EDITOR’S NOTE: Noisemakers is a new series spotlighting young companies who have built a name for themselves in their communities through organic, minimal branding, and with support from core influencers in their space.

Brand: Public Snowboards
Years in Business: 3
Interviewee: Joe Sexton
Job Title: Founder

As a new brand, it can take years to build a name and loyal following. Nonetheless, a handful of young companies are still finding ways to push through that barrier and rise above the rest.

Public Snowboards is one of those brands.

With professional snowboarderJoe Sexton at the helm, Public Snowboards has managed to capture a core following, getting the nod of approval from the snowboard industry with a credible roster of team riders and an avant-garde approach to graphic design.

Currently, Sexton is in the middle of a shop tour with Public’s team, and plans to launch a new website at the beginning of October. Luckily, we caught up with him just before his busy season, and asked him to fill us in on what’s new with Public.

Public Snowboards

Joe Sexton cruising through the streets, fully equipped. Photo: Courtesy of Knut Eliassen/Public Snowboards

How is your marketing approach different?

Everyone on the team is friends and – from a marketing standpoint – that’s kind of rare. Our intention is customer service and if you have a question, you’re talking to me. I pride myself on those two things because that’s what’s missing from a lot of brands. Especially the big ones – which is fair. But I like the idea that if you buy a Public snowboard, you are truly a part of something. There’s a very strong community feel to Public and it’s cool to have that.

What’s been the biggest driver of sales?

Probably our team, I would imagine … We built this team of awesome snowboarders who have plenty of assets. Chris Bradshaw and Darrell Mathes fill the legend category while Kas Lemmens (in Amsterdam), Ben Bilodeau and Craig Cameron fill the young gun category. That’s the way I tried to build the team and I think it’s our biggest driver of sales. That and our graphics. We have a new look and I think people can see that.

We also do well in core retail shops and that’s really important in my opinion. There’s too many to name but some of the notable ones are Damage, Cal Surf and Tactics.

darrell mathes

Darrell Mathes making sure he doesn’t catch his heels. Photo: Courtesy of Aaron Blatt/Public Snowboards

Who is your graphic designer and how did you meet them?

That’s the coolest part of the whole story, actually. Josh Manoles is our graphic designer and we’ve been friends since we were 16. We used to skate together when we were were kids and he’s worked with brands like adidas and RVCA so I figured I’d give him a call. I asked if he would be down to design some stickers for me and when I told him I was starting my own snowboard brand, he asked if he could design my boards, too.

I told him I didn’t have much to offer in return but he was just as excited as I was. So at this point, he is our art director and does all of our designs and visuals. Needless to say, he does a great job.

Public Snowboards

Some handmade art by Josh Manoles. Photo: Courtesy of Josh Manoles/Public Snowboards

How much has the brand evolved since it launched?

It’s evolved in sales but that’s not even what I want to get out of it. I just always wanted to be taken seriously. A lot of times, when these small brands start, people just assume it’s going to have a short lifespan. Myself and everyone involved works really hard on it and it makes me proud. It’s cool to over time be taken seriously.

We’re starting to get a refined look and figure out where our place is in the industry. It’s really exciting.

What’s your current view on the snow industry?

I think it’s looking pretty good. I like to look at the positives so it’s cool to see video projects like what Jake Durham did with RIDE and adidas Snowboarding for House Call Only and other web series that appear on Snooze Global. Jon Stark just executed Torment Magazine and it’s cool watching people reshape what it means to do it yourself.

There’s a lot of like-minded people in the industry right now and they’re all doing really cool things.

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