“It’s a Nice Life.”
With an eclectic group of advocates and an overall brand purpose that goes far beyond making cool stocking hats, Yea.Nice is a company that deserves your attention. I was lucky enough to learn about where the brand started, their purpose, and their plans for the future from Josh Sherman, Co-founder and CEO, of the brand.
We’ll start off with an easy one. Can you tell our readers about Yea.Nice?
Yea.Nice focuses on producing high quality beanies through our 3 yarn stories; acrylic, wool, and cashmere. We also donate 1 polar fleece lined beanie to homeless shelters for every beanie sold on yeanice.com and through select retailers through our Beanies4Life program. We are heavily rooted in Action Sports as JJ Thomas (co-founder) and I used to be professional snowboarders, but we have grown into a lifestyle brand known for quality and expanded to having top musicians and celebrities wearing the brand.
You used to offer a wide assortment of other products. What caused the specific shift to your focus on beanies? Why not another product like gloves or face masks?
We looked into the market place and asked, what is our biggest opportunity? After a lot of research, we felt that no brand was producing a high quality beanie with an authentic message, with JJ and I spending 15+ years snowboarding in the harshest conditions it provides an authentic message our customers can connect with. Combine that with our Beanies4Life program that provides the homeless community with polar fleece lined beanies during the cold winter months we knew that our messaging and quality product could make us the category leader and that has been our mission since. To become a category leader, it would’ve been too distracting to have other categories, so we dropped them all and it’s worked for us.
As with most brands in the beginning stages, success for Yea.Nice didn’t happen over night. What’s the best advice that you could give to other young entrepreneurs?
Can you endure endless years of being sleep deprived? Can you sacrifice your personal time for friends, even loved ones? Are you ok with losing your own money, or living poor? If you said yes to all 3 can you stomach your business failing? If you answered yes to all 4, then maybe you have a chance at making your business successful.
Was there anyone in particular along the way that gave you a piece of advice that has stuck with you? If so, what words of wisdom did they share?
I don’t have one piece of advice that has stuck with me, however I’ve had the opportunity to work directly with some phenomenal entrepreneurs. I’ve learned from them that there are 24 hours in a business day, not 8 and that every detail is important.
You have a diverse group of people representing your brand. Can you tell our readers about your advocates?
This last week was big for us, we had Justin Bieber wearing Yea.Nice on the Jimmy Fallon show, USA Today show and that was on the cover of every media station globally. We have pro snowboarders like Louie Vito, pro skaters like Boo Johnson, pro surfers like Sage Erickson, we have Klay Thompson from the NBA all wearing Yea.Nice and the list goes on. The support from our advocates and celebrities has been amazing. Why would they wear another beanie? Wearing our brand is a statement, a statement that you care about quality and helping others.
Do you find yourself being inspired by this group of guys during the design process?
Absolutely, they’re an inspiring group.
The Yea.Nice Beanies4Life program has become a huge success. What inspired you guys to create this one-for-one program? How does this success motivate your plans for the future of the program?
The origin of Beanies4Life was JJ and I used to fly out of Denver, CO airport and one time after coming in from a flight late at night we saw a homeless man outside and it must have been 10 degrees outside and we thought, how is he making it through the night? We did some research and discovered that thousands of homeless people were dying from hypothermia each year and we knew we had to do something. Shortly after we created Beanies4Life, a 1-for-1 program where every beanie sold on yeanice.com and with select retailers we match them and donate a polar fleece lined beanie to homeless shelters across the country. It’s an amazing program and we’re actually doing a huge donation next Friday. We have shut down skid row in Los Angeles from 5th – 6th street on Julian and we’re donating 5,000 polar fleece lined beanies and providing water and basic medical care. We’re on track to donate 75,000 beanies since its launch in 2014 by the end of this year and our goal is to continue to donate as many beanies as we can and help people in need.
You’ve traveled to a lot of really cool places to promote your brand and attend various trade shows. Do you use your travel experiences for inspiration for designs, fabrics, or new colorways?
Absolutely, you never turn off your product development mindset. Traveling is one of the best ways to open your mind to create better products.
What does the future look like for Yea.Nice?
To be the #1 beanie category leader with no one in our rear view mirror.
If you had to choose 3 words to sum up Yea.Nice, what would they be?
Change the world.
Want in on the hype? Check out our selection of Yea.Nice beanies on gliks.com.