Josh. Any other crazy tats?
Joshbryant: Yes, but I'm not ready to share them with the world yet.
Ryno: Fair enough. I’d like to thank you for taking the time to chat with me. Any shoutouts for the NS community before we wrap this up?
Joshbryant: Definitely thanks to everyone who has supported us over the years. I'm always stoked when I hear from/see customers who are enjoying the gear they got from us. Also thanks to Doug, Schmuck, Rogge, Paul, and the rest of the people that make NS the community that it is. And thanks to my team and staff, who have put up with all my ridiculousness over the years.